ERIC Number: ED490782
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Conducting Research on Teaching Literature: The Influence of Texts, Contexts, and Teacher on Responses to Multicultural Literature
Beach, Richard W.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the National Reading Conference (Miami, FL, December 2, 2005)
The purpose of this report is to examine issues associated with studying teaching of literature in reference to a study of high school students' responses to multicultural literature. The purpose of this study was to determine how students' discourses of race, class, and gender influences their responses to multicultural literature as well as how students adopted alternative discourses through coping with the tensions portrayed in multicultural literature. The participants in this study consisted of 14 high school students--eight females and six males of whom nine were white; three, Asian-American; one, Hispanic, and one, a student of African descent, enrolled in a multicultural literature class taught by one of the researchers/authors, Daryl Parks, in Fall, 2001, in Thompson High School, a diverse, urban high school of 1,600 students in a "working class" section of a large, Midwestern city with a student body of 42 percent White, 30 percent Asian, 17 percent African, 10 percent Hispanic and one percent Native American. Students' journal and discussion responses to a range of different multicultural literature texts as well as interviews about their perceptions of themselves and the course were analyzed using critical discourse analysis based on coding of the different types of discourses adopted by participants. Results indicated that students' responses were influenced by three different factors: the teacher's modeling of alternative ways of thinking about texts by adopting alternative perspectives; responses to texts in which students experienced characters challenging status-quo discourses and institutional forces; and context, in which student challenges to each others' discourses led students to revise their discourses. In experiencing characters interrogating ideological forces limiting their development, students began to examine forces in their own lives limiting their own development. Students who shifted in their discourses over alternative perspective on themselves and their worlds. These results suggests the need in conducting research on teaching literature to examine the influence of all three factors--teacher modeling, texts, and contexts on shifts in students' thinking about literature.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A