Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Feinstein School of Education and Human Development

Department (Manual Entry)

Education Doctoral Program

Date of Original Version



Using the social constructivist lens, I frame a call for action that advocates for the use of critical literacy and a protocol for discussion in the English language arts classroom. Salon authentic discussion will present teachers with a powerful new pedagogy for critical literacy instruction in the secondary ELA classroom especially in this critical time when standards and accountability for both students and teachers is being redefined.

As a teacher-researcher, I am in the best position to investigate how students can become equipped to meet proficiency in speaking and listening a standards based era. Using grounded theory methodology, I examine authentic discussion that has the power to stir controversy, recognize the claims of others, and continually engage participants in the search for identity and meaning (Ayers, 2004).

An investigation into the literature reveals the difficulties associated with conducting authentic discussion as well as the gap in the literature that provides educators with the necessary ingredients for its success. Grounded theory emerges in an argument advocating the use of a combination of literary theory, social motivation, Accountable Talk, and critical literacy that can be used to best prepare senior high school students for authentic literary discussion. Most importantly, the study’s findings point to the need to make students comfortable in the classroom, finding ways to allay their fears of embarrassment, and ensuring that social justice and tolerance is integral part of the classroom community.