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ERIC Number: EJ832142
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1175-8708
Contrapuntal Writing: Student Discourse in an Online Literature Class
Nahachewsky, James; Ward, Angela
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v6 n1 p50-68 May 2007
There is a continuing need to investigate how contemporary students in schools are writing the word, and their world, beyond modernist parameters of the page. This article explores the online writing of a senior English world literature class, located in a Western Canadian city, as examined through a recent qualitative case study. Borrowing a 17th century musical term meaning "of counterpoint," "contrapuntal" here is used to describe the visibly polyphonic and layered writing by students and their teacher in the online course. Complex constructions and understandings of situated self/culture in relation, or as counterpoint, to other members of the class, their teacher, and their various prescribed/personal texts were made throughout the course. Discordances were voiced, but also played out as silences. The class's emergent and evolving writing provides a grounded glimpse into critical literacy practices. Particularly evident was a developing meta-cognition throughout the students' writing--their ability to "read" the other writers so that they could be reflexive about their own practices. Yet, little was done by the students to critique or transform the constructs of the course itself. This seemingly contradictory aspect further manifests an equally important, yet for critical literacy theorists, frustrating characteristic of contrapuntality--that the various composers/voices follow strict structural rules.
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada