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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adult composition instruction in a northern native community : a case study of cultural and ideological resistance Millard, Eleanor Rae


This thesis reports an interpretive case study of adult composition instruction in a native community in northern Canada. Although the existing literature contains much theory about literacy and cross-cultural relations, little research has examined particular contexts of writing instruction, especially for native populations. The present research focused on students' responses to specific approaches to composition, using participant-observation by the author and an emergent research design which considered classroom events in relation to the local community and its history. The study found much behaviour by the students which was described as resistance to the instruction, behaviours which were consonant with details of the community context. Interpretations of these student behaviours were first made in reference to theories of cross-cultural differences, which proved to be less satisfactory to account for them than theories which would characterize the behaviours as ideologically-based. The thesis suggests that possible explanations for this specific population's lack of success and nonparticipation in literacy education would be too narrowly defined as cross-cultural differences. Understanding both the cultural and ideological foundations of resistance behaviour may help to guide literacy pedagogy in northern native adult instruction.

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