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From the Boundaries: Rhetoric and Knowledge in Secondary English Classrooms

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This article describes the stance that a rhetorical English teacher adopts, in order to respond more flexibly to the student who operates from the boundaries of our classrooms, our pedagogy and our theoretical investments. It is suggested that when we welcome these boundary dwellers, far from disrupting our practice, we prompt civic discourse and so we constitute the unique practice of English teachers. The article pursues a question from one such boundary dweller – a 14-year-old boy – who asks, ‘why should I study English?’ – and suggests that if teachers can use the rhetorical posture of mĂȘtis and the power of a student question, we can generate new knowledge and so more effectively answer this question.
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Keywords: civic engagement; collaborative learning; hermeneutics; pedagogy; questions; rhetoric

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education and Social Work,University of Sydney, Australia

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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