Title page for ETD etd-04262012-195539

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Durand, Elizabeth Sybil
URN etd-04262012-195539
Title Examining the Curricular and Pedagogical Challenges and Possibilities of Post-colonial Young Adult Literature: A Narrative Inquiry of Book Clubs with Pre-service Teachers
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Asher, Nina Committee Chair
Bach, Jacqueline Committee Co-Chair
Egea-Kuehne, Denise Committee Member
Otero, Solimar Committee Member
Fernanderz-Palacios, Christian Dean's Representative
  • post-colonial
  • young adult literature
  • narrative inquiry
  • book clubs
  • pre-service teachers
Date of Defense 2012-04-26
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation draws on narrative, post-colonial, and curriculum theories to describe two book clubs in which twelve pre-service English teachers examined post-colonial young adult literature and explored the possibilities and challenges of using these texts in English Language Arts classrooms. The texts selected for the study focus on young protagonists of color living outside the cultural context of the U.S. because these narratives tend to be underrepresented in the international young adult literature market (Cart, 2010; Koss & Teale, 2009). The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the possibilities and challenges of using post-colonial young adult literature in education settings through examining such texts with pre-service teachers so that they might grapple with these ideas before they begin teaching and be in a better position to teach or recommend post-colonial young adult literature to their own students.

The data collected for this dissertation included pre- and post-study questionnaires, participantsí written responses to each novel, audio recordings and transcriptions of each book club discussion, and field notes of each book club meeting. Using narrative analysis methods, I first coded this data thematically to generate categories across all data sources. However, as group discussions involved multiple narratives and speakers, I also used a dialogic approach (Riessman, 2008) to examine conversations in which participants discussed a topic in depth in response to an event described in the novel.

The findings revealed that participants used a variety of strategies to establish meaningful connections for themselves across cultures. Participants used the novels to articulate and sometimes revise their understandings of post-colonial concerns such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and prejudice. They used the space of the book clubs to pool together their knowledge to form a collective learning environment. As pre-service teachers who were less than a year away from starting their careers, participants were concerned with how they might make post-colonial young adult novels relevant to their studentsí lives while also expanding studentsí global awareness. Taken together, these findings support the idea that reading and discussing post-colonial young adult literature in a book club setting can offer some critical and potentially transformative insights for pre-service teachers and, perhaps by extension, for their future students.

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