Gender, Text, and Discussion: Expanding the Possibilities
This chapter explores possibilities for expanding current discursive practices so as to deal more equitably with gender-related issues in classroom talk about texts. It argues that classroom discussions are important sites of investigation, not for the purpose of identifying and prescribing effective discussion strategies, but for understanding why particular discursive practices tend to dominate classroom talk and what might be done to alter such practices. The chapter examines discursive practices that construct one’s sense of self and “other” for the purpose of exploring ways teachers, students, and researchers can begin to “interrupt” those practices that are counterproductive to learning from and about text-based classroom talk. It explains what is meant by discursive practices and then identifies predominant discursive practices currently associated with classroom discussions of texts. The chapter also examines work on text-based classroom discussion for instances of how ingrained, gendered ways of thinking have perpetuated particular discursive practices.