ERIC Number: EJ858725
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 35
Slow Transformation: Teacher Research and Shifting Teacher Practices
Patterson, Thomas H.; Crumpler, Thomas P.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v36 n3 p95-111 Sum 2009
As a teacher with more than 30 years experience at the middle school, secondary, and college level, primarily in English studies, Patterson (the first author) decided a few years ago to reexamine his practices and instructional methods. He wondered what would be the effects on him and his students when he would begin to utilize ideas emanating from a reader response paradigm instead of the formalism he had used for so many years. Would learning be enhanced, or would he actually become a less effective teacher due to his lack of experience with a different teaching paradigm? He decided to conduct his research over Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" (1986) and Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club" (1989). He was curious if any gender issues would become apparent during his research. Over the years he had thought that males generally preferred Hemingway and the females would more closely embrace Tan. He did not expect to notice any significant change in their attitudes, but he was curious to examine the issue more closely and systematically than he had in the past. Before beginning the research, he formulated one overarching research question with three related sub questions to structure his inquiry. They are as follows: (1) How will shifting his pedagogical practices from a formalist frame to a more response-oriented frame affect student learning?: (a) What impact will this shift have on the process of student engagement and response to specific novels?; (b) What effect will conducting teacher research have on his own attitudes towards the authors and novels he teaches?; and (c) What impact will conducting teacher research have on his perceptions of gender bias in his pedagogical practice? The study took place in an advanced novel class he had been teaching for several years in a small rural high school in a Midwestern community with a population of about 4,200. The students were primarily White and middle class. The author's intention to effect teacher change by shifting his pedagogical practices from a formalist to a reader response frame was on the whole successful in fostering student learning. Students became more closely engaged in the novels by responding to them actively, sometimes passionately, indicated by detailed oral and written responses to his questions. Additionally, the research steered him towards a reevaluation of both novels: more critical towards Hemingway; more appreciative of Tan. Finally, his perceptions of gender bias were altered.
Descriptors: Middle Class, Models, Reader Response, Intention, Methods, Gender Issues, Gender Bias, Novels, Teaching Methods, High Schools, Literature Reviews, Reader Text Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A