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EDSE 629


Mondays 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Instructor: Dr. Ingrid Johnston

Office: 445 Education South

Phone: 492-5639 (Office); 458-4806 (Home)

E-mail: ingrid.johnston@ualberta.ca

Office Hours: Mon/Wed: 1.30 to 3:00 p.m. and by appointment

Course Overview

This graduate course offers opportunities for in-depth critical explorations of theoretical and research issues related to reading and teaching literary texts. These will include a variety of approaches to literary theories and emerging issues and questions in the field of English language arts teaching, curriculum and theory.

Students will be expected to participate in class activities and seminar discussions using a variety of texts and materials related to theoretical and pedagogical issues in the teaching of literature, and also to develop a particular focus on a related research area of personal interest. Topics might include: questions of changing literacies; multi-media/technology in the classroom; literature and the visual arts; in-depth explorations of a particular research approach; teaching multicultural literature; school literary canons; questions of race/class/gender in the English classroom; contemporary literary theories and their potential for teaching language arts; new approaches to poetry teaching; evaluating language arts; new questions of reader-response for the 21st century.

Texts and Fees

There are no required texts for the course, but you may receive a package of readings for a photocopying fee of $20. A small number of recommended texts dealing with issues related to reading and teaching literary texts have been ordered in the bookstore.

Policy Information

Grading: This course follows the university guidelines for graduate course grading on a nine-point scale.

Inclusive Language: This course supports Faculty policy of using non-discriminatory language that works to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background.


Assignments and Evaluation

Class Presentation, Pre-Reading Article and Handout: 50 %

(sign-up times will be available by the third class)

Individually, or in groups of two to three, select an area of interest to you related to theory and research in reading and teaching literature. This could be a research question connected to an aspect of teaching, a discussion of the pedagogical possibilities of a particular theory, a new area of interest for you in the field, or a re-visiting of a familiar issue through a new theoretical lens. You will have opportunities during class to consider a variety of texts that may offer insight into your topic and you will also be expected to do some independent exploration into the area.

Pre-Reading article for class:

Select one article that you feel offers insight into and/or raises controversial questions about your chosen topic. Bring copies for your classmates one week prior to your presentation.


Decide on a presentation format that will effectively explore your chosen topic and that will actively involve class members. (through discussion, or through some kind of activity (reading /writing/ multi-media /drama etc.)

You will have an hour for your presentation. If you prefer to do a joint presentation, you may have one and three-quarter hours to present together.

Presentation Evaluation: (25 marks)

Your presentation will be marked on both the content and the presentation during class.

The content should be well-organized and show evidence of critical reading and research into your chosen topic (15).

Your presentation should employ a variety of techniques that will actively engage the class in an exploration and critique of your chosen area (10).


Develop a handout to duplicate for the class that will present an overview of your chosen topic and the resources you have found in the area. Offer a brief description of texts/materials that you found to be of particular interest for you as a teacher/researcher and that offer some possible teaching strategies in the area. Include a bibliography of your resources.

Handout Evaluation: (25 marks)

The handout should be well-organized and focused on information relevant to your topic (10).

It should reflect sensitivity to your audience, have a professional appearance and offer useful and relevant pedagogical strategies. It should include a bibliography that enables readers to pursue further research into the area (15).

Paper: 50%

(due on the last day of class)

Write a paper on a topic of your choice related to research or theory related to reading and teaching literature. If you wish to consider an issue similar to the topic of your presentation ensure that you develop a new perspective or consider a different question related to the issue. Write the paper as a first draft for a future journal article (perhaps for Alberta English, English Quarterly, English Journal, College English) and select an appropriate style for your potential audience.

Paper Evaluation: (50 marks)

Your paper will be evaluated on the coherent development of your ideas and your insight into your chosen topic (25), on the organization and clarity of the paper (15), and on form and style choices (10).