chapter  9
12 Pages

Rethinking literature ‘instruction’

An experiment with student-controlled pedagogy and Animal Farm
WithLisa Scherff

Classroom conversations have long been a topic of research, with findings highlighting intrinsic patterns in this type of institutional talk: the prevalence of monologic talk and a heavy emphasis on the initiation-response-evaluation (IRE) pattern, both of which can be used to establish control and/or position students in ways that set up a cultural model of learning that privileges the teacher. Breaking away from monologic (and IRE) patterns can be difficult. Literature discussions are an important sociocultural activity because through language students respond to others' interpretations and use this information to generate new understandings or verify what they already believe. Action research is a systematic process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary goal is to help the researcher improve and/or refine his or her actions. Most students agreed and strongly agreed that their past experiences with reading novels was the traditional chapter-by-chapter method with vocabulary to define and discussion questions to answer.