ERIC Number: ED337781
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Discussions of Literature in Middle-Track Classrooms. Report Series 2.17.
Marshall, James D.; And Others
A study examined the patterns of talk in discussions of literature in classrooms where students are labeled "average," and examined the perspectives of teachers and students in such classrooms on the goals and difficulties of discussions of literature. Five English teachers and their 8th- through 12th-grade students participated in classroom discussions about literature, and a few were selected for case study interviews. Interviews revealed that teachers saw the teaching of literature as an important enterprise and saw literature itself as a teacher. They viewed the difficulty in achieving student-centered, "democratic" discussions as stemming from middle-track students' disinterest or inability to participate. Interviews with selected students revealed that they too saw discussions as necessarily teacher-centered, given the clientele of the classes. Analyses of the classroom discussions indicated that: teachers dominated the discussions; teachers and students were most likely to make informative statements when holding the floor; students' remarks were usually reflective of the kinds of questions teachers asked; and teachers used their responses to students' contributions to acknowledge or restate what students had said. Results also demonstrated that although participants in this and prior studies with college-bound and remedial students had very different perspectives on the purposes discussions are to serve, the discussions themselves were more alike than different in all measured areas. (Fourteen tables of data are included; one appendix containing an annotated excerpt from a class discussion is attached.) (PRA)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Research, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Literature Appreciation, Secondary Education, Student Reaction, Teacher Student Relationship
Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, School of Education, 1400 Washington Ave., ED B-9, SUNY/Albany, 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.