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Performing Curriculum: Building Ethos Through Narratives in Pedagogical Discourse

by Mary M. Juzwik - 2006

This study examines the problem of how teachers establish desirable positions of authority in their classrooms. The interpretive analysis draws on insights from narrative theory in order to consider the following question: How does one teacher establish authority in her classroom through the means of narrative performance? I articulate a rhetorical framework for exploring this question, particularly elaborating the notion of ethos, defined as the rhetorical invention of one's identity for persuasive purposes. I also establish a performance perspective to the study of narrative in teaching. In analysis, I have systematically examined one artful teacher's corpus of narrative performances in a 6-week Holocaust unit. This article overviews the occurrence of narrative events throughout the unit, characterizes the frame space of narrative discourse in the classroom, elaborates the variance in emerging ethos through narrative performances, and identifies and interprets the different types of narrative events in the class. I find that narratives serve as a hybrid frame space, allowing this teacher to establish a dynamically negotiated, yet nonetheless authoritative, ethos that emerged in response to the content material and to students.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 4, 2006, p. 489-528
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12360, Date Accessed: 7/28/2021 4:33:13 PM

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About the Author
  • Mary Juzwik
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    MARY JUZWIK is assistant professor of Language and Literacy in the Teacher Education department at Michigan State University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, pedagogy, and discourse. Her current research, which theorizes and empirically examines “teaching as performance,” explores how rhetoric and the practices of literacy teaching illuminate one another. Recent publications include articles in College Composition and Communication and the Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.
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