Author ORCID Identifier : Susan Holloway

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Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal





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Critical Literacy, power, fiction, hegemony, teacher education programs


Fictional literature provides a vehicle for students to discuss power issues and thus achieve a better understanding of identity politics and systemic barriers that shape people‟s lives. This paper examines the use of fiction to explore difficult issues such as race, gender, culture, power, and privilege, and ways to promote these kinds of discussions amongst teacher candidates. The kinds of ethical dilemmas often posed in works of fiction complicate what our notion of power is, who produces it, and how it is disseminated or regulated. My argument characterizes the kinds of subtle and more explicit rhetoric used by teacher candidates who prefer a neo-liberal stance, and I critique the logical fallacies which undermine prejudiced viewpoints. If teacher candidates are able to experience firsthand the power of literary discussions to mediate and negotiate their own views held on certain issues, it is more likely they will use literature themselves as a tool to discuss contentious issues with their own future high school students, rather than shying away from these matters altogether, or allowing their own unchallenged biases to impede interactions with their students. Finally, I provide a few practical suggestions around literary texts and strategies for the professor whose area is not English Language Arts, yet wishes to engage his/her teacher candidates in these kinds of dialogues.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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