ERIC Number: ED333469
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Literary Understanding and Literature Instruction. Report Series 2.11.
Langer, Judith A.
A naturalistic case study, involving a 2-year collaboration between 14 classroom teachers and eight university researchers studying 250 middle and high school students, examined the types of principles underlying effective literature instruction that emphasizes the development of students' reasoning abilities in the context of their understanding of literature. Case study methodology was used, tracing, across one entire school year, the interactions among the participants (teachers and students), the instructional content (the expectations, activities, artifacts, and attitudes), and the ways in which students reacted to and interpreted classroom activities. Findings indicated a number of characteristics common to classrooms which expected the active thought and participation of each student, including: envisionment-building through discussion and writing; a primary instructional focus on the exploration of possibilities rather than maintaining a point of reference; social contexts which taught students ways to discuss and ways to think about literature; and small group activities in which students could use their new knowledge and strategies on their own. Findings also indicated six principles of instruction that seem to underlie such classrooms: (1) students as active makers of meaning; (2) literature reading as question-generating; (3) student knowledge taps (teachers' questions about content focusing on what the students understood about that content, with no predetermined right answer); (4) class meetings as time to develop understandings; (5) instruction as scaffolding the process of understanding; and (6) transfer of control from teacher to student. (Three tables are included; 76 references and four appendizes are attached.) (SR)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Environment, Classroom Research, College School Cooperation, High School Students, Higher Education, Intermediate Grades, Literature Appreciation, Middle Schools, Naturalistic Observation, Secondary Education, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Student Relationship, Thinking Skills
Literature Center, University at Albany Ed B-9, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
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.