Repository logo

An epistemological approach to literature: creating a paradigm for literary study in the IB Language A1 classroom




Hunt, Tiffany J., author
Reid, Louann, advisor
O'Donnell-Allen, Cindy, committee member
Carlson, Laurie A., committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


This study arose from one educator's interest in finding a way to help students more fully understand both what they are being asked to do in an International Baccalaureate Higher Level Language A1 course, and the principles on which these expectations are founded. The desire to clarify this for students rests on a foundational assumption that students are likely to perform better when aware of the philosophical guiding principles of a discipline and where they are to locate themselves among a number of possible ways to analyze literature. The study is primarily concerned with presenting these philosophical underpinnings to students in a manner that is accessible and achievable given the many other demands of the course, and whether this framework is useful in furthering student achievement. As a classroom teacher, I conducted action research to this end, using initial and exit surveys to measure student perception and whether these perceptions changed. I also observed students in class and in individual conferences, and conducted a case study of three students' major written work for the course, coding for evidence of different ways of analyzing literature. The study ultimately revealed that students did not fully understand, at the beginning of the school year, what modes of literary analysis were most appropriate for achieving well in the IB Language A1. Students' understanding improved over the course of the school year, evident both in the survey findings and in student work, though it remains unclear what role the framework, or paradigm, may or may not have played in this. More research, conducted with a greater number of students in a wider array of contexts, is necessary to more meaningfully explore the value of the paradigm and best practices for helping students to understand fully what exactly they are being asked to do in analyzing literature.


Rights Access


teaching literature
literary analysis


Associated Publications