Voices from the prairie : English teachers' relationship to prairie literature

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Chomany, Laurie
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1998
This study is an exploration of the traditions of and the appreciation afforded prairie authorship by Alberta high school English teachers. It is a search for the factors which determine teachers' understanding and use of the regional voice that expresses Western Canada. Although there have been studies on the use of Canadian literature in the Canadian school system, the study of Western Canadian literature in relationship to the classroom is a very new field. It is hoped that there are some valuable components in this study which will add insight and information to the study of regionalism in the English curriculum, and that it will provoke in teachers some thoughtful consideration of using prairie literature in the classroom. The literature review is composed of two parts. The first part of the study researches the literary patterns that emerge in post-colonial nations and reveals similar patterns emerging in Western Canadian literature. The second part of the review situates prairie literature within the history of Canadian literature and subsequently the formation of the Canadian canon. The social and historical events which have affected Canadian literary style and influenced the origins and development of regional literature are considered. The field study component of the thesis includes interviews with four experienced Alberta high school teachers. The dialogue is recorded and the content analyzed for patterns and themes. The study highlights some realities of practice and practitioners in Alberta high schools. Certain themes that evolved from the interviews led to some principal findings. Reluctance to use prairie literature in classrooms appeared to be embedded in themes which emerged as oppression of voice, the classical canon, the backgrounds of the teachers and the dilemma of identifying the authentic prairie voice. The study may provide teachers with an insight to the factors that suppress the use of prairie literature in Alberta schools, and an understanding of the importance of speaking proudly from and about Western Canadian narrative.
vi, 109 leaves ; 28 cm. --
English literature -- Study and teaching -- Alberta , English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Alberta , Canadian literature -- Study and teaching (Secondary) , Canadian literature (English) -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Canada, Western