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ERIC Number: EJ776370
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Pages: 34
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8204
Expressive Language and the Art of English Teaching: Theorizing the Relationship between Literature and Oral Narrative
Juzwik, Mary M.; Sherry, Michael B.
English Education, v39 n3 p226-259 Apr 2007
How do teachers in diverse classrooms enact a transactional mode of literary response in their orchestration of classroom conversations about literature? This paper proposes that a theory of expressive language is central to answering this question and that the discourse genre of oral narratives may hold critical importance in accomplishing this challenge. Centrally, we reveal how expressive language affords the shifting enactment of roles, as narrators move between the vantage point of spectator and of participant to lived events. Through discourse analysis of an unfolding narrative sequence in one linguistically and culturally diverse classroom, we shed new light on the significant function of oral teacher narrative in literature teaching and learning. We first demonstrate the richly expressive language of narrative through a "close reading" of one teacher narrative. By situating the narrative interactionally, we show how this language is articulated as a response to a prior student narrative and as a bid for continued student involvement in the conversation. We also compare the expressive language of the oral narrative to that of the narrative storyline in the classroom novel, suggesting how this "parallelism" matters for teaching and learning. Finally, we reveal that the expressive resources of oral narrative co-occur with considerably more classroom discussion about literature than is typical in US middle and high school literature classrooms, a discourse pattern associated with higher levels of achievement in literature learning. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table and 4 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A