ERIC Number: ED393103
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov-17
Literature as Cultural Practice in a Fifth/Sixth-Grade Classroom.
An ethnographic study examined the nature of social and cultural contexts as they shaped literary practices in a combined fifth/sixth-grade classroom. Research questions focused on the meanings given to the reading and discussion of literature within the embedded contexts of classroom and community. The five focal students for the study differed in gender, socioeconomic status, age, and perceived ability. Data sources included audiotaped literature discussions, interviews with students, teachers, parents, and administrators, school and district artifacts, and field notes. One of the focal students, a fifth-grader, came from a close-knit working class family, unlike many of his peers. Living outside the community in a neighboring rural area, he was one of the few who took a bus to school. In reading discussion groups, he found himself among many high-achieving sixth graders whose preferences for philosophical, psychological discussion were not agreeable to him; he preferred a group of fifth-grade boys who talked about action and plot. Attempts to pull him into the discussion only made him more aware of his difference. Another focal student became known for her tendency to cut against the grain, to question assumptions and widely held interpretations. During the course of this study's observation, she became a leading figure in the class. While claims for de-centering authority wax toward romanticism, findings suggest that when the teacher gives up power, particular students will take up the slack. (Contains 24 references and one figure.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (85th, San Diego, CA, November 16-21, 1995).