The aesthetic and efferent pedagogical stances and perspectives of high school English teachers during the study of literature

Date

2001-08

Authors

Patton, Jo Ann

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Abstract

Louise Rosenblatt's (1978, 1995b) transactional reading theory provided the framework for this qualitative study designed to explore the aesthetic and efferent pedagogical stances and perspectives of 10 high school English teachers during the study of literature. Research was conducted during the spring semester of the 1999–2000 school year in four high schools in a Texas public school district. Three questions guided the study focusing on the aesthetic and efferent stances the teachers manifested during classroom observations, their perspectives reported during interviews, and a comparison between their observed stances and reported perspectives.

Two primary sources provided data: transcriptions of classroom observation field notes of each teacher's regular English class and transcriptions of an in-depth audiotaped interview with each teacher. Two secondary sources provided background and corroboration of the primary sources: instructional artifacts and the researcher's journal.

Analyses of observation transcripts rendered identification of idea units and the emergence of 8 categories. Idea units in 2 of these categories, Aesthetic and Efferent, were then placed into 2 Aesthetic sub-categories and 10 Efferent sub-categories. Codes, definitions, examples, and explanations were developed for categories and sub-categories. Findings of the teachers' classroom oral communication overwhelmingly indicated the preponderance of an efferent stance within a traditional transmission classroom with limited attention given to an aesthetic stance.

Analyses of interview transcripts rendered the teachers' reported aesthetic and efferent perspectives. Teachers discussed and ranked the priority of five dimensions of literary study, and most teachers indicated the aesthetic dimension of literature to be a higher priority than the efferent dimension. Teachers reported having minimal or no awareness of Rosenblatt's transactional reading theory and reader response. Findings from observation and interview transcripts were compared and revealed a distinct contradiction between the teachers' limited aesthetic oral communication in the classroom and their reporting the aesthetic dimension to be a high priority during interviews.

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Keywords

Education, Aesthetic, Efferent, English, High school, Literature, Reader response, Teachers, Transactional reading

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