The Texts We Teach: A Study of Canon Formation Processes at Christian Secondary Schools
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The pedagogical canons at Christian schools are formed by the systematic interaction of theoretical and pragmatic factors. And although demographics, finances, and parental pressure do affect text selection, the methods by and degree of trust with which the schools’ curricular beliefs about literature are transmitted from party to party have more of an influence over text selection than any other factor. Schools with written philosophies tend to have intentional and deliberate processes for making sure that all parties understand curricular philosophy regarding literature, and the official text selection processes at these schools tend to be committee oriented. Schools without written philosophies, however, give much more autonomy to the teacher, both in terms of philosophy and actual text selection process. The text selection process, then, is the nexus where these interrelated and sometimes competing factors meet and collide. However, due to inherent instability in both formal and informal text selection processes, the processes of the schools are moving away from polar extremes and more towards a more sustainable center.
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