Personal response or critical response in secondary english discussions
A linguistic analysis
Whole Class Text Response Discussions (WCTRD) are pervasive in secondary English and represent one site in which students can learn to adopt the habits of critical thought that are promoted in state and national Curriculum documents. In this study, the phasal structures (Gregory and Malcolm 1981) of a variety of such WCTRDs in Australian secondary English classrooms were examined. It was found that teachers in such WCTRDs regularly made limited selections from the available pool of phases, such selections regularly scaffolding a narrow range of literate and moral skills, but offering little support for the development of critical and analytical response. Such results suggest that despite a shift at an academic and professional development level towards more critically-oriented models of text response, day-to-day discursive practice in some secondary English classrooms in Australia is still very much grounded in Reader Response practices (Iser 1978) that contribute to the development of morally compliant citizens. One WCTRD was selected for closer analysis of how the textual, experiential and interpersonal meanings (Halliday 1994) operated to privilege students’ ‘personal response’ over critical response. Through the examination of Transitivity and Conversational Structural choices in particular, a picture was provided of how this WCTRD was structured to encourage students to rehearse previously appropriated ideologies, rather than to critically or analytically interrogate these ideologies.
Published online: 01 January 2000
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Cited by 1 other publications
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