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An investigation of teaching/learning strategies for extending adolescent responce to literature and… Rockett, Hugh Graham 1994

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AN INVESTIGATION OF TEACHING/LEARNING STRATEGIES FOREXTENDING ADOLESCENT RESPONSE TO LITERATURE AND THEROLE OF THE TEACHER IN ENCOURAGING RESPONSE.byHUGH GRAHAM ROCKETTB.A. The University of Tasmania 1983A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Language Education)We accept this thesis as conformingto the yeQuir3d tandardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1994© Hugh Graham Rockett, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.___________________________Department of_____________________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate c çDE-6 (2188)11ABSTRACTReader—response to literature is a multi—varied theoreticalperspective. While recognizing and acknowledging thediversity associated with reader—response, an attempt hasbeen made to examine how teachers can best initiate andencourage adolescent response to literature within a broadpractical framework. The study focuses on teaching/learningstrategies and the role of the teacher in developing responseto literature. Within that context reading autonomy, groupdynamics, response outcomes; metacognition and therelationship between research, theory and practice areexplored. Some teaching/learning strategies for response toliterature are outlined, and a trend towards resistant readingis discussed.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents iiiList of Tables viChapter 1: The Problem and the Rationale 1Chapter 2: Review of the Related Literature 5— Adolescent Response to Literature:The State of the Art 5— Reading Autonomy 6— Rosenblatt’s Influence 9— Other Theorists andPerspectives 1 1— Student Engagement withLiterature 13— Constraints and Strengthsof Student Response 1 4— Questions 19— Diversity in Reader—ResponseTheory 20— Journals or Reading Logs 26— Different Teaching/LearningStrategies 29— Metacognition 32— Major Research Questions 36— Sub—Questions 37ivChapter 3: Methodology 38— Research Design 38— Sampling Procedures and DataCollection 39— Limitations of the Study 40— Data Analysis 41— Research Process 43Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis 45— Teaching/Learning Strategies forReader—Response to Literature 45— Wide Reading Autonomyand Response 59— Group Work 61— The Products of Response 64— Metacognition 68— Theory and Research in Practice 70— The Role of the Teacher 74— A Tertiary Perspective 77Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions;Recommendations 81— Some Teaching/Learning Strategiesfor Response to Literature 85— The Role of the Teacher 93— Further Research 98Bibliography 99VAppendices1 Tables I—IV 1152 Preliminary Survey 1223 Strategies for Developing Reading,Writing, Discussing, ListeningThrough Literature 1254 Suggestions for Respondingto a Poem 129viList of TablesTable I A General Picture of the Research 115Table II Data Analysis Instrument 116Table III An Overview of the TeachersInvolved in the Study 118Table IV The Organization of the Thesis 121CHAPTER 1: 1THE PROBLEM AND RATIONALEAlmost fifty—five years ago Louise Rosenblatt wrote aseminal book —— Literature as Exploration —— about responseto literature. Since then reader—response to literaturemethodology has gained a significant place in classrooms,particularly among reflective practitioners. As a researchand theoretical construct it has been the challengingperspective, especially since the 1960s.However, despite the many quantitative studies undertakenand the myriad theoretical articles written about response toliterature, there are still many teachers, particularly in theUnited States, according to Nancie Atwell, who are utilizingmethods of instruction that instill the “received meaning” ofliterature texts with little regard for student opinion orresponse (1987, 1 55—56).One of the difficulties in establishing response toliterature, arguably, to its (rightful) key position as acornerstone of literature teaching, has been the recurringproblem in research of “creating a systematic way of makingit available for disciplined study.... The strange experienceof response has been repeatedly forced into the familiarparadigm of objectivity, even by the most ambitious ofresearchers” (Bleich, in Cooper 1 985, 269). Thus, althoughquantitative studies have done much to advance the cause ofresponse to literature, my personal experience leads me tobelieve that for many practitioners there has beeninsufficient exposure to effective examples of how responsetechniques work in regular English classrooms. As a2consequence, some teachers have probably succumbed toentrenched ideas and have been reluctant to adopt these newmethods. Public examinations have tended to reinforce theteaching of instilled meaning in the sense that only an expertcan reveal the meaning or a text. Thus, as Charles Cooper haspointed out, if we concern ourselves only with what is“...easily measurable, we run the risk of reducing literatureprograms only to what is measurable” (309).Educators are becoming more comfortable with qualitativeapproaches to research, as evidenced by the comment in thepreface to the second edition of Research in Education: AConceDtual Introduction that revisions to the 1984 firstedition were prompted by the need for1) “increased articulation of certain qualitative designsand methods, and2) more recent statements of distinctions betweenquantitative and qualitative research paradigms (McMillanand Schumacher 1 989).Ethnography is providing one option for dealing withimportant dimensions of students response to literatureneglected by conventional empirical methods (Hickman, 343).Another qualitative technique gaining some support isphenomenology. If response to literature is to become aprincipal teaching methodology as conceivably it should, thenit is time as qualitative studies proliferate for moreresearchers to take a closer look through reflective—interpretive studies at what is occurring in response—basedclassrooms and to publish results that demonstratesuccessful utilization of response strategies (Kantor, 293).Every teacher, whether response—based or not, has uniqueattributes and strengths that, as I have suggested, are not3necessarily identified through quantitative studies. For thisreason I undertook a broad qualitative—interpretativeresearch project in six Greater Vancouver school districts inan attempt to tap a reservoir of collective wisdom and skill.Some teachers, in my experience, are continually seekingnew ideas and approaches to enrich their studentsexperience. This study served as an attempt to address thatneed by systematically gathering a range or types andvarieties or teaching/learning strategies for encouragingadolescent response to literature. By observing theexperience of teachers at work hoped to explore anddemonstrate how different approaches motivate, stimulateand challenge students. Within this context I intended toexamine the role of the teacher, the dynamics of theclassroom, and the role of the learner.Within the framework of the study I sought to answer twoprincipal questions:1. What reader—response teaching/learning techniques andstrategies are currently being utilized and advocated?2. What is the teachers role in encouraging response toliterature?A number of sub—questions that I also explored have emergedfrom the literature review and these are raised at theconclusion of that review.The study is significant from several perspectives.Primarily, by collecting and sharing successful teachingstrategies this research will be re—investing an accumulatedexpertise for the benefit of all interested Greater Vancouverteachers and their students. Secondly, in contrast to thevaluable quantitative studies that have provided the initial4impetus and empirical support for reader—responsepedagogy,this study intended, through an exploration andanalysis of how student response to literature is enhanced, toexamine some of the subtleties elusive to quantitativeresearch and therefore, hopefully, encourage teacherexperimentation and better inform reflective practice.5CHAPTER 2:REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATUREAdolescent Response to Literature: The State of the ArtThis review has been a difficult task because there is somuch material to be digested and so many problemsassociated with what to include or exclude. Drawingboundaries for the topic raised a number of issues that werenot easily resolved. The review cannot reasonably becomprehensive due to the breadth of the subject and thereforeconcentrates most closely on the body of relatively recentresearch and thought about adolescent response to literature.Nevertheless, the topic still has a tendency to snowball, asmy expanding bibliography confirms. The more articles andbooks one discovers, the greater is ones awareness of thecomplexity of the topic.The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines anadolescent as a person growing up, between childhood andadulthood: etymologically the term is derived from the Latinverb alere meaning nourish. Considering this broaddefinition, it is not really practical to exclude exploring anyresearch literature that covers students between Grade 6 andGrade 12. Furthermore, a number of studies about collegestudents have a direct relevance to adolescent responsequestions and therefore several articles that relate to thatgroup have been included. Developmental cognitiveconstraints are relative and variable, and consequently abroad perspective is the most valuable at this stage.6Should there be any limits to what constitutes adolescentreading? Although there is a growing corpus or excellentadolescent literature, the answer would have to be negativeas (guided) freedom of choice, preferably with teachersrecommending and providing reading selections, appears to bean integral element of genuine reader response. Ideallyteachers will recommend and provide reading selections.Young readers should be encouraged to set their own limits.Challenge is inextricably linked to growth on variouslevels. As Alan Garner so aptly suggests as a reason whyadolecents make such an ideal audience with which toconnect: “...adolescence may be a form of maturity from whichthe adult declines...”(Chambers 1985, 89).Why so many adolescents apparently resist reading is asignificant issue. As Probst argues in his preface toAdolescent Literature: Response and Analysis, critical andhistorical approaches to literature instruction have longdominated the educational field, virtually neglecting the“lonely reader” (1984, xii). Children coming from homeswhere books and reading are not valued are disadvantagedearly and the above approaches, particularly in the early,secondary years apparently turn off’ many young people.Understandably, they resent paragraph by paragraphdissection, slow reading line by line, and teacher—directed,controlled analysis (Carisen and Sherrill, 135).Reading AutonomyA recent article by Anne McCrary Sullivan (1991) shedssome light on the process of reader alienation. She asked herstudents to write about their personal reading histories and1round a “recurring thread: I loved reading when I was young;school made me hate it” (40). Only in the later secondaryyears ——Grades 10—12—— did a number or the students chooseto return to reading voluntarily. For others, school was notimportant to their reading histories: The pleasure round inreading was external. Sullivan goes on to explain that a“natural reading lire” is characterized by exploration anddiscovery, where one experience leads to another.Interestingly, she also noted a link between observations thatsecondary teachers stop reading aloud to students and a lackor motivation, and round that a return to that practice canenhance enjoyment and response (45).Clearly, there are certain conditions that promote reading.Availability or books, magazines, newspapers and evenquality comics such as the old Classics Illustrated isessential in developing pleasure in reading. The teacher canproritably guide young readers by having a wide range orappropriate literature in the classroom and by encouraginglibrary participation. Role models who read aloud to studentsand clearly value reading silently themselves are anotherintegral element. Sustained silent reading programs whereall teachers and administrators read with students can beerrective in this regard, as can reading parents. Freedom orchoice, owning books, positive personal experience and thesocial interaction or sharing and discussing books are otherrundamentals associated with racilitating reading enjoyment(Carlsen and Sherrill, 146—51). Reading autonomy, inparticular, allows ror the “wide, voracious, indiscriminatereading” that Aiden Chambers argues is “the base soil rromwhich discrimination and taste eventually grow” (Benton and8Fox, 93).The notion of choice has found recent support in an articleby two respected proponents or student—centred teaching,James Moffett and Betty Jane Wagner. “The power to choosewhat one reads makes for the best reading program you candevise.... If you pre—digest form and content for yourstudents, you will rob them of their education by short—circuiting their thinking” (70). If literature is “our reservoirof insight into the human condition” as Probst claims and theadolescents interest in himself is the key to hisparticipation in the demand of great literature to reflect andre—examine ones attitudes and beliefs, then we have anobligation to encourage, support and explore original thoughtthrough individualized reading programs (1988, xi,4).Sullivan suggests, as one strategy, a semester-longassignment where students read as “explorers”, choosing andresponding to works or passages that excite them: this isdone within a reading/writing workshop atmosphere (1991,45). Wendy 5uttons practice in English Education 349 at theUniversity of British Columbia, of having groups share theirinitial reactions after a five minute read of novel openings isanother excellent way to promote individualized reading.Jack Thompsons fascinating account UnderstandingTeenaers Reading outlines the negative effects thattelevision and videos have on developing readers and confirmsthe failure of schools to promote reading because of negativepractices such as the imposition of received judgments,denigration of emotional response, unfair criticism,unimaginative use of literature and failing to stress theenjoyment of reading (1987, 52). His deconstructions ofFlowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews and Paul Scotts The9Rai Quartet are courageous, tough reviews demonstrating awonderful self—analysis of personal response. It meanstaking risks.Rosenblatt’s InfluenceVirtually all the contemporary theorists and researchersacknowledge the enormous contribution of Louise Rosenblatt.The process of response, enunciated in The Reader, the Text.the Poem, invokes the notion of “integrated sensibility” ——afusion of thought and feeling —— with the reader activelybuilding meaning from the text by paying attention not only tothe external referents of the words but to the “images,objects, feelings, attitudes, associations and ideas” of pastexperience (1978, 46,10). Thus we have a “compenetration”of a reader and a text as well as of past experience andpresent personality (12). In a recent article “Literature——5.0.5.” Rosenblatt affirms the importance of viewing her twodescriptions of reading, efferent and sthetic, as ends of acontinuum with the former being associated with publicelements and the &sthetic experience with the private (1991,446). The ability to read both ways is important for students(448). It is crucial to remember that Rosenblatt has stressedthat an sthetic reading is not a simple reverie but ratherinvolves a selective “concentration on the words of a texteven more keen than an efferent reading” (1978, 29).Kenneth Donelson (1990), in his summary of Rosenblatt’stheories “Fifty Years of Literature for Young Adults”, arguesthat students must be free from trying to interpret what theteacher wants, despite the fact that the ambiguity of10uncertainty may cause them some discomfort (13). He, too,articulates the importance of free choice in fosteringresponse through to pleasure in and enjoyment of literatureand recognizes the value 01’ literature as a significantinfluence on young readers. Furthermore, he reinforcesRosenblatts notion of the significance of each individualsunique reading of a literary work (12).Perhaps the most practical proponent of Rosenblatts viewsis Robert Probst. He outlines a wide range of suggestions forputting response theory into practice. Certain conditionshave to be met if students are to participate fruitfully as“co—creators of the text. They must be receptive, bothactive and responsible; co—operative, toleratinguninteresting, irrelevant responses; tentative, willing toexpress uncertain thoughts and feelings, free to change theirmind as a normal function of intellectual revision; andrigorous, making tough analyses free of closure, drawinginferences from their own attitudes and from texts. Finally,according to Probst, the literature has to be suitable, andworthy of reflection (1984 24—27). The teacher is vital inthis regard, and must seek clarification and elaboration ofresponses, careful not to determine responses while studentsrespond in writing or build discussion (33). Confidently,Probst asserts that knowledge of “literary forms is emptywithout an accompanying humanity” and that by “participatingin anothers vision” students can make sense of their ownlives (1990, 28-29).11Other Theorists and PerspectivesReading theorists, too, have added valuable insights toRosenblatts view of the readers transaction with the text;Young observes that Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco stressthe value of “readerly” and “open” texts that allow more roomfor diverse reader response and interpretation (20). WolfgangIser elaborates on the idea of the uniqueness of personalresponse explaining that without the “participation of theindividual reader there can be no performance” (1978, 27).The “gap between the authors perception of the world and thereaders view of the text” cannot be bridged by whatColeridge described as a “willing suspension of disbelief,”because the reader has to actively select, combine andassemble meaning rather than passively accept what he reads(97). Stanley Fish argues that response develops word byword, so that the “readers response to the fifth word in aline or sentence is to a large extent the product of hisresponses to word one, two, three and four, and as suchreflect a changing scape” (487). It is important to note thatRosenblatt, Iser and Fish emphasize the readers activityduring reading rather than after reading.Thus the circumstances surrounding where one is readingmay have a particular influence on the readers response.Emrys Evans explains the example of a student readingThomas Hardys Jude the Obscure in a solitary house whilesuffering from influenza (23). Such a situation would clearlyenhance the authors already dismal picture of Judes life.Honoré de Balzac also maintained that reading involves acomparison between the text and our experience (28).Similarly, there are many others who have made12contributions to the field or reader—response who should beacknowledged, albeit briefly. l.A. Richards PracticalCriticism is a tough—minded seminal work that examines therange or responses to poetry (1929, 9). He and T.5. Eliot feltthat through absolute attention to the words a capable readercould detect the “system or images and meaning within awork” (Wolf, 8). New Critics would also probably claimRichards and Eliot as forerunners for New Critical Theory.Young suggests that Bakhtin was a pioneer in reader-response, writing as early as 1929 about the dialogicrelationship between reader and writer and the possibility oflanguage structures promoting a multiplicity of meanings(1 9). James Moffett and Betty Wagner have elaborated on thisnotion in explaining how Herman Melville in Moby Dick hasembedded several levels of meaning simultaneously: physical,psychological, sociological, anthropological and theological.Thus figurative discourse, implicit in nature, embodiesgeneralities with suggestive details within the explicitliteral mode. The reader needs to incorporate two ways ofknowing ——the intellect, to explore and analyse the explicit,and intuition, to synthesize simultaneously the implicit(1983, 533-34).Other significant reader—centered approaches have beensummarized by Evans, Cooper and Gambell. Harding (1937)advocates the role of the spectator which explores the tugbetween detachment and involvement; Britton (1977) arguesfor a transactional model involving a continuum —— expressivetransactional, poetic (Evans 48); and Holland (1975) adopted apsychoanalytical approach which maintains that “a story doesnot cause or even limit the responses to it, the response13comes from the literant” (Cooper, 7). Finally, Purves’ (1979)theory of response distinguishes between meaning ——“convergence of reader, writer and audience” andsignificance, residing in the private or public domain of theparticipants (Sambell, 121).Student Engagement with LiteratureIn some ways David Bleich’s mode] (1975) seems very muchto reflect Rosenblatt’s ideas. He proposes four incrementalphases for student response to literature. Step one involvesstudents understanding how thoughts, feelings and emotionscan be translated into judgments. Second, individuals’feelings and the way they differ in the re—creation of literarytexts are examined. Third, the literary importance of a workis reflected upon, and finally interpretation is carried out asa “communal act” with the social authority of the classreplacing that of the teacher (Corcoran and Evans 13).Therefore, response is negotiated through these methods:“reader—oriented (subjective motives, personal feelings),reality oriented (centering on facts of the text), orexperience—oriented (integrating the processes of perception,affect and association)”(Gambell, 121). Much of the laterwork by Probst, Dias, Thompson, Purves and others appears toincorporate these principles and the ideas of those previouslymentioned as will be evident later.Australian Bill Corcoran, for example, in his article“Teachers Creating Readers” within the anthology that he coedits with Emrys Evans, postulates four types of mentalactivity in sthetic reading: picturing and imaging,anticipating and retrospecting, engagement and construction14and finally valuing and evaluating (1987, 44). He further addsthat teachers can help their students to adopt a morereflective stance by encouraging them to predict, speculate,hypothesize and extrapolate from the emotional reactions,and the feelings of identification and involvement they haveexperienced while reading a text (47). These ideas hark backto a definitive 1956 James Squire study, The Responses ofAdolescents While Reading Four Short Stories, which found astrong correlation between emotional involvement andliterary judgement and analysis (51). His findings alsostress the importance of determining readers reactionsduring the process of reading (50).In the most recent book that he co—authors with MariaRogers and Anna Soter, How Porcupines Make Love II (1990),Alan Purves explains that the response—centred classroom isan “interpretive community” where student discussion andinterpretation grow from their feelings, questions andresponses in what Douglas I3arnes (1968) describes as“exploratory” talk. Students are free to disagree with eachother and the teacher in a way that reflects how peoplegenerally discuss literature (76).Constraints on and Strengths of Student ResponseRecent literature on adolescent response has really builton the early work. Patrick Dias and Michael HayhoesDeveloping Response to Poetry offers a furthering of thetheoretical framework and results of important research thathave tried to release the constraints on genuine studentengagement by analysing how young readers view a text. They15see a disjunction between reading and the way poetry is oftentaught, a theme echoed by Probst, Thompson, Purves, and DonZancanella (1988, 1). Zancanella found that very oftenteachers are inclined to separate their personal view ofliterature as imaginative experience and their professionalapproach, which tends to focus on structural analysis withform and content in conflict (27).Zancanellas study examines the relationship betweenteachers personal reading and the way they teach literature.He finds considerable dissonance in how most teachers readfor vicarious pleasure —— entering and living in “fictiveworlds” while concentrating on surface comprehension andliterary terms and concepts when teaching literature.Significantly, all five teachers in the study felt constrainedby the need to prepare students for state tests (26).Furthermore, Zancanellas findings interconnect with AnneSullivans views about student alienation. Reading enjoymentand pleasure should be priority considerations for thosetrying to develop response to literature.Dias and Hayhoe claim that top down readers make meaningby bringing “prior knowledge, intentions and specificconcepts to sample a text” in what Goodman (1967) describesas a “psycholinguistic guessing game” and Smith (1978)delineates as an interrogation. In contrast, many adolescentreaders read bottom up, attending only to phonemic andgraphic symbols, and may not even think about the title andcontextual clues, and consequently appear to give up easily(26). Dias and Hayhoe argue that “interactive” readinginvolves both types of reading and that all “means ofprocessing and kinds of information co—operate to producemeaning” and hypothesis revision. Thus the experienced16reader will bring to the text of a poem a recognition thatcertain words are not to be taken literally and will introduceinference to fill in missing links (27, 31). Group work, ofcourse, by “providing a ‘scaffolding’ for unimagined meanings”is an excellent way to develop tentative speculativeinferencing, a theme we shall explore further as the reviewprogresses (Smolkin, 1989).Furthermore, Dias and Hayhoe maintain that evidencesuggests that adolescents often read poetry efferently andbecome frustrated by their inability to gain more than a“cursory understanding”, and because they come to a poemwith the expectation that they can make little sense of apoem by themselves, a “self—fulfilling prophecy” is realised(33). Attention at the sentence level and preoccupation withlocal detail can defeat what any attention to experiencesmight evoke, and subsequently a teacher’s interpretation ofthe “meaning” of a poem may create a distrust of intuitiveresponse (34).Teachers have to be so careful not to set themselves up asexperts. Probst suggests that this can be overcome by ateacher bringing a poem unprepared or by asking for studentselections, to “force the teacher to practice what he/sheespouses” (1 984, 33). Dennie Wolf agrees and proposes thatteachers should teach works that they are reading for thefirst time, so that they can “talk aloud about groping formeaning” (30).To overcome the difficulty that young readers have infavouring information in a poem that fits what they expectthe poem to mean, ignoring information that does not fit withquickly conceived notions, Dias and Hayhoe invoke some of the17figures already referred to in this paper to suggeststrategies. Withholding the name of a poet, for example, isan l.A. Richards suggestion to avoid prejudgment. The use ofdifferent readers reading aloud is a widely recognizedproposal of James Britton and Douglas Barnes for offering a“differing capacity to visualize”. Harding suggests repeatedreadings of a poem four times over a week to allow time forfamiliarity to develop and changes in evaluation to occur.Britton, in a significant 1954 paper “Evidence of Improvementin Poetic Judgement,” stresses the importance of studentssimply reading poetry as a means of gaining confidence andappreciation of the medium (42—44).Two other important pieces of research that Dias andHayhoe refer to in their valuable book are worthy ofreflection. The finding of Travers (1982) that writtenresponse somehow “interposes itself between the responseand articulation of the response” is important. Fourteenyear—olds are able to explore aspects of a poem and provideevidence to support their views but are not able to respond asfully in writing. Dias and Hayhoe argue that Margaret Meek’sconclusion in her 1983 study of adolescents learning to readthat teachers need to know adolescents as individual readersis also significant (46—47). Awareness of possibleconstraints and empathy are crucial elements of the teacher’srepertoire.Dias found that the dynamics of interactive group workwith adolescent responders led to evidence of a growingpositive attitude, tentative formulation of meaning, awillingness to live with ambiguity, and a developing abilityto voice complex and subtle observations (1988, 50). Ananalysis of the “Responding—Aloud—Protocols” (RAPs) of18fourteen fifteen year—olds from Quebec and England yieldedsome fascinating results.The RAPs show four patterns or how young readers respondto a poem) in this case Ted Hughes’ “The Thought—Fox”.Reluctant readers or poetry tend to “paraphrase”, restatingthe poem in their own words but not going beyond the literalmeaning. “Thematizers” use a general analytical approach toestablish a simple theme, whereas “allegorizers” seeksymbolic equivalencies between the poem and real life,utilizing intuition and feeling in a synthetic approach.Finally, the “problem—solvers” see the poem as a “complexartifact” and enthusiastically work between the text andtheir own experience, making tentative hypotheses butrefusing to reach a hasty closure. Ambiguity, to them, is notas troublesome (52—57). The mining analogy that Dias usessheds further light on the patterns: the paraphraser andallegorizer are like surveyors, the former concerned withsurface features and the latter with both the surface and thestructure just beneath the surface. In contrast thethematizer is a miner who trusts his judgement.Advantageously, the problem—solver integrates all theaforementioned roles as he scans the surface and probesunderneath it (57). Surely, students can learn to be problem—solvers if they understand through shared experience howothers respond and are taught strategies for approaching apoem.19Quest ionsIn “The Reader as Problem-Maker: Responding to a Poemwith Questions” (1991), Carl Leggo refers to the Dias findingsthat students’ responses to poetry tend towards closure,arguing for a strategy that promotes openness and defersclosure. He sees the responsive reader as a “problem—maker”.Young readers are encouraged to compile a lengthy and wide—ranging list of questions generated by reading and re—readinga poem. The researcher/teachers technique is to advisestudents to ask questions about “anything” as a way into thepoem. He warns students that a poet may not be able toanswer the questions they have. The approach was perceivedby adolescents to be non—threatening “fun” and gave them a“sense of freedom” that enabled them to pose a wide range ofquestions: semantic, syntactic, prosodic, personal andreflective. The novel approach of negotiating with studentsand deciding not to seek conclusions by answering thequestions can, in Leggo’s view, “motivate more readers to beproblem—makers”.However, this is not to say that student—generatedquestions cannot become the focus of text exploration. Tothe contrary, as Patricia Hansbury explains in her excellentcontribution “Readers Making Meaning: From Response toInterpretation’ to Ben Nelms” thoughtful anthology Literaturein the Classroom: Readers. Texts and Contexts, if studentswrite their own questions and collectively narrow andreformulate them with teacher assistance into criticalquestions, issues and ideas, they become genuine participantsin the process of interpretation of textual ambiguity (1988,109—11). As such they become “active negotiators” in the act20of making meaning during and after reading (Straw 133). Inturn, this process encourages the “cognitive controversy”(Johnson and Johnson, 1985) that heterogeneous collaborativeresponse groups tend to promote, and stimulates curiosityand an active search for understanding as students try todispel uncertainty about their own views (Straw, 140—42).Despite the positive position taken by most reader-response theorists and researchers, there are some concerns.Kay Vandergrift, in her recent book Childrens Literature:Theory. Research and Teaching (1 990), has expresseddisillusionment with the theorists and in an English inAustralia journal article, Jackie Cook, David Homes andHelen Nixon (1990) have claimed that the theorists are notable to practise what they preach. They argue that theInternational Reading Conference at Norwich in 1989investigating the theory/practice nexus in English teachingwas unable to provide a single “clear map” of the territory ofreading and response or of reader—response theory. Theyfurther maintain that critical reflection on practice is notbeing fostered because of the resistance of theory laden“academic overworld”. Does, as Margaret Meek proposed atthe conference, the word “response” have too much work todo?Diversity in Reader—Response TheoryCertainly there is no clearly articulated single perspectiveof reader—response to literature. On the contrary, there hasbeen considerable division amongst theorists about therelationship between the reader, the text and the role of the21reader. Historically, according to Beach, the Romantics werepreoccupied with the author, the New Critics with the text,whereas reader—response theorists focused their attention onhow the reader makes meaning (1 993, 1).In her book The Return of the Reader: Reader-ResDonse(1987), Elizabeth Freund outlines the different theoreticalperspectives of the reader,which I will briefly summarize(7). Early conceptions include Gibsons (1950) theory of themock reader, Booth and Isers implied reader and Ecos modelreader. Riffaterre introduces the notion of a super—readerwho relies on intertextuality to analyze literature, but heabandoned this concept preferring later to view reader-response as a semiotic dialectic between the reader and thetext with meaning being indirect, often “saying one thing andmeaning another” (76). Brooke—Rose refers to an inscribed orencoded reader and Gerald Prince to a narratee who isidentified as an ideal or virtual reader. Like Gibson andRiffaterre, Prince shares an assumption or textualobjectivity, that “meaning resides in the text”, althoughRiffaterre feels strongly that literary meaning is a functionof the readers response to a text (Tompkins, 1980, xii—xiii).George Poulet, like Iser, views the reading process as more ofa symbiotic relationship between the reader and the text.However, for Poulet this means that the readersconsciousness is “invaded by the authors”, whereas Iserviews the interplay as more dynamic, with the readeractively filling textual gaps (xv). Jonathon Cullers theory ofan ideal reader, informed by French structuralism, posits thatthe reader is subject to a dualism of fact, what is read in thetext; and interpretation, what can be read into a text (Freund,88). Alternatively, there is Norman Hollands literant, based22on a Freudian psychoanalytic approach to reader—response.Like Bleich, a proponent of subjective criticism, Hollandplaces “questions of personal identitiy and self—awareness”at the centre of his theory (Tompkins, xix). As has beenmentioned earlier, Fish views the informed reader as being amember of an interpretive community, although as Tompkinsreminds us he affirms with Walter Michaels that there is“never a moment that we are not in the grip of some valuesystem” (xxv). At least these theorists do agree that meaningdoes not reside exclusively in the text. Ironically though, asTompkins points out, both New Critics and reader-responsecritics identify meaning as being the ultimate goal ofcriticism (1989, 201). However, as Beach has remarked, thatfew of these theories have developed from investigations ofactual readers (1993, 6).Beach has proposed that there are five primary theoreticalperspectives of reader—response:1) textual, which involves developing the reader’s knowledgeof textual conventions;2) experiential, which relates to the reader’s personalexperience including past reading and which in turn enhancesvisualization;3) psychological, involving those cognitive processes belowconsciousness;4) social, which involves the social context of the reader; andfinally,5) cultural, which encompasses how response is shaped by theroles, values and attitudes within a broader historicalcontext (1993, 8). Quite rightly he envisages that, despitedifferent assumptions, the perspectives intersect and overlap(9). Obviously, each of these aspects will influence any23readers response to literature, and clearly providesessential bases for unique individual response.In an excellent compact National Council of Teachers ofEnglish publication, Enhancing Aesthetic Response toLiterature, Philip Anderson and Greg Rubano have identifiedtwo major categories of research:1) articulated response which elaborates on the work of manyof the theorists and researchers already referred to includingRichards, Bleich, Holland, Dias, Squire and Purves. Andersonand Rubano add that Koch (1990) emphasizes the value ofwriting literary texts in response to literary texts;2) unarticulated response or response associated with“passive ability”, with readers knowing more than they canexplain (10—14). The authors have argued persuasively thatperhaps the only way to ensure an initial sthetic responseto literature is to require students to “respond in poeticdiscourse”, or I might add, with visual representation (17).With regard to articulated response, Anderson and Rubanohave revealed that there is some interesting research devotedto the study of imagerys role in reader response. Sadoskifound that strong emotional reactions produced powerfulimagery and that the two may be “inherently related (1988,19). Researchers Long, Winograd and Bridge report thatsustained imagery production occurs during reading and isintegral to thinking processes and response (1 989, 17). Thisfinding supports teaching practice which involves studentsresponding by comparing and contrasting their own textualvisualization with that of film directors, because they areresponding from a position or sense of personal strength.Purves has suggested that “idiosyncratic image production24may be constrained by “patterns of images and emotions foundin a work” (18). As Long et al (1989) and Nell (1988) havepointed out, imagery may play a vital role in increasingenjoyment, interest, involvement and engagement inliterature and enhance aesthetic response (Anderson andRubano 1991, 19).By allowing for inarticulated response, teachers canaddress the difficulty that even “sophisticated adults” havein articulating their responses (20). Anderson (1988, 1990)has adapted the Abbott and Trabue (1921) idea of rewritingpoems with disruptions to essential characteristics such asrhyme and rhythm, by using poetic conventions to alter texts(Anderson and Rubano, 21). Purves has proposed that askingcritical questions of a text, an approach supported by CarlLeggo, and identifying worst or best poems are two ways ofdeveloping unarticulated response (1981, 21). Alternatively,Gunnar Hannsons notion of verbal scales based on semanticdifferentials enables weaker readers to enjoy the success ofsimilar sthetic responses to those of better educatedreaders; yet as Hannson concluded, articulation is essentialto critical response (1973, 23). I shall refer to the questionof visual representation as unarticulated response later inthis review.A recent and very challenging article ‘The TransactionTheory, Dualism and the Paradigm Shift in Reader—Response”(in press) by Karen Armstrong identifies three researchtrends, all gaining impetus from Louise Rosenblatt (1938).The first involves different views of the readers, along thelines of the Freund summary, culminating in the Rosenblattfocus on the “response process itself” (1978, 9—10). A secondtrend recognized by Armstrong is the multiple stance25perspective adopted by researchers Russell Hunt and DouglasVipond (1985): story—driven, information—driven and point—driven. They have proposed that “novices tend to read from astory driven stance whereas expert readers tend to respond ina point—driven way” (11). In a similar vein Wade—Mattais(1981) has examined the differences between private andpublic stances. Third, Armstrong has suggested a trend basedon the work of Kintgen, Svensson and Hoffst&dter andstressed by Rosenblatt —- “an awareness of the changeable,fluid nature of truth and reality” (11). She also refers to twoother types of research occurring —— albeit rarely —— outsideRosenblatt’s transactional model of response to literature:ludic or play reading which Victor Nell (1988) arguesnurtures democracy and an unlabelled mode of responseinvolving spiritual dimension (12—13). Finally, Armstrongargues that the time has come to transcend Rosenblatt’s(1990) dualistic approach whereby only after a “work hasbeen evoked”, can it become the “object of reflection andanalysis (17). Armstrong proposes that the “wholeness ofa holonomic” enterprise which incorporates a “multitude ofvoices and texts, past, present and future...” replaces thedualistic transactional theory, doing what “excellentteachers have always known and practised despite trends thatcome and go: moving among all the paradigms as they see fit,grounded in a world of holism” (26—27). Probably, manyEnglish teachers would agree with these sentiments.Other concerned individuals have raised problems withreading materials and approaches to teaching for response toliterature. In the English Journal, Mary Ella Randall reviewed“Books for the Teenage Reader” and concluded it was a26“collection or horror stories” dominated by cliches andpredictable characters, conflicts and outcomes (69).However, those or us who have read widely within theliterature would have to disagree with this assessment.Nevertheless, the conclusion that Cynthia Eliwood reachesin her 1990 thesis “Beyond the Basics: A teacher—researcherscase study of an urban high school class” is worthy ofconsideration. She found that urban teenagers responded withgreater interest to “searching moral questions and timelessexistential dilemmas” than to the daily teenage concernsdeemed by educators to be “relevant”. Eliwood suggests thatthe teacher, by sharing her concerns in a triangularconnection with text and response, can facilitate involvement(3651 A).Journals or Reading LoasArthur Applebee argues in “Fostering LiteraryUnderstanding” that there is a need to strike a moreappropriate balance in text selection due to the predominanceof novels and dramas written by white, Anglo—Saxon, maleauthors (62). In her 1990 thesis “A comparison of writtenresponses of eleventh—grade readers to black and whiteliterature” Angela Josey confirms Applebees observation,finding that few readers had read literary works by and/orabout black people. Interestingly, she further observes thatthe race of characters has more effect on the readerswritten response to black stories than to white stories.Written response continues to be a key focus of research.Journal writing or log entries, in particular, are seen as anexcellent way to initiate response and a valuable means of27reformulating and extending thinking ([anger and Applebee1987, 49). The informal nature of the writing is significantin that it allows students to “grapple with their reactionsand to express them in their own way” (Crowhurst and Kooy1986, 257). The emphasis on the writer as meaning-maker ispossible because initial reactions can be recorded as theyoccur if the reader chooses to note them. Furthermore,observes Richard Van De Weghe, heuristic moments or the“eureka” experience happen after the writer has expendedsome time reflecting, and through the process of writing thehypothetical “I suppose or “come to think of it...”conceptual breakthroughs occur. He also finds, to someextent like [eggo, that the successful reader is a “problem—finder” (43—47).The double—entry journal is gaining support. In “[earningthrough writing: The double—entry journal in literatureclasses” (1989), Susan and Harold Nugent explain the value ofstudents writing initial responses and sharing them in smallgroups and class presentations before finally synthesizingtheir findings in the journal. Unintentionally, this article is arefutation of the Cook et al complaints about thetheory/practice nexus as it blends the theories of Rosenblatt,Vygotsy and Bleich and describes practical steps thatdemonstrate how meaning negotiation and insights areachieved.Journals and reading logs are not limited to double—entry.Robert Probst in ‘Five Kinds of Knowing’ (1990) demonstratesthe utilization of a three column and four columnjournal/reading log. The three entry system involves animmediate reaction, later reflection and a reading/writing28experiment. A guiding question to lend insight for the lattertwo entries asks whether the text as it has been experiencedis significant in its personal connections or has affirmed orcontradicted personal attitudes or perceptions (10). A fourcolumn system that he suggests being laid out over twoadjacent pages includes notes of the text, a response, acomment by another student and a reply. The intention of thisinterplay is to call attention to the similarities anddifferences between readers, that is to “different ways ofknowing” (11).Kay Vandergrift describes in “The childs meaning—makingin response to a literary text” how she explored having fifty-seven Grade 9 students use a double—entry format to monitor,in a “metacognitive process of tracking”, referents from boththe text and their personal experiences that influenced theirperceptions, interpretations and evaluations (1990, 125).She explains that students were encouraged to think of their“interpretive community” as a “think—tank” with eachindividual being an invited guest highly regarded for hisunique interpretations. There was no pressure to conform togroup consensus (135). A fascinating finding was that therewere many references to child abuse in the responses to theshort story “My Friend Bobby”, first published in 1952.However Vandergrift noticed, on comparing her records of aresponse experiment to the same story ten years earlier, thatthere were no references to child abuse at the time, revealingthat the social context, as part of the personal context, is akey factor in establishing meaning (136). Responses tendedto begin subjectively with personal responses which werethen discussed objectively in relation to the text beforebeing combined for interpretation and evaluation of the story.29Different Teaching/Learning StrategiesThe notion of the students as “experts” is taken up byCharlotte Miller in a 1989 article. She suggests a pressconference as a response strategy with “reporters”interviewing characters. Establishing biases, prejudices andinterests of specialized magazines, television shows and thelike serves to involve and challenge students, while studentsin “character” have explored their particular text to find ten“good” questions for the reporters to ask (60). Unfortunately,the limitation of this approach is the likelihood that“characters” will choose questions they feel comfortableanswering rather than the more valuable “problem—finder” or“problem—maker” questions.A technique that does involve students in closer textualidentification is what Peter Adams describes as taking therole of author. Imaginative reconstruction of a gap in a textor an alternate conclusion serves to force readers to supportand amplify an original work within the constraints ofmaintaining consistency. A wonderful advantage is thatstudents can respond to an author’s ambiguity (Corcoran andEvans, 120). When students write an alternate ending to TheChrysalids it really causes them to set up a “dialogue withthe author” (123). Clearly, when literature and writtenresponse merge in this manner, response is genuinely felt.Another method is to read most of a short story and havestudents complete it, and then compare their versions withthe author’s result, thus raising questions about hisintentions and choices.30A reverse technique that David Mallick uses involves askingstudents to write a story about certain key elements he hasextracted from a short story. For example, from JudahWaten’s “The Knife” students are asked to construct a storyabout a handsome teenage immigrant boy recently arrivedfrom the Middle East and a knife ingredients which establishtension. After students have completed writing, the teacherreads the original story aloud and the response/comparisoninterplay begins (Teacher training, 1984). The idea of youngscholars feeling as if they are part of a writing fraternitywhich they share with the author is significant. Also,advantageously; as the teacher reads aloud the initial writtenresponse can take place.Mallick also advocates that students write poems fromdirect experience and as a response to poetry, something thatDias and Hayhoe also propose. They suggest a collaborativeenterprise with pairs or groups writing a formulaic “echo”poem through which students have to look closely at the formof the original poem, for example, Robert Frost’s “Stopping byWoods on a Snowy Evening”. They are advised to write fourverses of four lines each, the first stanza ending with fallingsnow, the second referring to the darkest evening of the year,using the same rhyme scheme as Frost. Such an approachforces an engagement with lexis and form before the originalpoem is introduced for response. By the time the original isread, student poems have already been responded to withinthis scheme (Dias and Hayhoe, 97—98).Further opportunities exist within the framework of NinaMikkelson’s “Patterns of Story Development in Children’sResponses to Literature”. In the same way that professionalwriters retell older stories, borrow details for a particular31audience, create their vision through a blend of stories, recreate an element or character—type, or transform an existing“thematic scaffolding” as J.R.R. Tolkien has done for The Lordof the Rings, students choose alternatives for responding toliterature. Obviously this invokes a less constrainedresponse to a literary text, but it is, nevertheless, veryvaluable. Within this context one could include writing for ayounger or different audience.An alternative to oral and written response is visualresponse because, as Purves et al explain, it involves using athird “sign” system that allows for metaphorical response(1 990, 85). This, perhaps, to some degree, meets theobjection of Travers referred to earlier that writtenresponses may be incomplete, a conclusion supported byMichael Cole and Helen Keysser according to Purves et al (85).Their view is that much of our knowledge, which is obtainedindirectly, is an “incomplete rendition of the original event”(Purves et al, 85). By allowing students a choice of signsystems for response which semiotician C.S. Pierce arguesinclude oral and written sign systems, dance, drama, music,and art broadly conceived, we give them, as Eliot Eisnermaintains, options which enable them to better express their“conceptualizations of the world” (86). Thus response cantake the illustrated form of a photo, photographic collage, orposters; graphic representation such as a sociogram, storymap, chart, graph, diagram, cartoon or calligraphy;video/audio productions including scripted stories, radioplays, animation, special effects interviews or performanceart such as mime, tableau, music or dance (88). Sonja Fisterconcludes, in her doctoral thesis “Literature as visualresponse and sthetic experience: An alternative approach”,32that by allowing students to respond as performers andcreators through non—verbal symbols we best reflectemotional and intellectual engagement through an open—endedresponse to literature (1990, 4005—A).Dramatic response, while clearly a sign system, canreasonably be viewed as a distinct approach. Role dramas orrole play enable responders to get beneath the skin ofliterary characters and more fully explore conflicts andthemes from an experiential perspective. Dorothy Heathcote,Gavin Bolton, Pat Verriour, Cecily O’Neill and Alan Lambertare skilled proponents of this technique. Readers’ theatre,advocated by John Dixon, Purves and many others,encompasses any performance of literature including poetry,prose and scripted drama and can be live or taped. Prose canbe scripted, for example. Rehearsed performance is anexcellent way for a group to tentatively interpret character,relationships, ambiguity and authorial intent. Liveperformance is an excellent way to promote understandingthrough response, what Laura Roth describes in her thesis“Performance considerations for adaptation” as “a dynamicinteractive approach which enhances the literary experience”.Metacoani tionRecently, research into response to literature hasexamined the role of thinking or reasoning and there appearsto be a trend towards a metacognitive position whereteachers are encouraged to arm their students with all theappropriate mental skills necessary to understand theprocesses of response; in Garth Boomer’s metaphor, education33as Brechtian epic theatre which lets the audience in on thesecrets of its construction (13). As Suzanne Fleischmanexplains initiated readers decode texts through knowledge,assumptions and values——”horizons of expectations”——theyshare with the writer (3). Teachers need to assist studentsto acquire these decoding skills rather than instill meaning.Thompson quotes Margaret Meek as saying that we have aresponsibility to pass on a “list of the secret things that allaccomplished readers know, yet never talk about”(109), andargues that teachers have to teach deconstruction techniquesto help students withstand the “shoddy allurements” of novelslike Flowers in the Attic by equipping them with whateducational theorists Neil Postman and Charles Weingartnerdescribe as “a shock—proof crap—detector” (Thompson, 60).Thompson also talks about the importance of “gaps”, both inliterature and films, as a way of dislocating our attentionfrom “what happens next?” momentarily. As an example hecites the wanton slaughter of a beautiful, frightened horse inthe film “Missing” as one of those moments. The horse is ametaphor for the destruction of freedom and beauty andbriefly the audience is torn from the narrative in anactivation of imagination (73). This is an instance of thetype of awareness we can offer students as part of theirunderstanding of how good literature humanizes and,conversely, how poor literature can pervert the process (75,59).Awareness of textual gaps can be promoted by teachersproviding students with access to the text, different versionsof films and documentaries that offer alternate perspectivesof a literary piece. Through attention to the wayinterpretations differ, students can become reader—response34critics who can fill gaps of a text which, in turn, allowsthem to interact more provocatively. Thus the presentationof a Hamerama involving showing the same scenes from thenumerous different productions of Hamlet, after reading theplay, provides an initial experience and opportunity forresponse. The enormity of a gap can then be illustrated byhaving students read the play or see the film of 5toppardsRosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Two seeminglyinsignificant friends of Hamlet are now the focus of a wholeplay. Students struggle with the “nature and function ofgaps” in literary texts and realize that as readers of Hamletthey did not become “sufficiently involved with thosecharacters to attempt to fill the gaps” (Lois Fowler and LindaPesante, 1 989, 28-29).Margaret Herring claims that parallel with the tendencytowards a growing awareness of the role of the reader ascreating meaning is a recognition of the decline of theauthority of the author. Furthermore, as a consequence ofthis decline, she maintains that it is most important that theyoung reader “resists a text”, carefully scrutinizing andquestioning assumptions (63—67). Herring stresses thatstudents can interpret and criticize any novels, even Millsand Boon romances, as long as they adopt a “dual readingposition —— that of model reader and resistant reader”, ableto read “both with and against the text so that they can enjoyand deconstruct at the same time” (70).Other Australian researchers Cal Durrant, Lynne Goodwinand Ken Watson (1990) report that those working in the fieldof metacomprehension such as Winser have found evidencethat knowledge of ones own cognitive processes about35reading, in line with research about writing, can ‘lead to anability to regulate those processes in order to make themmore errective. Similarly they argue that Thompson’s studyshows that an awareness or their own response strategiescan lead adolescents to “greater control over their ownreading —— and greater appreciation or the books they read”(2 11). Students round that second readings and secondresponses alerted them to previously unperceived benerits,and varieties or perception, ror example visual, becameapparent to them as the experiment progressed (217).Evidence also showed that adequate time ror rerlectionallowed ror changed opinions and students were able torecognize the advantages or group work. An analysis of theprotocols revealed that young readers use “complex anddiverse reading strategies: questioning the text aboutmotives, events, characters, settings; predicting outcomes;adjusting theories in the light or new evidence; holdingjudgements in abeyance while awaiting more inrormation;visualizing and empathizing with characters; andanalogizing”. Durrant et al maintain that ruture researchneeds to determine the extent or students’ “explicitawareness or the strategies they collectively utilize” (218).Probst is also convinced that young people need tounderstand their own “processes or meaning making”. In “FiveKinds or Literary Knowing” (1990) he explains that studentsshould be aware that “meaning is not magically achieved”. Hererers back to his own idea articulated earlier in this paperthat the best way ror teachers to allow this to happen is tointroduce texts unramiliar to themselves. Students should bemade aware that there are “many ways or entering a text”(15-16).36We have a contentious issue here. Many theorists,including Rosenblatt (S.O.S., 447) and Moffett and Wagner (71)would probably argue that spontenaity would be lost withmetacognition just as Koestler’s centipede became paralyzedwhen asked in which order he moved his hundred legs (Durrantet al, 211). However, I believe there is sufficient evidenceto warrant further research into the effects ofmetacognition, particularly with older adolescents, becausemany of them lack confidence in their ability to respondcomprehensively to literature. Utilizing the Dias model, forexample, through practice in action would be an excellent wayof demonstrating to students that different strategies areavailable to them.Finally, there needs to be a balance between individualizedreading and shared group/class reading, because of themanner in which the latter provides for the development ofextended response through community negotiation of meaning.However, individual reading programs should not be neglectedas they enable students to enjoy personal response toliterature and to care about deepening their understanding.Thus a number of sub—questions emerged from theliterature review to add to the major research questions.Maior Research Questions1. What reader—response teaching/learning techniques andstrategies are currently being utilized?2. What is the teacher’s role in encouraging response toliterature?37Sub—questions1. What is the role of reading autonomy in promotingadolescent response to literature?2. Does group work provide “scaffolding” and promote growththrough “cognitive controversy”?3. What are some of the consequences of response-basedteaching?4. Is metacognition an evident and viable strategy forextending response?5. Are reader-response teaching strategies reflecting thecumulative theory and research findings evident in theliterature?38CHAPTER 3:METHODOLOGYAfter seeking and gaining permission from six GreaterVancouver school districts——in Vancouver, Richmond, Delta,Burnaby, North Vancouver and West Vancouver——to conductresearch, I undertook a two month study beginning in earlyOctober) 1 992. I focused on literature teaching strategiesand the subsequent interactions and responses in English andLanguage Arts adolescent classroom settings——Grades six totwelve.Research DesignMy study was originally formulated as a triangulated non—experimental qualitative project. Distribution of aquestionnaire served as the initial step, both in seeking dataand in identifying potential candidates for observation.Second, as a virtual non—participant who only veryoccasionally asked questions or made comments, I observedtwelve teachers and their students in the classroom forapproximately thirty—one hours. Finally, I interviewed eleventeachers, three of whom I did not observe teaching. Of thetwelve I observed and the eleven I interviewed, three of theteachers (Karen Jones, Dorothea Lewis and Felicia White),each from separate districts, were studied in theirclassrooms for a minimum of four hours each and interviewedin—depth. Teachers involved in the study were givenpseudonyms as districts requested that teachers’ names be39excluded. To compensate for the failure of the questionnaireto generate sufficient data, an additional perspective wasadded by interviewing two university English Educationmethods instructors —— Dr. Carl Leggo of the University ofBritish Columbia and Dr. Mary Kooy or Simon EraserUniversity. (See Tables 1 and 2 in Appendix 1)Questionnaires! University InterviewsClassroom ObservationsTeacher & Student InterviewsSampling Procedures and Data CollectionQuestionnaires (Appendix 2) with attached teacherpermission slips were initially distributed to about twenty—five elementary and secondary schools in the first districtthat allowed me access. Only one teacher responded byallowing me to observe him teaching——on two occasions-—andonly he and two other teachers in this district permitted meto interview them.Fortunately, a coordinator from another districtfacilitated direct access to his district English departmentheads and subsequently I was able to observe four teachers attwo secondary schools. At one of these schools I was alsoable to interview the three teachers I observed. In yetanother district I observed three literature teachers in twosecondary schools, interviewing one of them..Purposeful sampling (Research in Education, 182) occurred40in the third phase of the study. Three experienced teachers,by their own acknowledgement reader-response to literatureadvocates and practitioners, were selected for the four hourminimum observations and in—depth interviews. These wereconducted over a period or three to five weeks in each case.Two of the three were fellow graduate students; I approachedthem directly and sought their participation. The third wasthe only volunteer from a central Vancouver district. One ofthese teachers teaches grades ten to twelve in an outer urbandistrict high school; another is a grade seven teacher in aninner city designated suburban elementary school; the centraldistrict teacher teaches grades nine to twelve at her schoolwhich is located in an affluent area.In all I observed classes at every grade level from six totwelve. Questionnaires were distributed to every school Ivisited——thirty—five in total——including four schools in theonly district whose teachers did not participate in the study.Data collection consisted of the questionnaires1 my takingof field notes during classroom observations of teachers andstudents, teacher interviews, talking to students, and theviewing and examining of student work. Therefore myobservations were supported by teacher and studentreflections about their engagement with process.Limitations of the StudyThe failure of the first component of the research——thequestionnaire——to generate more data was disappointing andsomewhat reduced the effectiveness of the triangulation ofthe design. This was unfortunate because the questionnaire41and interviews were designed to offset the shortcomings ofpersonal observation. Nevertheless, three separateperspectives were maintained. It is recognized that theshortness of the study, the small sample and the purposefullychosen element of the sample raised questions about externalvalidity and the potential for researcher bias. However,quantifiable results are beyond the scope of this research.There has been no attempt to prove how widespread reader—response teaching methodologies are in the Greater Vancouverarea. Rather, a stated aim of the research articulated inChapter One of this thesis was to tap a “reservoir ofcollective wisdom and skill” through a ref lective—interpretative study. Thus, the results of the study, whilenot being generalizable to all teachers and schools, do reflectsolid data from at least ten diverse sites——more if one wereto include the questionnaires. Furthermore, the admittedlimitations have been balanced by the advantage of inductiveanalysis——the revealing of unanticipated outcomes——and thestrength of analytical description from a unique viewpointthat a reflective qualitative study permits.Data AnalysisAn “eclectic approach” to outcomes was adopted and Imaintained my “options” until the weight of evidencedetermined particular directions (Schatzman and Strauss,1973 and Wax, 1971 in Kantor et al, 295) “sorting andchoosing” in a search for new perspectives while avoidingpremature closure (Hickman, 345). Nevertheless, I expectedthat patterns would emerge.The data were analysed by focusing on the relationship42between theory, research and practice. For this purposeTable 3: The Data Analysis Instrument (see Appendix 1) wasdevised, based on the seven research questions, from anextrapolation of characteristics of reader—response theoryand research. The aspects or constructs, selected from theliterature review, were identified with criteria and/orexamples as a way of coding the data from the interviews,classroom observations and questionnaires into manageablechunks. By working through all the data gathered and codingit with aspect/construct abbreviations according to thecriteria and examples associated with each aspect, anorganizational pattern for the reporting and analysis ofresearch findings in Chapter 4 was created. Thus theinstrument, by allowing discrimination and codification ofthe data and an organizational principle for preservation ofthe data, permitted a workable framework and allowed a moreinteresting interweaving of the data rather than what wouldhave been provided by a straight teacher by teacher report.Unavoidably there were some overlaps —— data fitting undermore than one rubric —— but nevertheless there were fewproblems. This structure dealt specifically with majorresearch question one and the sub—questions in order. Majorresearch question two became sub—section seven of Chapter 4as it involved some analysis of each of the other headings.(See Table 4 in Appendix 1) It should be noted that afundamental feature of reader—response to literature theoryis reader engagement and/or re—engagement with text,although this is not specified in the data analysis instrumentbecause it applies to all the constructs.The critical element of this study involved analysis,interpretation and thoughtful reflection on the praxis or43theory in practice that occurred by “poking at the usual” toseek an understanding through an “attentiveness: listeningwithout resistance” to the data and the experience (Lim—Alparaque, 89, 94).ReflectionSurvey ——>Observations/Interviews -—>Teachers ——>Analysis\ InterpretationStudentsChapter four was designed to incorporate the coded datawithin the framework of the seven questions posed at the endof Chapter two. An additional section reporting andreflecting upon the research process itself was added to thischapter for the benefit of future researchers.The Research ProcessThe research process was initially frustrating.Bureaucratic hurdles, aggravated by seemingly unnecessaryduplication of requests, were a source of irritation.Teachers were, in some cases, hostile and, for the most part,uninterested or “too busy” to be bothered with being involvedin the study. Only seven questionnaires were returned out ofone hundred and eighty distributed. Teachers apparently feltthat another survey was an “imposition”. Also it appears thatteachers feel they will not benefit from classroom research.Are teachers, as one interviewee remarked, being44“unprofessional” in not opening up to researchers?Nevertheless, if the picture painted appears dismai one cantake heart from the co—operation and encouragement that Iultimateiy received from teachers, district research coordinators and researchers. They were invariably mosthelpful.45CHAPTER 4:FINDINGS AND ANALYSISTeaching/Learning Strategies for Reader—Response toLiteratureMy research revealed that a number of different reader—response to literature teaching/learning strategies are beingused in Vancouver area schools. Some teachers are trying toencourage response to literature through a variety of methodsinvolving students with oral; representational and writtenformats. In most cases these methods reflect the theory andresearch findings evident in the literature. Creativeresponse, role play, drama, questions —— both teacher andstudent directed —— response journals and logs, incrementalstrategies and even testing are avenues for response. Someof the strategies are innovative while others reflect reader—response teaching techniques that have been in existence andin practice over a longer period. Nevertheless, not all theteachers I observed are utilizing strategies that fall underthe rubric of reader—response to literature and this will alsobe addressed in this chapter.Two of the teachers I studied chose creative response as away of assisting students to engage with the given text ——Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and George OrwelltsAnimal Farm respectively. In each case the creative responsedid not involve a direct response to the primary text butrather served as a means of developing a conceptualunderstanding of form, literary technique and authorial role46to enhance a later response to the text.As a way of helping her students to understand and respondto The Canterbury Tales, Anne Manners, a District B teacher,asked her advanced placement class, after a preparatorydiscussion about Chaucer’s use of satire, irony and poeticelements, to write their own twenty—line version of a tale.Thus in class and for homework the students and the teacherherself wrote in the style of Chaucer about theircontemporary experiences. When the class met again,students were asked what they had learned about the textualstyle from the experience. After being given time to respond;some individuals spoke about the difficulty of forming theiambic pentameter and heroic couplets. Another studentsuggested that she found it easier to compose in heroiccouplets than to write the content before trying to fit it tothe form. Others felt that satire and irony were harderconcepts to master. This involved grappling with difficultliterary concepts and better prepared the students forengagement with the text itself. Students’ understanding ofChaucer’s use of satire and literary techniques such as wordinversion -- for example, the large circle round and on thetable laid rather than the large round circle and laid on thetable —— and his frequent use of one—syllable words wasassimilated through an engagement with process rather thanloosely derived from exposure to teacher exposition of theconcepts.Similarly, Joan Richards from District F employedcreativity as a stimulus to her Grade 10’s understanding ofsatire in Animal Farm. After a teacher—fronted discussion ofthe concept and its purpose in which students suggested andagreed that desire for change might motivate the satirist,47Joan introduced Jonathan Swift through a brief biographicalaccount referring to his term in office as a member or Britishparliament during a great 17th century Irish famine. (I couldlocate no evidence to support the assertion that Swift was anM.P.) He was Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin when ‘A ModestProposal’ was published in 1729. She then read aloud “AModest Proposal”, the famous satirical “speech” written bySwift. Students were invited to “write all over” their copy ofthe “speech” highlighting quotes or responding to it. Swift’srererence to a beggar had me reflecting on an article in thatmorning’s paper about beggars on Robson Street, but I wasunable to determine whether any students had made the sameor similar connections. However, the notion of a healthy babychild as “wholesome food” introduced just before thelunchtime break soon had students emotionally involved andreacting at that level. The idea that a baby’s skin could beused as gloves horrified them and elicited animated response.There is little doubt in my mind that when students read thetwenty pages of Animal Farm assigned for homework thatnight, they would have considered how the novel wassatirical.The creative element which was to be introduced over thenext rew lessons involved students in writing their ownsatires in response to “A Modest Proposal”. Joan told me thatstudents were advised that the satire could be presented inany written form and copies of examples from previous yearswere cited and handed around the class to encourageinnovation. The creative products will be discussed at alater stage in this paper.In both of the cases that I have described, the response to48the curriculum novel is indirect. However, engagement withThe Canterbury Tales and Animal Farm from the basis or aconceptual understanding or form and literary techniqueachieved in this way must inevitably better prepare studentsfor responding to the literature than they would be withoutit. This contention is supported by researchers Dias andHayhoe, who have suggested that students work in pairs orgroups to compose an “echo” poem (98). The strategies ofMrs. Manners and Miss Richards reflect similar, albeitindividual, challenges. Moreover, this approach is a valuablemetacognitive strategy that provides students with anappreciation of how a literary artist leads his/her audience.Through the questionnaires and interviews I learned thatother teachers have adopted an even more direct approach tocreative response. For example, a District B teacherindicated that he has students respond to short stories byhaving them write a poem, and the District D teacher that Iobserved had students respond to a character in a novel bywriting a bio—poem —— drawing on his/her attributedpersonality and actions. This serves as an initial response tocharacter which is later developed into a more rormal essayresponse. The Grade 7 teacher from District A, with whom Ispent over five hours, told me that she had pupils composehaiku and lantern/shape poems to respond to characters,story events and themes of the Japanese novels they werereading. Alternate endings as a creative response were alsoin evidence, although unfortunately, with one possibleexception to which I shall refer in the next paragraph, I didnot see examples of teachers seeking imaginative response totextual gaps which, as the literature would suggest, may be amore valuable technique.49A real advantage of creative response is the genuinestudent engagement that it generates. This was no moreevident than with an open—ended assignment given to Grade 11students by District C teacher Dorothea Lewis. They wereasked to respond to William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies byimaginatively using materials or ideas of their own choice.No parameters were established because Dorothea Lewis)having resented as a child being always told what to do andhow to present work when she had other ideas, stronglybelieves there is no closure in literature. Rather, she arguesthat literature cannot be necessarily dealt with in aconcrete—sequential manner because there is no bottom line.Dorothea feels that it is essential to equip young people todeal with ambiguity.These assertions are definitely borne out in the literature.Kenneth Donelson has stressed that students must be “freefrom trying to interpret what the teacher wants despitethe “...ambiguity of uncertainty” (13). Patricia Hansbury haswritten about the importance of students becoming“participants in the process of interpretation of textualambiguity”, although within the context of student generatedquestions (ill). Another advantage of this type ofassignment is that it allows what Alan Purves et al havedescribed as “metaphorical” response through visualrepresentation (85).Although I did not see any examples of role play invoked asa teaching strategy during my observations, through theinterviews and questionnaires I was able to glean sufficientinformation from teachers to confirm that it is considered tobe a valuable technique. In several of the returned50questionnaires teachers indicated that they used role play todevelop response to literature, but unfortunately did notelaborate. Others gave some sketchy details, but only fromthe interviews was I able to gain a clear idea of how roleplay is used to extend response to literature.An interesting role play strategy for exploring andresponding to conflict in a novel was articulated by KarenJones, the Grade 7 teacher whom observed for over fivehours in District A. During an interview she explained howshe had adapted a conflict resolution technique for behavioralproblems from a teaching workshop. The example given wasof a conflict between Japanese—Canadians interned during theSecond World War and whites who wanted them interned inthe novel The Eternal Snrina of Mr. Ito by Sheila Garrigue.Students were invited to take parts either as Japanese orwhites; they would then return to the text to identify andstate the problem, express the two positions and negotiate aplan of action. The role play scenario involved members ofeach team reacting to the invented dialogue with the help ofeach other so that individuals were not put on the spot. Thisstrategy is effective because it forces students to simulatehow the characters must have felt, in a sense stepping intotheir shoes. As such it demands a personal involvement andresponse. They could not do this adequately without re—engaging with the text.To develop sensitivity towards the characters of PaulZindels novel The Pigman, Ellen Parker had her District 13,Grade 9 students role play, as an introductory exercise, aninteraction between young and old people. However, thestrategy she used at the end of the novel unit was a betterexample of how role play might help students to respond to51and examine literature. The question “Are Lorraine and Johnguilty of manslaughter in the death of Mr. Pignati’?” waspresented to the class. After a discussion students weresplit according to whether they believed Lorraine and Johnwere guilty or not. They were then asked to prepare theirrespective cases for a mock trial. To do this they needed togo back to the text to find witnesses and evidence in supportof their position. The case was prosecuted and defended overa two—day period with a school administrator as the trialjudge. All participants dressed for the occasion and theformality of the trial was maintained throughout. Anadvantage of this type of strategy is that it can be adapted toliterature where an ambiguous moral or ethical issue is afocus. It involves interpreting textual details and theinterplay of opinions about characters’ motives or intentions.In a sense it addresses and ties in with Cynthia Ellwood’sfinding that teenagers respond with greater interest to“searching moral questions and timeless existentialdilemmas” than to daily teenage concerns (3651A). It isimportant that they do have opportunities to do so. As Probsthas suggested) literature can help students make sense oftheir own lives (1990, 28-29).The line between what constitutes role play as opposed todrama is sometimes somewhat blurred. Ian Black, a DistrictA teacher described a role drama he has used involvingresponse to loss, guilt and mourning in the poem “Lemonade”by Raymond Carver. A key question “What profound feelingarises from the accidental passing of the young, how domemories and images contain these emotions, and are thereany measures we can take to ease the sense of loss?” served52to focus the drama. A series of lessons followed, each with aspecific dramatic focus directly related to the poem. Forexample, one lesson involved exploring the actions and thereactions experienced by the characters in the poem as theymade the decisions leading up to a tragedy. A second lessonexamined loss through each class member taking on the roleof a family member, a close friend, or a townsperson.Subsequently, as Ian explained, students had an opportunityto take on the role of a documentary film crew gatheringinformation about the boys death and the effect of hispassing on the family and community. They then present their“film” to the class, taking on whatever roles were needed.Alternatively, they could dramatize the poem, selectingwhatever bits of the text they desired, utilizing an array oftechniques: readers theatre, tableaux, mime, narration,choral reading and improvisation to present theirinterpretation.The strategy, designed by Ian, would likely workparticularly well with Grade 11 or 12 students and possiblywith Grade lOs. It encapsulates the notion of incrementalphases where feelings and emotional involvement areextended to literary judgement and analysis as Bleich andSquires have suggested. Groups responding to the poem in thelast phase must proceed as an interpretive community fullyre—engaged with the poem to produce their “plays”. Thismethodology reflects the techniques of Dorothy Heathcote,Patrick Verriour, Gavin Bolton and others referred to in theliterature review, enabling an experiential point of view.However, role play is not necessarily restricted to an oralcontext. In response to two quotes, one by Neitzche —— “Thatwhich does not kill us, makes us stronger” —— and another by53Herrick, as part of an introduction to existentialism in AlbertCamus’ The Outsider, a Grade 12 class of District E studentswere given the opportunity to write in role. One student, forexample, responded by sending a telegram to Neitzche signedAdolph Hitler, admitting that he chose to express what hefelt about the quote through how he perceived Hitler’sthought. With some imaginative adaptations this strategymight well provoke some fascinating responses.Another approach that requires students to write in rolewas implemented by John Masters, who teaches cooperatively with Miss Lewis in the only District C school Ivisited. He asks students to imagine they are a film directorpreparing to make a new movie of a text they have just read.To prepare they viewed the old black and white version of thefilm The Lord of the Flies and responded to differencesbetween the film and the text, indicating strengths,weaknesses, changes they would make and explaining aspectsthey would emphasize. The beauty of this particular strategyis that students can react to powerful moments as they viewthe film, and later re—engage with and reflect upon the textof the novel itself. It therefore encourages extendedresponse.Invariably, according to Dorothea Lewis, students will“slam” a movie and the selection of characters when they aregiven the role of critic because they become irritated bymajor deletions in the film and the fact that the charactersare not as they envisaged when they read the book. Thisnotion of students as critics in role also works well.Sometimes, according to Joan Richards in an interview, shehas her Grade lOs become “Siskel and Ebert” to critique the54short stories they read.Dramatic representation in the more traditional sense isalso being utilized. During our interview John Mastersdescribed how he gives students four periods to select,interpret and act out scenes from the Lord of the Flies.Students are expected to memorize their parts and use thenecessary props to enhance their performance. As I havepointed out in the literature review, readers’ theatre is anexcellent way of tentatively exploring and interpretingcharacter, relationships, ambiguity and authorial intent.This assessment also holds true for what otherrespondents indicated in the questionnaires or duringinterviews. Dorothea Lewis, for example, has studentsinterpret text by altering the historical context inShakespear&s plays. Not surprisingly, by Grade 12, accordingto Dorothea in the interview, students are pleading to studymore of Shakespeare because this type of strategy allowsthem to respond to the timelessness of fine literature. Anumber of other teachers confirmed that dramaticinterpretation through role play and readers’ theatre is asignificant approach to encouraging student response to proseor poetry. At the elementary level, Karen Jones has pupilsrespond to fairy tales and folk tales through charades andvignettes rather than through more elaborate drama.Almost all of the teachers I observed have asked theirstudents to respond to literature in response journals orlogs, although I found no evidence of double or multiple entryformats (Nugent and Nugent, Probst 1 990, 1 0,11). DorotheaLewis provided focus questions for each chapter of HarperLee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, but she stressed that studentswere free to write about other parts of the novel as they55were reading it. Other teachers such as Tom Hanks and EllenParker gave students handouts stressing that they should takerisks and be honest, with specific instructions not tosummarize. However, Karen Jones suggested to me that theuse of response journals and logs is sometimes overdone, andshe, like another District B interviewee, prefers students toselect and justify their selection of one or two significant orinsightful quotes, rather than necessarily always responding.This is similar to a Bleich strategy which involves choosingthe most important word in a short story or poem andexplaining why it was chosen. This certainly offers studentsanother way into the literature, and it is crucial that theyhave a range of options for responding rather than a singleformat; otherwise response journals could be perceived bystudents as similar to book reports —— onerous andunpleasant.Visual response strategies were also revealed during mystudy. In District E schools I saw displays of filmadvertising posters as a response to novels and short stories.This type of assignment has the advantage of allowingstudents to use what Purves and C.5. Peirce term as a sign’system to overcome the problem that Travers has articulatedof the possible incompleteness of written responses (Diasand Hayhoe, 46). John Masters explained in the interview thathe provided large blank cardboard sheets for a responseactivity that will be addressed within the context of groupwork, and Dorothea Lewis open—ended assignment alsooffered an opportunity for visual response. This strategywill be elaborated upon in the discussion of the products ofresponse later in the chapter.The use of the sociograms to explore relationships is a56visual teaching/learning strategy developed by Felicia Whiteof District D, independently of Georgiou, Johnson and others(Johnson and Louis, 94—100). She has written an articleentitled “Literary Sociograms” in which she explains that thesociogram provides a useful way for students to visualizeliterature and express relationships (Buchanan et al, 22—25).Three types of arrows serve to demonstrate relationships,events and background:——> represents an influence from one party to another;<——> represents an influence that affects both parties;and the boomerang arrowI——>shows that a party recognizes and reacts to theactions or thoughts of another although he or she does nottake an active part in that action.Felicia introduced the sociogram as an element of anincremental strategy that she devised as part of developingresponse to character. As part of a wide reading option, herGrade 11 students selected a novel of their choice from twolists of about twenty books. The first was a list of classicsincluding Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Jude theObscure, Lord Jim, For Whom the Bell Tolls and many others;the second offered a broad range of Canadian novels. Afterreading the novel, students were asked to write a onesentence book report and respond to character incrementallythrough an acrostic, a journal, a blo—poem and the sociogram.Having already developed a keen preliminary response to thecharacter in this manner, students were ready for the nextstep which asked them to compose three questions about thecharacter. After raising this scaffolding, aware that they57must elaborate by answering one or their own questions in afour hundred word character exploration draft essay, studentsbegan the process or drafting and revising. Within thiscontext students experience autonomy and accountability. Anexample of an intelligent question generated by a student inresponse to reading Hardy’s Tess or the d’Urbervilles was therollowing: “Was Angel’s reaction to Tess’s conression fair orharsh? Explain why you think this.” To answer it wouldrequire a significant re—engagement with the text.A measure or the success of the strategy was that,according to Eelicia, within a short time or completing theexercise students were asking if they could do it again withanother novel. The strategy is impressive because it allowsstudents to experience the pleasure or reading and emotionalinvolvement before they move successively towards ananalytical position.At the second District B school that I visited I wassurprised to see a teaching strategy involving testing forresponse in two classes, one an advanced placement group andthe other a Grade 8 class. In view or the public examinationsthat the advanced placement students race, it is the sort ofpractice they need. Within a rorty—minute period they wereasked to read Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills likeWhite Elephants” and write a sight response and analysis ofoppositions: contrasts and patterns in the characters,setting and colours; style: diction, textual gaps and how theyrelate to the content; and the signiricance and possiblesymbolic meaning or the title. ir public examinations are areality teachers have little choice in how they direct studentinterpretation. The Grade 8 students were given promptssuch as “I felt the most dirricult problems ... had to race58were and “As a person, Becky changes as the novelunfolds...” to stimulate their final responses to the novelPromises to Come by Jim Heneghan. It is unfortunate thatreader—response needs to be examined. In my view it reflectsone of the gaps that exists between theory/research andpractice/reality. How can a teacher assess personalresponse? Perhaps I am being a little more cynical thanneed to be, but I have not seen any evidence in the literatureof theorists/researchers advocating response examinations.It certainly raises questions about the role of tests within aresponse environment.However, I should add that this particular teacher uses arich array of reader—response teaching strategies and is ahighly committed advocate of the concept of reader-responseto literature. In his reply to my survey, the most detailed Ireceived, Mike Higgins demonstrated that he is keenlyinvolved in helping students understand their metacognitiveprocesses about reading and responding. Also he utilizesquotation response journals, creative response and responsestimuli questions to encourage student response toliterature.Not all teachers I observed used strategies that fit intothe reader—response rubric. This is not to say they are noteffective teaching strategies. I found myself quiteimpressed with a teacher—fronted lesson I saw in District Etaught by Tim Bolt. Most students were actively involved inanswering and asking questions about Stephen Leacock’s shortstory ‘Number 56’. However, because the interplay wasteacher—generated and maintained rather than student-driven,it cannot be included as a reader—response to literature59teaching strategy.Wide Reading Autonomy and ResDonseWide reading is prompted to some extent throughuninterrupted sustained silent reading (USSR) programs,although not round at all participating schools; also, thereare different approaches to implementing it. For example,the first District B school I visited allows students to readnovels of their choice during a one hour session once a week.Their books remain in the classroom until they are finishedand replaced. They do not respond formally to these novels inany way. Felicia White has all her students reading novels oftheir choice for the first twenty minutes of each hour—longperiod. An impromptu survey revealed that Grade 11 studentswere reading classic novels by Jack London, and WilliamGolding, popular novels by writers like Tom Clancy andStephen King, and works by writers for adolescents such asSusan Cooper, Sue Townsend and Robert Peck; other worksincluded an autobiography of Babe Ruth, and a Farley Mowatoffering, The Black Joke. A significant element is thatstudents are enjoying reading books that they, rather thanteachers, have chosen. The unfortunate aspect is that thereis apparently no avenue for sharing responses. Nevertheless,as Aiden Chambers has argued, it is a step towards thedevelopment of discrimination and taste (Fox and Benton, 93).Some teachers do encourage at least some sort of responseto wide reading. For Keo Adams, whose Grade 6/7 studentsaddress him by his first name, the best way to avoid thetedium of book reports is to have students share theirprogress and opinions about self—selected novels at randomly60selected times. They are encouraged to raise issues from thetext that intrigue them. This approach does have theadvantage of possibly turning on other students to newreading options. Dorothea Lewis told me she encourages herstudents to borrow books from her personal collection. Asshe also hates book reports, she prefers students to discusswhat they are reading with her privately, although she admitsthat it has its limitations with 204 students. Severalteachers reported that students are asked to write journalsor logs in response to what they are reading. These methodsoffer at least some venue for personal reflection andexpression.Only two of the teachers I observed took a systematicapproach to response to wide reading. As mentioned earlier,Felicia White offered her students the choice of selecting awide range of classic or Canadian novels and encouragedresponse to character through a succession of responseactivities. On the other hand, Karen Jones allowed her Grade7 students less choice —— they had to choose one of fournovels about the Japanese —— but covered an even greaterrange of response activities as part of an integrated unit onJapan. Students responded through sequencing charts,character sketches, diaries from the perspective of self—selected characters, alternate endings, response logs,relationship webs, haiku and story grids. Ms Jones alsoprovides an extensive choice of adolescent and young adultfiction in a classroom library of about one hundred and fiftybooks which is rotated periodically with three other teacherswho have similar carefully selected collections. Clearly abalance can be achieved by teachers, so that they provide a61directed autonomy towards “open” literature like the optionsprovided by Ms White and Ms Jones and yet, importantly, allowopportunities for response.Group WorkMy general impression, based on the questionnaires, theinterviews and my observations, is that group work is asignificant and widely used teaching/learning strategy withina reader—response to literature context. Virtually all theteachers observed used group work, or referred, in theinterview or questionnaire, to group work in the teachingstrategies they outlined, with the single exception of JimBolt, who as I mentioned did not fit into the reader—responseparadigm. A number of the groups I watched or learned aboutdid indeed act as interpretive communities and engaged inbuilding response through speculation, disputation andnegotiation.Groups were constituted in and operated in various ways.Keo allowed his Grade 6/7 students to choose their own cooperative group in which they remained for all classactivities; there was an emphasis on teamwork within thegroups and the group designated a recorder and a reporter.Students asked questions of each other and challenged eachothers views as they responded to the significance of Rudiclimbing the Citadel from the perspective of four differentcharacters in Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. Aswith any group work I observed, not all the participantscontributed equally.This problem was addressed by Felicia White through astudent self—evaluation technique. At the end of each major62group project her students divided a “participation pie” toevaluate the effectiveness of individuals in the group. Asmarks were given for participation, it put some pressure onreluctant group members to contribute. After watching thefilm “The Sweater”, student groups responded to an integratedteaching plan that listed activities and questions under arange of subject headings such as language arts, geography,ecology, and even morals and values for guidance of familystudies. They did this by creating a poster in response to oneof the listed activities. Groups were then asked to decideinternally about the selection of one of five short storiesthey had read so that they could respond together by creatinga poster of a teacher lesson plan based on the original lessonplan. Thus, members, encouraged by the prospect of the group“participation pie” worked co—operatively in interpreting textwithin the subject contexts. There tended to be a loss offocus with some questions and activities developed by thegroup as they drew away from the text, yet other questionsfocused more closely on the text itself. To my mind this isan excellent example of group work being successful infostering emotional engagement with the literature, and avisualizing, empathizing and questioning of the text; but,unfortunately, this success does not necessarily translatewell into literary analysis and judgement.Perhaps I can illustrate this assertion by identifying someof the questions raised in a Grade 11 group in response to“The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Alan Poe. Emotionalinvolvement was achieved through group member comparisonof the murderer in the story to Clifford Olson. However, thedigression drew the group away from the story. Nevertheless,63under the heading “media literacy”, the following visualizingquestions were raised and drew them back again: “How do youpicture the setting of the story? Draw a diagram of how themurderer’s mind worked as his ideas and mind expanded. Howdo you imagine these characters looked?” The question underthe rubric of morals and values might address my concern:“Why wasn’t it right to kill the man with the eye?”, but asstudents are given an opportunity to choose to answer anyquestion for their solo assignment from any of the groupposters created, chances are that they may choose a questionthat does not require literary analysis. Perhaps the problemcould be overcome by the teacher insisting that studentsrespond to a question that engages them intellectually with atext. A selection of these questions could be collectivelyrefined.An interesting structured group strategy was outlined in aninterview with John Masters. Teacher—selected groups wereasked to prepare a twenty minute audio—visual representationin response to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Thegroups were to respond to one of four aspects: stylisticelements; social milieu; the novel in terms of stereotype,sentimentality and character; and attitudes towards childrencompared with today. Subsequently, the group was expectedto write an essay based on its report. The groups nominated aco—ordinator. Individuals had to make a sincere contributionand those who did not could be penalized. The results of theexercise, some of which I viewed, demonstrated the value ofthe interpretive community working co—operatively in a riskyundertaking. For example, the social milieu was representedon a poster with a photographic collage; the group exploringsentimentality and stereotype developed skits and referred to64other novels to illustrate their view; and a group respondingto characterization produced a large poster with boxesdemonstrating the dynamics of Pip’s upward mobility incontrast to Estella’s decline. John explained that this groupstrategy also worked brilliantly with Conrad’s Heart ofDarkness with groups examining psychological; sociological;thematic or stylistic elements, or point of view. This is aparticularly impressive group activity, because itencompasses virtually all of the aspects referred to undergroup work in the data analysis instrument.The Products of ResponseThroughout this paper I have referred to teachingstrategies and; as I mentioned at the end of Chapter 3, thereare inevitable overlaps, particularly between strategies,group work and products. For that reason I will not spendmuch time talking about role play, drama or other aspects oforal response because they have been dealt with previously,and unfortunately I did not personally see any drama or roleplay. However, I did find some excellent examples of visualand written response.Nevertheless, I should at least mention four responses ofDorothea Lewis’ students, revealed in the interview, to thechallenge of changing the context of Romeo and Juliet. Onegroup turned the Mercutio/Tybalt duel into a Western shoot—out. A second group produced a tape of five scenes all set indifferent time periods. Another group produced a puppet showwith the puppets speaking in iambic pentameter. The balconyscene set in Metrotown in the 1990s also had some impact by65eliminating 500 years. Given an open opportunity, studentscan come up with some fascinating and original ways ofpresenting their responses to literature.This contention was quite apparent to me when I viewedthe responses to Dorothea’s open—ended assignment for TheLord of the Flies. Students had three weeks of their time,while the novel was being studied, to compose and finishtheir representations. Most included a written explanation aswell. One girl responded by re—writing Chapter 1 as if girlswere stranded instead of boys. She argued convincingly that,although she believed that there is a “...basic, underlying evilinstinct in all humans...that can come out and dominate us,”“the regression toward complete savagery which took place onthe island would not have been manifested as quickly as it didif it were girls who were stranded instead of boys”. Aninsightful response. Another crafted a wonderful mask tosignify a foreshadowing of what happens to the boys as theybecome less civilized. A poem beneath a watercolour paintingserved to express another girl’s perception of an island held“...together with the gossamer threads of sanity”. Anothercreated a large poster with items of symbolic consequence;for example, Piggy’s glasses symbolized his “... ability to seethe truth” and the “pig’s head serves as a symbol of the Devilwhich the boys dance around like flies...hence the pig’s headbecomes lord over the flies”. An oil painting, showing Simonin the foliage amongst candle butts, representing a religiousexperience also appealed to me. These are impressiveresponses which really support the theoretical perspective ofthe benefits of “metaphorical” response (Purvis et al, 85).Yet these students are also incredibly articulate.Other teachers are having success with symbolic66representation. Ian Black asked his Grade 10 students to usethe seven commandments in Animal Farm to show the betrayalof the revolution. One response represented a large book withpaper keys as concepts such as equality, justice, sharedwork, freedom and one key called reality —— only this wouldopen the book in which were scattered the realities of thebetrayal. Another showed a tree with detachable leaveswhich fell to the bottom of the tree to show the degradation.A windmill with two sets of separately rotating blades, oneset symbolizing the equality and the other the decay, wasanother example. These representations were beautifullydone, but the sameness of all students responding to a singleconcept makes the results seem very flat in comparison tothe diversity of the responses that Dorothea Lewis achievedthrough her open—ended approach.There were few instances where I observed that studentshad an opportunity to respond as they read or listened toliterature, although Joan Richards did suggest to her studentsthat they react to “A Modest Proposal” as I indicated earlier.Perhaps, the best example of this practice —— a fundamentalelement of reader—response to literature according toRosenblatt, Iser and Fish —— was demonstrated in Tom Hanks’English 9 class. Students were expected to respond in areading log to John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night as theyread silently. The following is an extract from a responselog entry:I predict that Mantoli is the dead one. Sam is notsure if it is Mantoli, but I bet it is him... I foundthe scene where Sam is holding the dead dogdisgusting. The picture was very clear in my mind67of a dead dog with beseeching eyes no longer alive.A question I have is if Sam is racist? I wonderif the entire town of Wells is prejudiced? I wonderabout this because of the conversation Sam andRalph had about the game and how the six blackchamps are all in the top division and Ralph can’tsee how they can fight that good’.One can see from this child’s response the value of immediatereader—response. She is actively predicting, visualizing,speculating and questioning in a genuine co—creation of text.I really enjoyed reading some satires written in responseto “A Modest Proposal” as preparation for Animal Farm. Onewas entitled “The National Debt” and referred to “Cryin’Macaroni, the Slime Minister and the House of Morons”.Rather apt! Another was about the Kingdom of Kanada—eh, andone was entitled “The Lakewood Country Club CompetencyTest” by W.H. Biggot and Ray C. Ism. A horoscope served as asatirical vehicle for one girl and “The Princess and the Frog”written in 1989 is a lovely fairy tale:Once upon a time there lived a little girl named CanadaOne day she was playing near Meech Lake with her newtoy. It was a golden constitution...A young frog happenedto come hopping by.. .and asked her what was wrong...The frog was sympathetic and promised to dive intothe lake and rescue the constitution, on one conditionthat she amend the constitution to acknowledge thatfrogs are a distinct part of society...Obviously, I cannot include the whole story but it is awonderful response and an excellent demonstration ofconceptual understanding. The fairy tale reminds me of NinaMikkelson’s notion of “a thematic scaffolding” (183).68Metacogni ti onThere was not a great deal or evidence or the teaching ormetacognition as a strategy for encouraging adolescents torespond to literature, other than in the traditional sense ofdiscussing and integrating into their study or literaturestructural elements of text construction such as plot, theme,and other literary devices. However, three teachersdemonstrated that they initiate specific techniques for thepromotion of student metacognition. Nevertheless; I shouldadd that creative response that models a specific literarystructure involves metacognition.Through the questionnaire Mike Higgins indicated that hebases his approach on the work of reader—response theoristRobert Scholes. In two books; Semiotics and InterDretation(1 982) and Textual Power: Literary Power and the Teaching ofEnglish (1985) Scholes articulates a position, reflected inthe literature review, that teachers have to provide studentswith the tools for textual decoding so that they can producetheir own “readings”. To this end Mike uses the textbook TheLexington Introduction to Literature (1987) —- which hassome excellent articles in it, for example; How Readers makeMeaning” by Robert Crossman —— with his advanced placementstudents to help them learn to respond as they read and todevelop their own set of strategies for response toliterature. It would be a valuable guide for teachers to haveif they are to reflect upon and develop their own sense of howto apply what they know —— consciously or subconsciously —-about reading processes from personal experience to theirteaching.An alternate approach was proposed by Tom Hanks. He and69his Grade 8 class discussed Blooms taxonomy or questionswith a view to raising students awareness or the differencesin the levels of questions. They were advised that when theyapplied their new knowledge to the short story “The Mysteryor M. Pliny” that they would be awarded marks on a scale orone to five, one ror simple content questions and rive rorcomplex, creative thinking questions. Thus, by adapting CarlLeggos (1991) notion of the responsive reader as a problem—maker and adding a metacognitive dimension, Tom hasprovided his students with a skill for stretching their inquiryinto the text. The next day, after students had prepared fivequestions in response to the short story, they were able towork in pairs to refine them. Rather than choosing questionsbut not necessarily answering them as Carl Leggo suggests,or narrowing and reformulating them with student assistanceas Patricia Hansbury has proposed, Hanks, himself, selectsfrom student—generated questions those most likely toencourage further discussion and response. The ideacertainly has merit, but I believe it would work better withthe teacher and students collectively choosing questions asHansbury has suggested (109—1 1).Creative response also has a metacognitive dimension.When students compose a piece of literature based on aparticular genre or literary figure —— as, for example, AnneManners students did when they wrote a tale based onChaucers —— they need to focus particular attention tospecific stylistic elements which, in turn, provide them witha working understanding of how the poet achieves his ends.Dorothea Lewis told me that she shares her understandingof her own reading processes with her students. She also70gives her advanced placement class a handout that suggestssome steps to take in reading a poem. She agrees that it isvaluable for younger students to be given such a succinctmethod for entering a poem. Indeed, it is the sort ofmetacognitive approach that might counter the tendency ofmany adolescent students to be “bottom up” readers (Dias andHayhoe, 26). How can teachers expect sensitive responses ifstudents do not understand what to do or how to respond?Theory and Research in PracticeAs I mentioned near the beginning of Chapter 4, I foundconsiderable evidence to support the contention that theteachers I observed and interviewed—— either directly orthrough the questionnaire —— are using many approaches thatreflect theoretical and research perspectives revealed in thereview of the related literature. However, for the most part,I was unable to gain much insight into the specific origin ofteaching strategies and ideas. Few teachers were able toindicate specific theorists or researchers who had influencedtheir teaching —— with the exception of Mike Higgins whoindicated he has been inspired by Robert Scholes..Rather, the teachers I observed and interviewed, accordingto their responses, are eclectic in their approach to gatheringideas. For example, District B teachers Anne Manners andTom Hanks indicated to me in our interviews that studentteachers are one valuable avenue of renewal, as areprofessional in—service sessions. Informal and formalsubject area meetings are other sources. Both DorotheaLewis and Karen Jones cited their university studies,conferences, in—service sessions and informal discussions71with other teachers as providing ideas for the teachingstrategies they practise. None of the teachers suggested thatthey were influenced by a single perspective. Rather, theytend to draw from various sources including professionalpublications for their teaching strategies. Nevertheless, asindicated, Mike Higgins is most enthusiastic about the valuethat teachers can draw from the work of semiotician RobertScholes whose theoretical approach will be elaborated uponin Chapter 5. Mike also stressed that reader—responseresearcher Mary Kooy of Simon Fraser University has workedclosely with the school’s English department and hasinfluenced his practice.In a number of the classrooms I visited, those of FeliciaWhite, Karen Jones, Dorothea Lewis and Keo Adams, forexample, I found evidence that opportunities exist forstudents to choose what they read and respond to —— even ifthe choices are limited by what is provided —— eitherformally or informally. Thus, they are experiencing thefreedom of choice and valuable social interaction of sharingand discussing books (Carlsen and Sherrill, 146—5 1).Furthermore, these students are gaining the reading autonomywhich, according to Aidan Chambers, is so essential for thedevelopment of discrimination and taste (Fox and Benton, 93).Finally, these teachers are recognizing, as Donelson haspointed out, that the pleasure and enjoyment gained throughchoosing literature are significant criteria if response is tobe fostered (12).In both Districts C and E I observed Grade 12 and Grade 11students respectively, working in groups, answering teacherinitiated phenomenological questions. I noted that in both72cases Dorothea Lewis and Edith Cowan’s students worked cooperatively; demonstrating a toleration for others’ responses,the comfort to speculate and hypothesize, a willingness andability to infer and analyze and an ability to reach tentativeconclusions (Probst 1984, 24-27; Dias and Hayhoe, 50).Tom Hanks and Felicia White demonstrated how teacherscan encourage students to ask questions of a text. Thequality of students’ questions I examined varied in calibre,but, nevertheless; they became problem—makers interpretingtextual ambiguity (Leggo, 1991 ;Hansbury, 109—1 1).Similarly, my study revealed that many teachers areexpecting students to write journal and/or log entries torespond to what they are reading. Students are; as Crowhurstand Kooy have suggested, articulating felt responses in theirown voice (257). All the questionnaire respondents indicatedthat they make use of journals or logs as did virtually all ofthe interviewees. An advantage is that students like TomHanks’ Grade 9 student, who raised the question of whether acharacter and an entire town in the novel, In the Heat of theNight, are racist, can explore the timeless existentialdilemmas and moral questions that confront them (Ellwood,J651A). However, I found no evidence of the use of multiplecolumned journals and logs, although a number of researchersand/or teachers have recommended them (Nugent and Nugent;Probst 1 990, 1 0, 11; Vandergrift, 1 25).Creative written response to literature is occurring in anumber of classrooms I visited, although none of thequestionnaire respondents referred to this type of activity.Nevertheless, the examples of written creative response orsthetic response I saw and gathered from interviews clearlyreflect the application of this strategy of writing literature73in response to literature in action (Dias and Hayhoe, 97; Koch1990 in Anderson and Rubano, 13). For example, in ourinterview, Mike Higgins told me that he asks students towrite a poem in response to a story. Anne Manners’ studentswrote a contemporary Canterbury Tales in response to theoriginal poem, and Joan Richards showed me examples ofsatires written in response to “A Modest Proposal” as Iexplained earlier. Bio—poems allowed for both 2estheticresponse and exploration of character for students in FeliciaWhite’s Grade 11 literature class.Furthermore, the objection that language inhibits responseis being addressed through the opportunity some students arebeing afforded to respond to literature metaphorically(Purves et al, 85). In particular, the visual representationsof symbolism that Dorothea Lewis’ Grade 11 studentsproduced in response to The Lord of the Flies and thosecreated by Ian Black’s Grade 10 class in response to AnimalFarm were impressive. There were also several references inthe interviews and questionnaires to the use of posters tovisually respond to literature.Finally role play, teacher—directed role drama and studentdramatization of literature all have a place in classroompractice as well as in theory (Purves et al, 88). For example,in an interview Ellen Parker explained to me how her Grade 9students studying The Piaman conduct a mock trial of thecharacters in the novel. Participants are required by theprocess to re—engage with the text to extrapolate theirresponses. Similarly, Ian Black’s Grade 10 class, as membersof a team of docu—drama journalists in role, had anopportunity to respond in depth to textual gaps in Raymond74Carver’s poem “Lemonade”. As I mentioned earlier in thischapter the students of Dorothea Lewis and Joan Richards actas critics in role, and John Masters’ students dramatize self-selected scenes from The Lord of the Flies to respond to thenovel. The evidence would suggest that at least someteachers are utilizing much of what researchers and theoristshave articulated.The Role of the TeacherWhat is the role or the teacher in encouraging response toliterature? To a large degree the question has already beenanswered, vicariously, during the discussion of teachingstrategies: wide reading, metacognition, group work and theproducts of response. However, some of the subtletiesassociated with teaching for reader—response have not yetbeen addressed effectively.Clearly the teacher needs to establish an environmentconducive to response. Dorothea admits to having fun,something that adolescents react well to, according to CarlLeggo (1991). She believes in establishing positive difficultyand she frequently challenges students to impress her.Dorothea Lewis, Felicia White and Anne Manners agree thatstudents need to be empowered in a humane workingatmosphere where structure is provided. Desks are oftenarranged in different ways —— not in rows, but rather, facingeach other, in a circle or in groups. The walls are usuallycovered with stimulating materials, such as studentresponses, thinking skills or literary posters. In Karen’sroom the walls exulted Japan. Students are encouraged toadopt ideas that appeal to them —— the learning is co—75operative rather than competitive. There is not necessarily ablack or a white, or a right or a wrong. Opinion is valued.The link that Anne Mccrary Sullivan found betweensecondary teachers reading aloud to students and enhancedenjoyment and response was really confirmed by DorotheaLewis and John Masters. Both Dorothea and John exude aninfectious enthusiasm as they “ham up” reading aloud so thatmost students are enthralled and absorbed. Miss Lewis saysthat she can monitor the glazed eyes of the few that losetrack, and she brings them back with infrequentclarifications and questions. Students follow in their book ifthey wish. When the bell rang for lunch, three or four pagesshort of the end of a To Kill a Mocking Bird chapter 1 wassurprised to see five students sitting and reading the rest ofthe chapter. Reading aloud fosters a special relationshipbetween the teacher and students. Dorothea always readsaloud to her students —— poems, short stories, novels andplays.One of my District B interviewees told me how she viewsreading aloud as a telling of stories, and in a sense, a goodreading does become a telling. Open texts like Conrads Heartof Darkness and Henry James Turn of the Screw lendthemselves to this type of narration, because the stories arerelated from a narrators perspective and he addresses theaudience directly. As Eco and Barthes have stressed,according to Young, these sorts of texts also allow more roomfor “diverse response and interpretation” (20). One mightargue that texts like The Lord of the Flies and To Kill aMockingbird offer a similar openness.Finally, a major key to achieving teaching success in76encouraging students to respond fully lies with the quality ofquestions —— both teacher—generated and student—directed.As I have already pointed out, teachers like Tom Hanks andFelicia White are using a technique recommended by CarlLeggo (1991) and Patricia Hansbury , asking students to posequestions (1 09—11). To respond well readers need anopportunity to inquire for themselves.Nevertheless, it is probably the quality of teacherquestions that is most significant in terms of the role of theteacher in encouraging response. The best example of thisskill was illustrated by Dorothea Lewis. With clearinstructions outlined on an overhead, with an exhortation togo beyond what is stated in Chapter 12 of the novel, To Kill aMockingbird, Miss Lewis proposed three questions and askedstudents to select one and brainstorm possible answers inpairs. Subsequently, they were to go back to the text to findquotes in support of their “argument” and finally composeseveral well—constructed paragraphs which they wereexpected to share within fifteen to twenty minutes. Thequestions are open—ended, inviting a response:1. Why does Calpurnia’s speech change when she goes to theFirst Purchase Church with Scout and Jem?2. Why do you suppose Harper Lee introduced the character ofLula?3. Why did the black churchgoers “line” their hymns?’Within this context, tension was established, and studentsneeded to visualize, question and speculate as theynegotiated a response. They had to re—engage with the text.For example, one pair, in response to question three,77elaborated on the condition and deprivation of blacks,indicating that they could not read because “...reading meantpower. The white people would feel threatened and lesssuperior if the blacks held the power to read and write...”The questions are what Alden Chambers has described asphenomenological questions (Wendy Sutton, English Education349 handout), those that allow students to reflect and inferbeyond the content. Moreover, students have to find supportfor their assertions from the text. Well thought outquestions are a vital element in the reader—responseteacher’s repetoire.A Tertiary PerspectiveWith the failure of the questionnaire to generate much dataanother perspective was sought. To that end I interviewed Dr.Mary Kooy of Simon Fraser University and Dr. Carl Leggo ofthe University of British Columbia. Both these academics areadvocates of reader—response to literature classroompractice.Kooy indicated to me that she believes that New Criticaltheory still dominates lower mainland English classroomsalthough, as more and more student teachers trained inreader—response to literature theory and practice move intothe education system, teachers are responsive to theparadigm, and reader-response is gaining more advocates.Consequently, her recent research has shown a reduction inteacher talk in classrooms and an increase in student talk.This contention is supported by the group work I observed.Moreover, there has been a shift in the kinds of talk, awayfrom an emphasis on literal comprehension towards a more78speculative style with students seeking clarification fromtheir peers rather than the teacher.In her instruction of student teachers; Kooy stronglyencourages the use of response logs and journals, includingdouble—entry journals in English classrooms. She, likeSquire, believes that it is crucial th at students respond toliterature as they read it. However, Kooy stresses that eachtime students write a response that they share theirperceptions, either with the class or in groups; unresolvedquestions or issues can serve as the focus for further textualexploration and reflection.A valuable list of twenty—five strategies for developingresponse to literature has been compiled by consultant WendyStrachan (Appendix 3). The strategies, succinctly described,are representative of a range of options that are available toteachers, and reflect much of what I observed or gatheredfrom my questionnaires and interviews with teachers duringmy study. Nevertheless, despite the importance of thesestrategies, my feeling is that many of them are not as viableor appropriate for older students, and that is a problem thatis examined in Chapter 5.Carl Leggo addresses my concerns to a considerable degreein that he proposes that teachers can challenge older andbrighter students by opening up texts in new ways. Forexample, post—modernist literature lends itself to reader—response from different perspectives because the conventionsare not etched in stone. Exposure to this sort of literature,in conjunction with an understanding of social/culturalcriticism and deconstruction, Leggo suggests, can encouragestudents to adopt a more resistant stance when reading and-79responding to literature.By way of explanation, Leggo referred me to a number orhis own articles and the work of several othertheorist/researchers. In “A Poet’s Proposals for Poetry inOral Performances” (1 992) and in “ConstructiveDeconstruction: Instruction in Productive Reading” (1994),Leggo argues that the New Critical approach has engendered aunitary view of poetry —— inviting only “one expert reading” ofa poem —— while ignoring the poet, “socio—political—culturalcontexts” and “devaluing the role of the reader” (1992,67;1994, 6). As an antidote Leggo identifies six strategies:responding with questions, subjective response, alternativemodes of response, expanding the parameters of response,constructing situations and responding to resistant text(1 992, 68). More recently he has argued that deconstruct ion,by promoting a multiplicity or plurality of responses, openstexts in a playful, constructive manner. Deconstruction, hemaintains, can be achieved by reading poetry from differentpositions, through self—referentiality, by examining binaryoppositions, by reversing figurative/literal assumptions andthrough intertextual influence (1994, 5—9). Leggo told methat Kathleen McCormick, Gary Waller, Linda Flower (1987)and Marnie O’Neill (1992) have influenced his thinking and Ishall examine some of the implications of their ideas inChapter 5.A certain intersection emerged from my research. MikeHiggins of District B, in response to my survey questions,indicated three principal sources of reader—responsepedagogy —— the only teacher to provide this sort of detail.The first is Robert Scholes, the second, Mary Kooy, and thethird is the textbook he uses for his Grade 12 advanced80placement literature class referred to earlier, The LexingtonIntroduction to Literature , by Gary Wailer, KathleenMcCormick and Fowler. As I have just mentioned McCormickand Wailer with Flower co—wrote Reading Texts: Reading.Responding. Writing which has influenced the thinking ofLeggo. Coincidentally, and somewhat ironically, Scholes isambivalent about deconstruction, although he grudginglyrecognizes that certain features of deconstruction ——Derridas playfulness, binary opposites, and the need toattend to the pervasiveness of power and privilege ——emphases of Leggo, can be salvaged enabling marginalizedmembers of society to gain textual power (1985, 94—125). Indeveloping my view 01’ directions in reader—responseapplications for classroom practice, I shall return to thesignificance of the relationship between reader-response,social/cultural criticism and deconstruction.81CHAPTER 5:SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONSIn the first chapter of this thesis, I argued that for someteachers there has been insufficient exposure to effectivereader—response teaching strategies. I sought, through aqualitative approach, to find out what techniques are beingused in the classroom to enhance student response toliterature, and to gather a range of strategies for the benefitof teachers. Within that context, I also aimed to explore therole of the teacher.In my second chapter; I reviewed the relevant literature todetermine the theoretical and research perspectives in thefield, and subsequently, I raised five additional questions tohelp focus my study. These questions addressed readingautonomy, group work, the products of response—teaching,metacognition,and whether teaching strategies are reflectingthe research literature.Chapter 3 served as an outline of my methodology. Iexplained that the design was non—experimental andtriangulated, although I admitted that my questionnaires hadgenerated little data. To address that weakness I added thetertiary dimension. Subsequently, I drew up a data analysisinstrument, identifying criteria associated with the sevenresearch questions, and coded the data I collected in fiveschool districts accordingly. Although I experienced someinitial difficulties in gaining access to classrooms andschools, I was ultimately successful in being able to observeteachers working with reader—response to literature teachingstrategies.82During the study, I observed and round a rich array ofstrategies in practice, and, I believe, demonstrated thatindeed the teaching strategies are, for the most part,reflecting cumulative theory and research findings. Someteachers in particular are genuine leaders in the field ofreader-response, generating some wonderful, complex studentresponses. Students are responding to literature creatively,imaginatively, emotionally and intellectually, as individualsor in groups, orally, visually and in writing. Moreover, ingeneral, group work is serving to provide individuals with themental scaffolding for further textual exploration.Questions, both teacher and student generated, aresignificant in encouraging response to literature. Theteachers I observed, almost without exception, are innovativeand enthusiastic in their approach to the teaching ofliterature, seeking to genuinely engage their students in adialogue with the literature studied.Nevertheless, despite these positive general conclusions,there is not sufficient evidence from my research to supportthe contention that trends towards a more criticalperspective in reader—response to literature theory areoccurring broadly at the classroom level. Thus, althoughsome of the teachers I studied, and Leggo are advocating andusing elements of deconstruction and social/culturalcriticism to challenge an apparent primacy of New Criticalapproaches to literature in upper secondary classrooms -—unfortunately beyond the scope of this study to prove ——apparently other teachers are not. Similarly, the teaching ofmetacognition as a strategy for improving the quality ofstudent responses to literature is not as yet common83practice, although a number of strategies I observed containmetacognitive elements. My concern is that; although trulyeffective teachers have probably always armed their studentswith a repertoire of analytical skills and literary codes forresponding to literature, gaps exist between theory andgeneral classroom practice in this regard.In considering the results of the study and in reflectingupon discrepancies between the different data collectionmethods, I believe it is important to remember that the studyis qualitative and was short. One has to be careful not toread significance into quantitative aspects. I did not observerole play occurring during my classroom observations, yetinvariably, most teachers reported in the interviews or in thequestionnaires that they use role play as a teaching/learningstrategy for developing student response to literature. I haveno reason to disbelieve that evidence; I was simplyunfortunate in my timing. Each of the data perspectivesoffered useful insights. For example, Mike Higgins’questionnaire response was, in contrast to the others, mostdetailed and valuable. Therefore, rather than focus on thesignificance of anomalies in the different data collectionmethods, I can see more value in reflecting upon trends in andgaps between the teacher data, the tertiary perspective, andresearch and theory.A trend evident from my observations and confirmed byKooy is a move in reader—response environments away fromteacher dominance towards a greater interaction amongstudents, particularly in group activities. Negotiation,speculation, tentativeness, disputation and co—operation arebecoming commonplace. Throughout my study I foundexamples of the effectiveness and supportiveness of students84working together. However, the quality of the group workwas closely related to the degree of structure and challengedevised by the teacher. Parameters were firmly establishedto allow students to assume responsibility and autonomy inresponding to literature.While recognizing and having confirmed in the literaturereview that reader—response to literature is not a singleparadigm, I sense that it is more relevant to teachers toincorporate the various dimensions within a broaderconceptual framework such as the holonomic positionproposed by Karen Armstrong (26). As I indicated in Chapter4, I found little evidence to suggest that the teachers Istudied are concerned with different theoretical perspectivesof reader—response. To the contrary, I noted a tendency forteachers to be practical innovators, willing and keen to adaptany aspects of reader—response theory and research whichwill extend their students’ understanding of literature.Nevertheless, in proposing that an eclectic approach is morerepresentative of teachers in practice, I am not suggestingthat distinct reader—response positions cannot inform aholonomic or integrated view of reader—response toliterature. Broadening the concept will simply be more likelyto foster and encourage a wider teacher receptivity to arange of reader—response teaching strategies, particularly ifintellectual rigour can be shown to accompany studentsthetic response.As I stated from the outset of study, a major purpose of mystudy was the practical goal of gathering teaching/learningstrategies for the benefit of teachers that encourage studentreader—response to literature. Many of the strategies will be85familiar to teachers and have long been utilized by effectiveteachers to promote an understanding of literature.Nevertheless, it is appropriate, given the generous accessthat teachers gave me to their classrooms, that I at leastmake an attempt to consolidate what I observed and learnedduring my study or discovered during my on—going review ofthe related literature. There may be some overlap, bothwithin my list and with the list of strategies compiled byWendy Strachan. (Appendix 3) It should be assumed that groupwork or role play might be appropriate for many of thestrategies or activities, although in some cases it is notexplicitly stated. My apologies for not acknowledgingteachers contributions, but districts have not allowed me tomention names unless the teacher has specifically asked tobe acknowledged.Some Teaching/Learning Strategies for Response toLiteraturePersonal Reading History: Students identify and respondbriefly to literature they have read, as a way of encouragingreflection upon links to literature as well as to personalexperience. Significant films might also be included.(Sullivan)1300k Pass: To encourage and guide wide reading, groups offive are given a selection of appropriate adolescent orclassic novels. Individuals in the group read for fiveminutes, then write out the authors name, the title, thegenre and a comment, and pass the book clockwise, beforeselecting and reading another. After the five books have beenseen by each member of the group, group members share their86impressions, before discussing with the whole class whichones were appealing and why. (Sutton)Reader as Explorer: Term or semester long assignment wherestudents choose to read and respond to what interests andexcites them. (Sullivan)Gap Reconstruction: Writing within. An imaginativereconstruction of textual gaps. Students could be asked toidentify the gaps An alternative to the ubiquitous alternateending. Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead as animaginative reconstruction of Hamlet is a classic example ofwriting within a gap. (Adams)Image Creation: Powerful images —— sight, sounds, smellsimagined or associated with a text —— are listed, re—createdand elaborated upon in writing by readers, pooled, andsubsequently compared and contrasted. May be associatedwith a “proposed” preparation for a film.(Anderson and Rubano)Time Lapse Writing: The reader explores a past or futuremoment to show the origin or consequence of an unresolvedconflict or writes about a dream a character might have had.(Anderson and Rubano)Responding to Poetry: (See Appendix 4)Construct a situation by asking Who? What? When? Where?and Why? of a poem. (Leggo)Students read a poem quietly to themselves and then frameone or more questions. In groups students ask questions ofthe group and arrive at possible meanings. Groups choose thebest three or four questions to share with the class.— Rewrite a poem in light of your own experiences and shareit with groups and/or the class discussing differences and87similarities between the original and the copy, looking forwhether the copy reflects the classs derived meaning of theoriginal.— Create a play or video of a group interpretation of a poem —— then whole class could discuss the interpretations in lightof their responses to the original poem.— Teacher presents a poem —— authors name removed on anoverhead —— uncovering first title —— students respond inwriting, and then respond to a line at a time, extended togroupings of lines that combine a single image or idea.Reread entire poem and students write a quick summary oftheir reactions to the poem.Groups —— discuss different sections of the poem —— askingwhat makes the poem work —— what the writer does that theyresponded to -— allowed them to feel as they did. Designatedspeakers share group perceptions —— others comment freely inclass discussion.(Luce in Karolides)— Draw a poem or a poster in response to a poem. Consider,for example, symbolic representation.Dramatic ResDonse: When studying a play groups of studentsselect, interpret and perform scenes. Historical and socialcontexts can be adapted, but the script should remainunchanged. Engagement with text is best if the actors arerequired to memorize their lines and perform with props andcostumes. On other occasions students could enhance theirunderstanding of a play, by preparing teacher—selected shortscenes on a more impromptu basis. Insights should bediscussed.BioDoem: Responding to character by writing a poem based onthe following format: Line 1, first name, Line 2 four traits88that describe the character; Line 3, relative of____Line 4, lover of____(several people or things); Line5, Who reels; Line 6, Who needs; Line 7, Who fears; Line 8,Who gives —______(several things each); Line 10,Resident of ——— ; Line 11, last name. Student canwrite an autobiographical poem to develop a sense of how torespond.(Roen in Karolides, 177)Literary Sociograms: Relationships between characters,events, ideas and values (symbols) can be exploredgraphically. After identifying and listing the relationalaspects students can label one—way arrows, two—way arrowsor boomerang arrows to illustrate the nature of therelationships. (Schwartz)Intertextuality: Use two texts which deal with similarthemes or subjects and ask students to identify and respondto similarities and differences.— Ask students to devise an outline for changing a shortstory into a film. They can provide a storyboard for theopening and closing scenes and explain ideas and choices.— Students rewrite a film as a short story and explainchoices made in terms of point of view and structure.— Select two different yet comparable texts, say a film and anovel —— Blade Runner and Nineteen Eighty—Four, for example —— and ask students to reflect upon how the texts andcharacters are constructed, and how the themes, attitudesand values are conveyed. (Hewett)Written Creative ResDonse: Respond to a poem by writing ashort story using information and ideas gleaned from thepoem. Students could be asked to explain how their storyrelates to the poem. (Self)89— Students write a poem about their response to a poem,short story or novel. (Self)— Echo poem: Students model the form of a poem and thestyle of a poet as preparation for further textual exploration.(Dias and Hayhoe)— To better understand literary concepts students createtheir own model of different forms. For example, whilestudents were reading Animal Farm the teacher I observedread Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’. Students responded bywriting their own satire.Readers’ Theatre:Useful for interpreting and responding to scenes and/orthemes from novels, or short stories. Similarly this approachencourages multiple readings of poems as groups prepare andpresent their interpretation to the class and listen toalternate readings. After the presentations students canshare why they have chosen to present a poem with differentemphases or in particular ways. Scenes can also be scriptedfor a live performance, a video production or a taped radioplay.(Kelly in Karolides 88-90)Reader as Critic: Students adopt a Siskel and Ebert approachto critiquing short stories.Interviewing Exnerts: Groups respond to a poem or shortstory, or novel by generating their own responses andquestions. They then interview the ‘expert’ panel members ofother groups, before raising problems and sharing insightswith all the experts in a forum —— whole class —— and/orreaching individual assessments.Metacognition: How individuals respond uniquely to literaturegocan be explored by students and teachers reflecting abouttheir own response mechanisms. The teacher could model herown internalized process of &sthetic, emotional andcognitive response and/or students might use a journal toidentify and reflect upon how they respond. Alternativelystudents respond individually to a poem, carefully notingtheir precise process of response. By sharing their processunderstandings in groups and/or as a class readers canrecognize that there are many different ways to enter theliterary experience. New insights can be noted andincorporated into individuals’ own repertoires.Social/Cultural Response: Students act as detectives tointerrogate a text or read against the grain of the text by de—centering themselves and asking what the text is doing,responding from different perspectives to the apparentlynatural one. Ideological marginalization —— of gender, raceand/or culture —— once recognized can be challenged orjustified.(McCormick, O’Neill)Resistant Readings: Students respond to the implications ofdifferent discourses evident in a novel or short story. Forexample in Dicken’s Bleak House one could explore thereligious discourse, the political discourse of social reform,the professional discourse of the doctor and the differentvoices inherent in the discourse of social class. (Barthes)Deconstruction: Texts are read playfully for multiplemeanings. Words, images and symbols can be examined forimaginative fresh insights by questioning assumed prioritiesof figurative/literal representation, binary opposites,reading positions, self—referents and intertextual allusions.(Leg go)91Journals/Response Lops: As a change students could tryresponding in a four—columned format with quotes, responses,another students reply, and a response to the reply.(Probst)Key Word Response: Students select what they believe to bethe most important or significant word in a story or poem andexplain why this is the case. Questions for furtherexploration will likely emerge. This could be adapted toasking for a phrase or a sentence from a longer piece ofliterature. (Bleich)Open Response: While reading a novel students are offered anopportunity to respond to any aspects of the text by creating,for example, a model, a poster or another medium. Studentsmight respond to symbolism, social/cultural issues orthemes.Press Conference: Press reporters interview charactersquestioning motives, and probing feelings and attitudes.(Miller)Mock Trial: Characters are tried for “alleged” crimes, orissues might be explored within the context of a supremecourt hearing.Problem-Maker: Takes the approach that more insights maycome from raising questions if it is assumed that there maynot be answers. Challenge students to raise questions of thisnature. (Leggo)Response Monologue: Students write in role, adopting thepersona of a character and incorporating and elaborating onthe persons views, feelings and experiential reactions.Particularly useful in exploring social/cultural differences.(Duff in Karolides)92— other writing in role activities might include, for example,students being film directors or publishers.Altering Text: To emphasize sthetic response two or moreversions of a literary text, one the original and the otheradjusted by the teacher are presented to students. Versionsmay be ranked according to different criteria: for example,best —> worst, insincere —> sincere and selections justified.Words, gender, rhythm, rhyme, and sounds, for example, mightbe changed.(Anderson and Rubano)Verbal Scales: As an introduction to articulated responsestudents can respond to bipolar —— e.g. sane —> insane forHamlet —— or unipolar —— one adjective and a ranking 0 —> 7 —-scales. This allows a mechanism for initial response.(Anderson and Rubano)Literary Cloze: After being given the title of a poemstudents, in groups, re—construct a stanza from a list ofwords derived from original stanzas. After the poem has beenre-created and stanzas linked by the whole class —— the newpoem is compared with the original before studentsresponding to the latter.— In other variations words can be removed and then“selected” by students, lines can be jumbled and reassembled,or line break distinctions can be changed and amended. Forexample, teachers can eliminate line breaks by writing apoem across the whole blackboard.(Anderson and Rubano, Mallick)It should be noted there is considerable overlap between somestrategies, particularly the concepts of resistant reading,deconstruction, and social/cultural criticism.93The Pole or the TeacherWhat might be some or the basic premises associated withadolescent reader—response to literature? In general, thereneeds to be an opportunity ror individuals to respond in somemanner as they read or listen to literature or immediatelyafterwards. Ideally, responses might be then shared and/orrefined collectively, usually in groups, with studentsinterrogating a text and raising questions and problems.Teacher generated open—ended questions might also serve torocus student responses without limiting or restricting them.Responses and interpretations could then be shared, discussedand /or debated with the class as a whole berore individualsare given another opportunity to refine and develop their ownresponses. Obviously, this conceptual frame needs to be fluidand varied to maintain student enthusiasm.Within a positive co—operative context, sthetic responseand personal and literary experience that can be linked to thetext are valued. Moreover, opinions that can be supported bytextual evidence would be similarly highly regarded. In ahealthy response environment where students are reflectingupon complex or challenging texts, tentativeness andambiguity would be expected. There can be no neat and tidyclosure provided by an expert.Nevertheless, as is evident from the compilation ofstrategies, teachers have many options available to them forencouraging and developing response to literature. There areno prescriptions, other than that the process is driven bystudents responding to literature, and within these limits anyvariety and ingenuity that a teacher can inruse into the94teaching/learning process will be advantageous.My study revealed several other interesting aspectsregarding the role of the teacher that are worthy ofcons iderat ion. The Grade 1 0 students I observed being read toby Dorothea Lewis confirmed in my mind Anne Sullivan’s viewthat older students can derive both benefit and pleasure froma spirited reading aloud of a text by the teacher. Thiscontention was supported by the degree of vigour thesestudents demonstrated while responding to the novel.Similarly, Felicia White showed me that wide reading can bean important component of a literature program, particularlyif students have an opportunity to build their response. Theone sentence book report, the journal, the bio—poem, thesociogram, and the character essay based on a questiongenerated by students themselves, permitted a structured yetvaluable open—ended format for response.How can teachers best create an environment wherestudent response to literature is more self—conscious, yetanalytical? Robert Scholes has stressed that it is vital toteach interpretive skills, and “restore the judgementaldimension to criticism...in the most serious sense ofquestioning the values proffered by the texts we study”(1982, xii; 14). Garth Boomer advocates Brecht’s“estrangement effect’ where uncertainty, ambiguity and anawareness and scepticism of manipulation and effect inliterature are valued (13). A metacognitive approach,apparent in modelled creative response and in the specificteaching strategies adopted by Mike Higgins —— textualdecoding, Tom Hanks —— awareness of differences in levels ofquestions, and Dorothea Lewis —— sharing her own readingprocesses and giving students suggestions for how to read a95poem, suggests a practical direction for those teachers andresearchers interested in extending student response toliterature. Students can clearly benefit by creativelyimitating literature, sharing and reflecting upon insightsabout their own reading processes, and those of theirteachers) and acquiring appropriate tools and techniques forengagement with literature. We cannot assume that allstudents know how to develop their responses to literature.Thus metacognition as a strategy option might be viewedfrom at least three perspectives. First, reflection upon theprocess of reading and responding, with students and teacherssharing idiosyncratic habits and approaches, should assiststudents to recognize the viability of alternate processeswhich could be mutually beneficial. Journals might serve asan ideal beginning point or continuation in this regard.Second, as Boomer and others have suggested, student readerswill likely be better able to respond critically to literatureif they are better informed about and aware of theatrical,poetic and literary devices and effects as well as differenttheoretical perspectives. Within this context students needto be able to identify how, for example, feminist playwrightsor Marxist poets might shape or influence their audiences,and/or alternatively, how an individual or group ismarginalized. A rudimentary understanding of critical theoryand/or social/cultural biases is unavoidable if students areto have the benefit of responding to literature from multipleperspectives. Finally, students ought to be taught specificskills to help them intuit, analyse and interpret literature.Deconstruction, if viewed as a tool rather than a theory,might help young readers to enhance their responses.96In developing critical consciousness in our students weneed to encourage them to make use of deconstruction, not inthe strictly theoretical deconstructionist sense that therecan be no meaning. Rather the Carl Leggo (1994) notion ofplayfulness and double meaning can be elaborated to questionthe implications of any given word within the context of whatis being said. For example, in considering a child’s ‘loss’ ofinnocence the word ‘loss’ suggests that something has beentaken from the child, but it can also imply that the individualis responsible and demeaned because he/she has ‘lost’something valuable. Thus, playfulness or carefulconsideration becomes an alertness to how language may bemanipulated to marginalize or to partially obscure. Omission,or words excluded, may well be significant indecontextualizing and retextualizing meaning. Furthermore,deconstruction, in the sense of dismantling the narrativestructure, can be utilized to identify and challenge the“dominant or natural interpretation of a text” (Rothery andVeel, 22-3). From this perspective students who adopt acultural critical stance can be encouraged to consider what“values, positions or interests are promoted by differentreadings” (O’Neill, 20). Obviously, developing these skills isvital if students are to be successful in recognizing andresponding to bias from a variety of perspectives.Kathleen McCormick et al have argued that for modernreaders entertainment is a primary reason for the power offiction: it provides relaxation and pleasure through atraditional narrative structure which is associated withbelievability and closure, and an implication that literaturedoes not have to be analysed to be enjoyed (182). To thecontrary, they propose that by developing a greater self—97consciousness or metacognition of reading strategies,encouraged by interactively reading unconventionalliterature, pleasure will be enhanced (183). For example,post—modernist literature might be studied, or an alternativetext might be offered to balance the white perspective of flKill a Mockingbird. Within this context, students becomeresistant interrogators of text, seeking ambiguities,analysing and questioning their own reactions to bothimplicit and explicit textual directions and assumptions,actively making interconnections between personal, social,cultural, political, psychological and literary knowledge (32,72). Repertoires for self-understanding, socialunderstanding, literary understanding and &stheticunderstanding are developed and explored in relation todifferent texts (Hynds 1991 121,122). According to thisview, language —— words, codes and symbols —— is neverneutral (McCormick, 35). One might add that philosophy —-universal moral and ethical considerations, in particular ——could serve as an extra interconnective dimension forstudents to consider and reflect upon in responding toliterature.Teachers can best serve their students by opening theparameters of response to literature. Students need to befree from the tyranny of having to interpret and produce whatthe teacher or examiner expects or wants to hear or see.Thoughtful, resistant, reflective and imaginative responsescan best be promoted by creating what Davison, King,Kitchener and Boomer describe as a problematic environmentof thoughtful reasoning where elements of indeterminacy,ambiguity, complexity, discomfort and dissonance are thenorm (Purves 1991, 124; Boomer, 15). Needless to say98this working atmosphere needs to be a structured one likethose I encountered during my study where students areempowered through a sense of confidence and mutual respectto take risks. Aesthetic and critical response and individualdifferences are valued in this type of interpretive community.Further ResearchMy study has revealed that there is an extensive range ofteaching/learning response to literature strategies andtechniques available to teachers who wish to challenge theirstudents and enhance their students’ personal pleasure in andunderstanding of literature. However, there are excellentopportunities for further research. For example, a broad,province wide quantitiative study is warranted to determinewhether New Critical approaches to the teaching ofliterature, particularly at senior high school levels, are aspervasive as Kooy and Leggo have suggested, and subsequentlywhether reader—response to literature teaching is becomingmore utilized in senior grades. Obviously, the role of publicexaminations would have to be taken into account within thatcontext. 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Leggo and Kooy were interviewed to reinforce theweakened triangulated design.Refer to Table III: An Overview of the Teachers Involved in theStudy for a closer perspective.116Table II: Data Analysis InstrumentAspects/Constructs Criteria DataCodes1 Teaching Strategies Techniques, strategies and lesson T.S.ideas for developing studentresponse to literature?2 Wide Reading Do students engage in silent reading W.R.and/or have reading autonomy?— opportunity for students tochoose own reading materials— respond in some manner3 Group Work Interpretive community G.W.Opportunities for discussion,—characterized by co—operation,negotiation, risk—taking,disputation—tolerance or ambiguity4 Products of Response Results of the strategies P.R.— the physical evidenceWritten responseCreative responseVisual/Oral response5 Metacognition Sharing the secrets of text M.construction and encouragingan awareness of the process ofresponse1176 Theory and Research Links between theory T.R.P.in Practice and research evidentin the literature reviewedand teaching strategiesobserved.7 Role of the Teacher How does the teacher R.T.facilitate response to literature?Questions that re—engage with text—phenome no logical—student developedText selectionTexts—engaging—open—ambiguous—problematic—tolerant—encouraging—challenging—opinions are valuedClassroom atmosphereSee Table IV for a sense of how this instrument is related tothe research questions and chapter organizational pattern.118Table IIIof the Teachers Involved in the StudyTime Literature Strategies CommentObserved/ Selection(s)InterviewKeo Adams6/]District ASchool 1Bannerin the SkyWideReadingStudentsraiseissues fromtextResponselimitedif readingnotcommonIan Black 10District ASchool 20InterviewonlyAnimalFarmVisualsymbolicrepresentationRole dramaTom Hanks9District BSchool 1JhrInterviewIn the Heatof the Night11. PlinyResponselogStudentgeneratedquestionsMike Higgins 1 2AP1 hr2ODistrict B8 QuestionnaireHills like Elephants Detailedquesti on’reresponseAn OverviewTeacher GradeDistrict1 hr2OInterviewKaren Jones] 5hr20 Japanese RoleDistrict A Interview novels playSchool 3 widereadingPromises to ComeTeacherDistrictGrade TimeObserved/InterviewLiteratureSelection(s)119Strategies CommentAnne Manners 1 2AP2hrDistrict B InterviewSchool 1CanterburyTalesCreativewrittenresponseEllenParkerDistrict BSchool 19 2hrInterviewThePiamanResponse logRole dramaMock trialDorotheaLewisDistrict CSchool 111 4hrJO10 InterviewLord of Visualthe Flies representationTo Kill Teacher Studentsa phenomenologicalMockincibirdquestions engaged &Journals involvedDramaticresponseJohn Mastersl 1District CSchool 1OhrJOInterviewLord ofthe FliesIn rolecontrastingtext & filmTeacherDistrictFeliciaWhiteDistrict DSchool 1Tim Bolt 9District ESchool 1Grade TimeObserved/Interview11 5hr50LiteratureSelection(s)Widereadingreadingol’ novelsVisualresponseJournalsBiopoemsSociogramsStudentsdeveloping!respondingto ownquestionsTeacherquestionsSystematicallowingautonomy,yetencouragingre—engagementwith textNotreader—responsebut astimulatingdiscussionEdith Cowanl2District ESchool 21 hr2O The Outsider GenuineWriting studentin role engagementPhenomenologicalquestionsJoan RichardslO 2hrDistrict E InterviewSchool 1AnimalFarmA flodestProposalCreativewrittenresponseRole play1 20Strategies CommentInterview1 hr Number 56Questionnaire121Table IVThe Organization of the ThesisResearch Data Chapter 4 Chapter .5Questions Analysis OrganizationalInstrument PatternMajor Majorquestion question1 1 1 1Sub questions1 2 22 3 33 4 44 5 55 6 6Major Majorquestion question2 7 7 2A TertiaryPerspectiveTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIARTvcic 2 IZaDepartment of Language Education________2125 Main MallVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-5788Fax:(604) 822-3154Preliminari.j SurveyhA. R6s9rchTitI8: An Investigation of teaching strategies for extendingadolescent response to literature end the nature of the teachers experiencejn evoking and developing that response.F5cuilyAEfvfsor: Dr. Wendy Sutton Tel: 822-5229/#V8St17/Of: Hugh Rockett (MA. candidate) Tel: 228-8653All literature teachers use reader—response teaching and learningstrategies to some degree. Furthermore, without doubt, you have hadpersonal successes in this regard that have really excited you. I know youare extremely busy, but please take a few minutes to share these successes.This study can only be effective if you participate.Please answer the following questions in brief notes, using the back ofthe questionnaire if you need to do so. Only respond to questions that are ofinterest to you, even if that means answering only one question. Questionsthree and four are of particular importance to me; however, I will bedelighted with any responses, and you need have no further involvement, ifthat is your wish.Survey Questions1. Which reader—response theorists or researchers, if any, have influencedyour teaching? In what way? e.g. James Squire — found a strong linkbetween emotional involvement and literary judgement and.anolysis, andstressed the importance of determining readers reactions as they are inthe process of reading (or listening).1232. What have been your principal sources of reader—response pedagoqyinspiration? e.g. instructors, fellow teachers, teaching resources,students, professional publications, conferences.Explain briefly and please identify texts, with publishing information ifavailable, that have been particularly practical and useful.3. Can you identify any other teaching strategies or ideas that you havefound valuable in evoking, enhancing or extending student response toliterature? Please outline the basic methodology and indicate its originif you are aware of it. e.g. Asking students to write about their personalreading histories — Anne M. Sullivan.Arranging dramatic interpretation and rehearsed performance of studentgroup selected scenes of a play — on old, but excellent practice.4. Would you please describe some of the more interesting or satisfyingproducts or outcorries of student responses to literature that you haveexperienced? e.g. Role drama, audio—video production, dance, writtenresponse, photographic collage or graphic representation.i2L5. Do your students have any autonomy in choosing whet they reed?Yes U No U If so, please briefly explain and indicate how you evaluatesuch reading.6. Do you encourage students to monitor and share their cognitive processesabout reading, Yes U No 0, or teach students specific ways ofresponding critically to literature? Yes 0 No 0. Please elaborate.7. Is group work a significant learning strategy, in your view? Yes C No 0If so, can you give examples of how it works best?Please indicate if you wish me to specifically acknowledge an originalstrategy or idea. Many thanks for your assistance.Hugh Rockett3STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPINGREADING, WRITING, DISCUSSING, LISTENINGThROUGH LITERATURESTRATEGY: any activity that brings the reader’s past experiences tointeract with the print, and sends the reader back to the textto research, rethink, extend and then share collaboratively,his/her meaning of the text.1. QUICK WRITES: Instant 5 or 10 minutes of writing by everyone,usually a personal reaction to some focussed issue. (Helps to haveteacher write too).2. CHARACTER! CONCEPT CLUSTER: Individual or collaborative clusterof words and phrases generated for one character or concept in apiece of literature.3. PREDICTIONS: Frequently stop to interrogate students and generatediscussion regarding progress of plot, character behavior, possibleconsequences! end..4. WRITTEN CONVERSATION: A silent talking back and forth on paper by2 students regarding some aspect of literature. May be between 2characters, character and author, reader and author, reader andcharacter, etc. Then read aloud.5. STORY BOARD: Hand-made illustrations or representations alongwith the copied/hand written passage that fits it.6. LAST WORD: On 1 side of card each chooses and writes a quote withsome personal impact from the piece of literature. On other side,write own reaction and meaning for its presence in the story. Insmall groups, each reacts to the other’s quote, writer gets the “lastword” in reading his own reaction.7. DOUBLE-ENTRY JOURNAL:Note Taking Note Making(Quotations, images, lists (responses, questions,notes - directly from text) summaries, connections,observations - directreactions to notes taken)8. HOT SEAT - students pick one character from the text as a role fromwhich s/he will answer. S/he then gets 5 minutes of questions bygroup members. S/he must stay in character.9. ART REPRESENTATIONS: mandala, collage, montage, mural, mainidea symbol, dream, illustration, diarama, book jacket, marker,maps, ads, wanted poster, menu, mobile, cartoons, pop-up books, etc.10. READING LIKE A WRITER: carefully examine author’s choice of title,opening and ending, use of names, particular vocabulary or figures ofspeech, dialogue markers and use of quotation marks! indentions,leading lines to control reader, etc.11. TIME LINE: sequence story events by order and time12. STORY MAPPING: sequence story events by pictures (limitingpictures makes priority choices essential).13. POINT OF VIEW: retelling orally or in writing the story or someevent from a different character’s point of view.14. LITERATURE REACTION LOG: a personal on-going reaction to theliterature as it is being read (modeled after personal journal, butfocused on the text).15. JIGSAW: especially useful for difficult and/or expository material.Example: - class in groups of 4 (home group)- each one in group takes a letter (A,B,C,D)all of each letter gets together- each letter group assigned to read certainpages or portion of material- after reading they discuss any way they wishto explain their portion to their home group- at signal, each one returns to home group andin order to play “expert” to teach the rest whatthey have learned16. LITERARY REPORT CARDS: generating character traits and thengrading (A - F) a character on each, adding comments to substantiateopinion.17. CHARACTER METAPHORS: Ex:__________is like__________becausebecause etc. support with examples from textbecause18. METACOGNITIVE JOURNAL (Learning Log) - Record “What I Did, What ILearned and What Was Easy or Surprised Me”)19. SUSTAINED SILENT READING: teacher needs to read too, everyone hasthe choice of what to read. All silent until the time is up.20. THE WHIP: a timed 30 - 60 second sharing of the current book beingread.21. SUSTAINED SILENT WRITING: Teachers write too, on any topic ofchoice, should be responded to, at least occasionally.22. LITERARY LETTERS: the reader composes a letter to any of thestory’s characters or the author, asking questions, reacting to orextending the plot meaning. Another reader then composes a letterback imagining possible answers or responses.23. AUTHOR’S CHOICE: Suggesting other possible decision choices forthe author of the story. For example:(a) other possible titles(b) other possible opening lines(C) other choices for character names(d) other settings and their implications(e) other possible endings24. PLOT PROFILES: creating a large graph which show relationshipsbetween sequenced events and their excitement or tension level. Forexample:Here is a line graph were the numbers and labels at the bottom ofthe grid represents the sequenced events in the story. The numbersalong the left side of the grid represents the level of excitement ortension. The readers must decide how to sequence and then plot theexcitementl tension level for each event in the sequence. They thendraw a line on the graph connecting the plot marks.25. LITERARY NEWS REPORT: write a factual news report about somedramatic event in the story following and using thesecharacteristics:Headline: catches your attention. It tells pretty well just whathappened.Dateline: Tells you where the story came from and when it waswritten.Sluline: The first sentence does the same as the headline. Ittells pretty well what happened but may add some detail.Body: Tells more detail. Usually answers: who? what? where?when? how? why? The body often has quotations fromthe people who heard or saw what happened.Wendy Strachan, Consultant1 29Appendix 4Suggestions for Responding to a PoemWhere possible poetry should be performed in some way.At least, read a poem a number of times aloud, or perform itin your head, so that you can feel it, wear it and listen to thesounds of the poem. Take pleasure in it. Rely on yourintuition; trust your first impressions. How does it affectyou emotionally, sthetically —— i.e. your feelings orsensibilities? What images or sense impressions strike you?How do you respond to the poem and why do you respond as youdo? What does it remind you of? Does it relate to yourrecollections of the past, dreams, values, beliefs orliterature you have read? What is the mood of the poem?Happy? Sad? Angry? Sarcastic? Serious? Careless?Bitter? Or what? Does the mood change? Keep going back tothe text: often poems require close and careful re—reading forthe compressed intensity to be felt. Don’t give up too easily.Reflect on the title. Be tentative. Establish a dialoguewith the poem. Ask questions of the text. Who? What?Where? When? Why? What do the words, phrases, stanzas orpoem mean to you? Tolerate ambiguity and resist closure.How is the poem structured? Are there any patterns?Repetitions? Sounds? Line breaks? Stanzas? Rhymes?Rhythm? Oppositions? -— e.g. black and white juxtaposed, orParadoxes? something seemingly absurd, unreasonable,illogical or ironic. Who is speaking? Is it the poet’s voiceyou hear or some other? Are the words neutral? Look forconsistency or inconsistency in the point of view. Are there1 30any contradictions? What is the poets attitude to you? —-i.e. the tone of the poem. Is there a focus? a theme orcentral idea? Imagine themes.Create literal/figurative distinctions; consider thatmeanings may be obscured; language can be duplicitous. Arethe words a metaphor for some larger aspect of life orexperience? The poem may be an extended metaphor —— makeconnections, look for symbols. Use your imagination.Remember that a poet carefully chooses words and images fortheir sensibility, meaning, sound and associations. Perhapssome words allude to our cultural heritage, for example,mythology or other literature. If in doubt, check them out.Deconstruct. Consider multiple meanings; play with thewords. Might it possible to read the poem differently, resistwhat seems to be a natural reading? Question the valuespresented in the poem. Is the poet trying to manipulate you?Take issue with assumptions about race, gender, or class, ifthat is appropriate. Be sceptical, yet open to change. Trustyourself and speculate. Probe for blind spots and hiddenagendas. Are there any problematic gaps? Silences? What isimplied, but unsaid? What is excluded and why? Fill in thegaps. Retextualize the poem and compare yourreadings/meanings with those of others. Seek common groundand alternative interpretations. As a reader you rewrite asyou respond. You are not bound by what the poet intended,because contexts change, but you do need to back up youropinions with textual evidence.(Dias, Hayhoe, Leggo, McCormick et al, ONeill, Richards,Scholes and Self)


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