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Title: Reading literature in urban English classrooms
Author: Yandell, John
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis presents an argument for a reconceptualisation of how literature is read in secondary urban English classrooms and of what is accomplished through the activities of reading. In the discourse of policy and in theorised accounts of practice, the reading that is undertaken in classrooms has tended to be construed as either a poor substitute or merely a preparation for other reading, particularly for that paradigmatic literacy event, the absorbed and simultaneously discriminating consumption of the literary text by the independent, private reader. This thesis argues for a broader - historically, ethnographically, psychologically and theoretically informed - understanding of what constitutes reading, for a fully social conception of the sign and of sign-making and for a social model of learning. It draws on data gathered through classroom observation and digital videotape of English lessons taught over the course of a year by two teachers in a secondary comprehensive school in East London. It situates such data, and the interpretation of such data, in culture and history, in the culture and history of the researcher as well as of the participants in the research, school students and their teachers. Attention is paid to the pedagogy of the two teachers, to the constraints that operate on them and to the choices that they make. The thesis presents an interpretation of school students' engagement with literary texts as an active, collaborative process of meaning-making. Literature, instantiated in multiple forms in these classrooms, functions not as a valorised heritage to be transmitted so much as a resource for the students' work of cultural production and contestation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available