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ERIC Number: ED377493
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Frustration and Fulfillment: The Talk of Literature Discussion Groups.
Wollman-Bonilla, Julie E.
Two different groups of sixth graders were studied as one discussed Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach" and the other discussed Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer." In interviews, students from the two groups offered very different assessments of their experiences, despite the fact that the teacher was the same. The Dahl students, who were remedial readers, did not like their discussion group. They thought their teacher would have done better to have explained the book directly to them. On the other hand, the Twain students, who were advanced readers, valued discussion groups because these groups introduced them to the varied opinions of their peers. Transcripts of the first meeting for both groups show that these immediately showed signs of contrasting patterns: while the Twain students took advantage of the open forum by offering long answers to teacher questions and involved responses to other students, the Dahl group offered only brief, "safe" answers to the teacher's leading questions. Why the contrast, when the instructor himself was striving for the same informal exchange in both groups? One answer lies in the respective educational pasts of the two groups. The Twain students had done group work before and throughout the primary grades had been treated as gifted students; the Dahl students, by contrast, had participated only in traditional teacher-student discussions and had learned to think of themselves as below average. Perhaps the Dahl students need to be shown somehow what an informal discussion is like. (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A