Supplementing Narratives: A Pedagogical and Norm-Critical Discussion of How To Teach James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room in the EFL Classroom

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Sammanfattning: The aim with this essay is to examine the implications of norm-critical pedagogy in language education. The novel "Giovanni’s Room" by James Baldwin is used as an example of how supplementing narratives, both in the sense of adding ‘othered’ stories but also reading in challenging ways, can be suitable for this aim. In relation to this, paradoxes behind literary instruction and norm-critical pedagogy in the EFL classroom are discussed. In relation to both these aspects of language teaching there is a risk that the way teaching is carried out might contradict what such teaching aims for. Within the context of literary instruction the advantages of the concepts of ‘creative reading’ and ‘envisionment building’ are discussed in order to create a greater involvement of students’ reader response in teaching. In relation to norm-critical pedagogy, a double strategy is used, with the aim of strengthening marginalized groups or voices, at the same time as the norms that create their marginalized position are criticized. Regarding the choice and value of literature in the EFL setting, the potential of the literary text as representation of a particular voice among the many voices of a society is emphasized rather than its assumed authenticity, since the former points out the positionality of both text and reader. The essay concludes that teaching can benefit from acknowledging the paradoxes behind literary and norm-critical teaching and examining the norm-critical strengths and weaknesses of teaching certain texts in certain ways.

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