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Engaging Students in Literature Circles: Vocational English Reading Programs

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Abstract

This article reports the findings of ethnographic classroom research on the deployment of literature circles in English reading classes in the vocational secondary education sector in Indonesia. Grounded in micro-interactional, thematic, and discourse analyses, empirical findings showed that the students engaged actively in text selection, role assignment, and text meaning making through sharing-and-discussion sessions. Empirical data also revealed that they could learn a wide array of lexico-grammar through discussing chosen texts with others. This group discussion activity also paves the way for sharing and discussing both content knowledge (vocational subjects) and genre and lexico-grammatical features. This suggests that literature circles could promote students’ content knowledge and language learning enrichment. Through role scaffolding by teachers and peer support, students could not only explore varied features of the language—e.g., how lexico-grammar was used in context through texts but also enrich their content knowledge. This empirical evidence supports the use of the literature circles in intensive reading programs in order to engage students in collaborative learning and to build a learning community in which teachers play a pivotal role as a guide throughout the literature circle process.

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Acknowledgments

This Research Project was fully funded by the University of Adelaide, Australia. I am grateful to the school and to the participants who volunteered to participate in the Research Project. My sincere thanks also go to my PhD supervisors, Dr. Peter Mickan, and Dr. John Walsh for their continued personal and professional support. I wish to thank two anonymous reviewers and Dr. Icy Lee for their insightful feedback on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Handoyo Puji Widodo.

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Widodo, H.P. Engaging Students in Literature Circles: Vocational English Reading Programs. Asia-Pacific Edu Res 25, 347–359 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-015-0269-7

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