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What Is Effective Literature Instruction?
A Study of Experienced High School English Teachers in Differing Grade- and Ability-Level Classes

Jane Agee

ABSTRACT

This study examined how experienced high school English teachers defined and gauged effective literature instruction as well as how their perspectives affected their students' experiences with literature. The research focused on 3 questions: (a) How did these teachers define effective literature instruction? (b) What kinds of evidence did they look for to gauge their effectiveness? and (c) How did their perceptions of effective literature instruction inform their decisions about texts and ways of reading them with students in different grade and ability-level classes? Profiles of 5 teachers showed that they used differing models for literature instruction against which they gauged their effectiveness. Flexible, student-centered models allowed teachers to address differences among students. Inflexible, teacher-centered models often limited teachers' ability to address student needs effectively. The kinds of models the teachers used determined whether or not they were willing to listen to feedback from students and to use it to make changes in their literature curriculum.

* Journal of Literacy Research, 32(3), pp. 303-348, 2000.

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