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Teachers’ interpretations of texts-image juxtapositions in textbooks: From the concrete to the abstract

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The paper examined expert literature teachers’ coping with a novel textbook, integrating literature with visual arts, which is a particular interdisciplinary case of text-image relations in textbooks. Examination was performed within the framework of teachers’ responses to curricular changes and of theory regarding strategies of interdisciplinary instruction. Data regarding teachers’ coping was collected via video recorded deep interviews and analysed qualitatively using the phenomenological approach. Findings revealed four phases of a recurring pattern of performance: (a) retrieving prior knowledge about texts, (b) cycles of processing and refinement (comprising comparing-identifying-matching, making meaning of elements in contexts, eliciting themes and deeply examining artworks’ devices), (c) mindful evaluation of the juxtaposition, and (d) pedagogical reasoning. Four potential roles of the textbook visual artworks, for promoting literature learning, were inferred. The study shed some light on the involvement of teacher cognition and culture of teaching in the reading, evaluating, and adapting of novel curricula. A deeper understanding of the factors involved in the introduction of novel materials, examined from a cognitive perspective, may inform teachers’ professional development and curriculum developers as well as promote implementations of curricular reforms.
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Keywords: curriculum; curriculum change; humanities; junior high; language and visual arts; middle school; pedagogical considerations; teacher interpretation; teachers; teachers cognition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2012

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