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ERIC Number: ED565965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 289
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-9240-6
No "Burning Desire" to Study Italian Literature: Motivation and Procedural Display in a Third-Year Italian Course
Bird, Barbara Lee
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Reading literature in a foreign language (FL) requires a learner to move beyond decoding simple meanings and phrases to analysis and interpretation of multiple meanings. It also involves the development of a global understanding of a text's significance, which entails participation in a complex social practice, situated in cultural, linguistic, and historical traditions (Johnson, 2003). As undergraduate FL students approach the study of literature for the first time, they make the crucial transition from language study to literature study, and often find themselves unprepared to read literature and at odds with curricular goals. In this dissertation, I examine how a group of third-year Italian students attributed value to literature study, and how their values, practices, and participation in third-year Italian courses affected their access to the Discourse (Gee, 2008) of literary texts. In this qualitative study, I employed ethnographic methods and used discourse analysis and a grounded theory approach to examine interviews with students and professors, class observations, student reading observations, tutoring sessions, study groups, and primary documents over the course of two semesters. Students constructed a value system for Italian literature study based on what the teacher prioritized in class and in graded assignments. They generally considered Italian literature reading to be irrelevant to their grade, and sometimes inconsequential to their language proficiency. With the exception of one student, whose perspective is highlighted, these students' lack of intrinsic motivation with regard to Italian literature study was a key factor in their lack of engagement with literary texts. My analysis of classroom interactions draws on the notion of procedural display (Bloome, 1989), described as the culturally-grounded completion of a lesson through cooperative display by both teachers and students. Although student participation in class served to accomplish the lesson, it did not necessarily indicate substantive learning or textual engagement. Instead, participation in these FL literature classes was grounded in the social architecture of the classroom, as students maintained diverse social identities within a predictable context. In this way, participation in third-year Italian literature courses effectively limited student engagement with texts, and as a result, their ability to analyze Italian literature. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A