Teaching readings?

Patterson, A.J., and Mellor, B. (2001) Teaching readings? In: Combern, B., and Simpson, A., (eds.) Negotiating Critical Literacies in Classrooms. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ, USA, pp. 79-88.

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[Extract] Coming to terms with many of the recent changes in thinking about reading texts is difficult. Most teachers in the western world have trained in a quite different tradition, and the question,” What does it mean in the classroom?” is not addressed explicitly by most recent theory. The idea, for example, that a text might be thought of as a site for the production of multiple—and often contradictory or competing—meanings is a particularly challenging one in the context of the classroom. Moving from a conception of the text as a container of correct meanings for which readers must search, to one in which meanings are thought about as produced rather than discovered, and contested rather than agreed, has enormous implications in terms of assessment and power. Which meanings, after all, are to prevail?

Being able to ask questions about the meanings produced of texts seems to offer productive possibilities for practice because recent literary theory appears to suggest that through their taking up of multiple reading positions, readers might be able to reflect on the readings that they and others produce. So that by encouraging students to read in a way that involved the construction of multiple readings of a text, we thought the likelihood of constructing readers who were critically conscious and aware appeared to be increased.

There are, of course, several competing strands to recent theory as it is propounded in the Australian context, whether applied to literary texts or popular culture, but initially, we took from it four principles: that a starting point for a discussion about texts is that they are made; that texts do not emerge from a timeless, placeless zone but are written and read in particular social contexts; that texts are sites for the production of meanings that may have nothing to do with what the writer intended; and that texts are sites for the production of multiple and frequently contradictory meanings.

Item ID: 14326
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-8058-3793-3
Keywords: critical pedagogy; literacy; social aspects
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2017 02:39
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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