Negotiating the political minefield of English language arts: a critical perspective

Hynes, Abigail April (2008) Negotiating the political minefield of English language arts: a critical perspective. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In 2001, senior high English Language Arts (ELA) teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador witnessed the introduction of a new ELA curriculum that, to many, was viewed as a dramatic shift in theory, content, and methodology. However, a review of the history of education and the teaching of English (in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as globally) reveals that, while much remains the same, there have been continual reformulations of ELA programs since the inception of English as a subject in the nineteenth century. To better understand the most recent incarnation of the ELA program, it may be beneficial for teachers not only to review the history of English as a subject (see Chapter One) and of education in Newfoundland and Labrador (see Chapter Two) which reveal the political and ideological nature of "English teaching," but also to consider the diverse cultural, economic, and social dynamics that exist in Newfoundland and Labrador (see Chapter Three) which may provide insight about where our students are coming from, what they need, and where they hope to go. From here, an examination of current ELA Foundation and curriculum documents (see Chapter Four), which reflect the most recent modifications to the delivery of ELA programs, will uncover the remnants of earlier formulations of the subject as well as the existence of contending, and often contradictory, ideological forces that continue to influence and be influenced by the study of ELA. There are no simple answers (nor should there be) to the overwhelming problems of attempting to resolve the contradictions in the curriculum documents; to meet the needs of our students' diverse, complex, and hybrid identities; and to reconcile the contending ideological forces that pervade our classrooms. Yet, we must not concede helplessness nor plead ignorance. Facilitating awareness, in ourselves and our students, becomes the first step in meeting these challenges head on and working towards an ELA program that is more democratic and beneficial to all our students (see Chapter Five).

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8875
Item ID: 8875
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 278-294)
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2008
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: English language--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Newfoundland and Labrador; Language arts (Secondary)--Curricula--Newfoundland and Labrador

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