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Type: Thesis
Title: “Baggy Monsters” in the time of Trolls. How can the teaching of 19th Century literature in senior secondary school English be made more engaging?
Author: Lally, Hannah
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: As of 2019, English remains the only school subject Australian jurisdictions require students to study in order to graduate or achieve the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (Yiannakis 2014). Beyond providing literacy competencies, English from its outset has been “central to the curriculum as a principal means by which students explored their expressive, creative, imaginative and ethical selves, either through their own writing or through an encounter with literary texts” (Macintyre 2001). A lack of engagement in education is often posited as a primary reason for student drop-out, with failure to graduate being described as the most “severe and overt symptom of disengagement from school and learning” (Lehr et al. 2004, pg. 15). If students were to not engage with the compulsory senior secondary English, they are at risk of losing motivation and the subsequent learning and academic success (Gibbs and Poskitt 2010). There are two central reasons that underpin the importance of this research question. The first component identifies that 10.49 per cent of the literary texts on Australian senior secondary English prescribed and recommended text lists are nineteenth-century texts. The second component to this research question asserts the difficulties associated with studying nineteenth-century literature. With texts that are between 100 to 200 years old, archaic language, unfamiliar settings, and mature, complex themes beyond the life experiences of teenagers pose problems for young adult readers (Miller 2017). The lack of historical and contextual knowledge of the nineteenth century and its social concerns may prove challenging for students who are navigating texts with vocabulary and structure disparate to contemporary works. Therefore, if such a significant proportion of nineteenth-century texts remain on compulsory text lists and these present unique challenges to twenty-first century secondary students, then it is essential for teachers to be aware the most engaging ways to teach them. In this study’s systematic literature review, an overview of engaging pedagogies for teaching literature did emerge, with prevalent examples including digital formats and online content, recovering the context and background of the period, drawing direct links to students’ real worlds, using critical inquiry or studies of genre, or visual and dramatic tasks. The most significant finding was the emergence of pedagogical philosophies which were at the core of this array of engaging strategies. Whilst not always explicit, prevalent underlying factors included: the importance of student choice and student-centred learning, differentiation in response to multicultural classrooms, as well as the teacher’s passion for literature and creative adaptability for interpretations of texts. Hence, this literature review manifested into the hypothesis: that the pedagogies which are built on and infuse every task with student choice, student-centred learning, diversity, a teacher’s own passion for literature and adaptability to creative interpretations are the most engaging practices for students, and are not bound to a specific period or type of content studied. Rather, it is the principles of engaging teaching that will always increase student engagement with all class content.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTeach) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2020
Description: This item is only available electronically.
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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