The fiction of telling: working in the potential space of reading and teaching Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Osmond, Christopher R.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The North Carolina Standard Course of Study can be conceptualized as a grid of objectives and expectations within which the daily work of public school teachers takes place. Overlaying this grid on the high school literature curriculum is much like overlaying a grid on a topographical map: the grid defines both itself and the spaces between its lines. But the map is never the territory. Part of a teacher's work is navigating the interstices of the grid - figuring out what really exists on the actual ground between the lines and deciding how best to traverse that terrain with her students as it becomes visible. This study explores the energies that reading activates in students' and teachers' private selves and the relationship between those private experiences and the public ones they have when they "talk about the reading" in their classrooms. It also explores the choices literature teachers make when they teach reading. What is the role of high school literature teachers' "off the grid" lives in their "on the grid" practice of reading books with students? The study's principal data are conversations with three English teachers from three public high schools in North Carolina. The diverse literatures of psychoanalysis, social theory, reader response theory, performance theory, and teacher autobiography are explored as hermeneutic lenses. The concept of jouissance helps explicate both the role of pleasure in the classroom and its unique relationship with text. The tension between "complicated" and "complex" understandings of language, the liminal and performative aspects of pedagogical choices, and the relationships of teachers to their institutional authority (here posited as "complicity") are also explored. The educative opportunities that exist in these "potential spaces" are revealed to have profound implications for preservice and inservice teacher education as well as larger policy issues.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Grumet, Madeleine
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.