Reading Acts: An Inquiry into Reading and Teaching Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Sams, Brandon
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This text performs reading for teaching in an audit culture. Two teachers, myself and Steven, read the memoir Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos and, while reading, recorded our experiences as readers and planned to teach the book to Steven's English class. This study is an inquiry into the phenomenon of reading to teach, particularly how this mode of reading at once deploys and departs from other modes of reading, such as aesthetic, efferent, and critical postures of engagement. In its anticipation of teaching, this text teaches about how teachers read texts, the aesthetic contours of pedagogy, and how readers and teachers negotiate of inner vision with outer form. I have chosen to write what follows as a kind of memoir that reflects the primary mode of expression offered by the memoir that we read and taught. This research memoir, an elaborated phenomenology, recounts and thinks through what happened as we read, planned, and taught the text. This is also an account of an intellectual, teaching relationship that has taught me much in return about collaboration, what it means to read, and what it means to teach. As Taubman argues (2009), audit cultures in which teachers currently practice minimize opportunities for sustained reflection and thoughtful collaboration. As the time and rhythms of teaching are more externally monitored and controlled through testing and teaching-by-numbers curriculum guides, it becomes difficult to reflect on and practice through ambiguous but vital pedagogical questions. What does it mean to read books in solitude and with others? What responsibilities, possibilities or anxieties does the pedagogical relation offer to (or demand of) reading? How does reflective reading, teaching and research - in the context of friendship - see beyond the limits of audit culture? In what ways are teachers always, already performing these limitations even as they desire to disrupt them? This study raises such questions. I hope that the reader of this text may find it generative of new ways of creating a classroom as a commonplace: a place of common reading occasioned by and leading to deepened understanding of what we can know together.
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  • In Copyright
  • Grumet, Madeleine
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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