ERIC Number: ED350604
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Discussion as Exploration: Literature and the Horizon of Possibilities. Report Series 6.3.
Langer, Judith A.
Concerned with redefining instructional theory related to the teaching and learning processes in literature, this paper concentrates on articulating principles underlying literature instruction that can be taught in methods courses and that can become the framework that teachers internalize and use to make daily decisions about their teaching and their students' learning. The paper first points out that reader-based instructional goals are difficult to attain because the field of English education has not yet developed instructional approaches that lead to such endpoints. Drawing on the results of two related sets of studies, the paper argues that what "works" in the classroom usually takes place during discussion (both when the teacher is involved and when students work in groups), and that the most productive literary reasoning students do during those discussions involves the exploration of possibilities. The paper then records two eleventh-grade discussion lessons (one on "Tularecito" and one on "The Great Gatsby") as examples. According to the paper, The "Tularecito" lesson is controlled by the teacher, who bases her decisions about what to talk about on a close reading of the text; the "Gatsby" lesson, on the other hand, shows how discussion can be used to move student thinking along and to explore a horizon of possibilities. The paper suggests that it is this latter notion of discussion that needs to be at the center of the reform movement in literature. Thirty-four references are attached. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Research Center on Literature Teaching and Learning, Albany, NY.