Reading and teaching prose texts in senior secondary English classes.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts (Hons)
This study considers three different aspects of the teaching of prose texts in New Zealand's senior secondary English classes. Firstly, the study reports the findings of a survey of the prose texts currently being used in Years 11, 12 and 13 and the processes of texts selection at 47 area and secondary schools. Secondly, I address the issues of curriculum change and the inclusiveness of the English curriculum, focusing particularly on those issues pertaining to gender and culture. The third focus of this thesis examines some theories of literacy and the methods teachers are utilising to teach prose texts in secondary schools in the late 1990s. The survey showed that schools are using a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and short story titles and these include a mixture of texts from the Western literary canon and texts by modern authors. While the quality of writing proved to be the most popular criteria for the selection of new texts the HODs also mentioned that books were being selected because they were written by New Zealanders and/or that they portrayed strong female characters, thus addressing some of the culture and gender issues raised in the English curriculum. Teachers are being encouraged, and pre-service teachers are being trained, to put reader-response and critical literacy theories into practice in their classrooms, and these teaching methods also seek to make classrooms inclusive for all students.