About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 5545
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

WITH PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES: TURNING STUDENT RESISTANCE TO READING INTO READING RESILIENCE

J. Seaboyer1, R. Kennedy2, K. Douglas3, A. Poletti4

1University of Queensland (AUSTRALIA)
2Australian National University (AUSTRALIA)
3Flinders University (AUSTRALIA)
4Monash University (AUSTRALIA)
A colleague who teaches literary studies in the U.K. commented recently that if he dared to set texts students found difficult, confronting, or simply too long, they would came to class “armed with pitchforks and torches.” His experience is echoed in numerous international publications that report that while students tend to be adept readers of visual texts, they lack the skills necessary to come to terms with non-visual texts, especially those that are rhetorically or structurally complex, or that address experiences outside their own. We have all encountered the student who defends not completing the set reading with “I didn’t understand the language,” or “I couldn’t relate to the [insert: eighteenth-century/Aboriginal/immigrant/Muslim/elderly/traumatised] protagonist.”
The scholarly literature shows the blockage that prevents students from finding a way in to a text to be widespread, but there are no recent studies that document either the reasons for the failure to persevere or a systematic response that might persuade students to lay down their pitchforks in favour of a set of skills that will render them more resilient readers. We have begun to experiment with a program of formative assessment that includes regular 300-word guided critical responses to set reading that are submitted online before each lecture. The critical responses prepare the student for the lecture, and the lecture itself provides instant feedback that is followed up by online written feedback that engages closely with intellectual ideas, as well as with the quality of the argument, grammar, expression, and so on. The results of our work so far have been more successful than we had dared to hope. Students submit work on time, they come to class ready and keen to participate, and a considerable proportion show a marked improvement in reading and writing complex texts.
This paper comes out of an ongoing Australian Learning and Teaching Council project, “Building Reading Resilience: Developing a Skills-Based Approach to Literary Studies,” based in four Australian research universities. At this stage in our research we would appreciate feedback from the international scholarly community, and we are keen to begin the process of disseminating our findings.
@InProceedings{SEABOYER2011WIT,
author = {Seaboyer, J. and Kennedy, R. and Douglas, K. and Poletti, A.},
title = {WITH PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES: TURNING STUDENT RESISTANCE TO READING INTO READING RESILIENCE},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {5545}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Seaboyer AU - R. Kennedy AU - K. Douglas AU - A. Poletti
TI - WITH PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES: TURNING STUDENT RESISTANCE TO READING INTO READING RESILIENCE
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 5545
EP - 5545
ER -
J. Seaboyer, R. Kennedy, K. Douglas, A. Poletti (2011) WITH PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES: TURNING STUDENT RESISTANCE TO READING INTO READING RESILIENCE, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, p. 5545.
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