Interrupting Gendered Discursive Practices in Classroom Talk about Texts: Easy to Think About, Difficult to Do

Donna E. Alvermann, Michelle Commeyras, Josephine P. Young, Sally Randall, David Hinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This study focused on us — a group of university — and school-based teacher researchers and observers — as we attempted to alter or interrupt certain gendered discursive practices that threatened to reproduce some of the same inequities in classroom talk about texts that we had noted in the past, but had not challenged. A feminist theoretical framework guided our use of gender as a lens for examining how particular power relations operating in our classrooms governed how students interacted in their discussions of assigned subject-matter texts. Fieldnotes, transcripts of videotaped text-based discussions, and interviews with students were collected in a graduate-level content-literacy class, a 7th-grade language arts class, and an 8th-grade language arts class. Transcripts of weekly research meetings and narrative vignettes that summarized a series of observations and interviews resulted in multiple layers of data. The findings reported from analyzing these data focus on 4 types of interactions: self-deprecating, discriminatory, and exclusionary talk; and talk that reflected our desire for teacher neutrality. Narrative analyses were used to reveal the difficulties we encountered in understanding and interpreting gendered discursive practices and the insights we gained from studying ourselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-104
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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