Doecke, B., & Van de Ven, P.-H. (2012). Literary praxis: Engaging with texts in classroom settings.(Special issue guest edited by Irene Pieper & Tanja Janssen).
L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 12
, p. 1-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL-2012.01.04
In this article we explore how the social relationships of any classroom provide a vital context for literary interpretation, mediating the interpretive conversations in which young people engage. Those relationships extend beyond the classroom to embrace the various communities to which young people belong, and the values and beliefs those communities share. These dimensions of young people’s lives intersect with the institutional setting of the school, including its curriculum and organisation, as well as mandated educational policies – again significant dimensions that shape their interaction with the texts they are required to study. In addition, young people interact with their teachers, who bring their own biographies with them into the classroom, including their beliefs about the value of a literary education.
We develop our argument on the basis of a published book, namely Literary Praxis: a conversational inquiry into the teaching of literature (van de Ven and Doecke, 2011), in which contributors from around the world explore the values and beliefs that shape their professional practice as teachers of literature. The essay begins by outlining the nature of the inquiry presented in this book, and then proceeds to focus on particular examples of classrooms from that volume in order to develop an account of the complexly mediated nature of literary interpretation as young people and their teachers experience this activity in classroom settings.