GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

September 2001


This article describes how political and ethical positioning in classroom discussions can be intertwined with productive conversations about the subject matter. Discussions of compelling literature can involve a tight linkage between the subject matter discussed and the ethical positions taken by students and teachers as they engage in productive classroom discussion. At the same time as they discuss literature in deliberate, rational, pedagogically productive ways, teachers and students also often adopt their own positions on political and ethical issues raised by the literature. This positioning is a form of action: it is not necessarily planned and sometimes not even conscious. This article illustrates such positioning, and shows how it can be interconnected with the subject matter, by analyzing one ninth grade English classroom discussion in an urban US high school.


Reprinted from Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, Volume 17, Issue 1-2, 2001, pages 47-64.
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Date Posted: 27 April 2007