ERIC Number: ED333467
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Literature Instruction in American Schools. Report Series 1.4.
Applebee, Arthur N.
A study portrayed the methods and materials used in literature instruction in schools in a representative sample of schools nationally. It examined the contrasts among groups of schools that might be expected to differ in their approaches to the teaching of literature, and provided a portrait of "typical" practice. A random sample of 650 secondary schools, representing 82% of those contacted, participated in a survey of current practice in the teaching of literature. The schools were divided among five independent samples, including a representative sample of public schools, two samples of schools with award-winning programs and two nationally representative samples of private school traditions. Results indicated that: (1) in general, teachers of English are experienced and well-prepared; (2) the award-winning schools were disproportionately suburban; (3) literature has maintained its central place in the English curriculum, in spite of recent reforms focusing on the teaching of writing; (4) the English curriculum is dominated by familiar selections drawn primarily from a white, male, Anglo-Saxon tradition and chosen by the teacher from a literature anthology; (5) the typical high school literature class places heavy emphasis on whole-class discussions of text that all students read; (6) writing and literature are not independent components of the teaching of English; and (7) school library collections have been strengthened over the past 25 years but considerable room for improvement remains. Findings suggest that the teaching of literature is a relatively traditional enterprise. (Eighty-three tables of data are included; 54 references and the survey instruments are attached.) (RS)
Descriptors: Educational Research, English Instruction, Literature Appreciation, National Surveys, School Libraries, School Surveys, Secondary Education, Teaching Methods
Literature Center, University at Albany Ed b-9, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, Albany, NY.