Patterns in text authorship and teachers’ diversification efforts: International-mindedness in US-based Diploma Programme English A Literature classes

Sarah Lillo—Southeast Missouri State University (United States)

This study had two aims: to establish demographic patterns in the authorship of texts taught in US-based DP English A Literature courses, and to explore factors that influence teachers’ curricular choices/abilities to diversify their curriculum. Taught text lists from 100 classes and interviews with 20 teachers were analyzed. Findings indicate that most taught texts were authored by white males from either North America or North Europe; very few were authored by individuals from Asia, Oceania, or Africa. Teachers identified the most pressing factors in their text choices as: logistical considerations, their own interests, their students’ interests, aims of expanding students’ worldviews, thematic cohesion, perceived pressure to teach “good” literature, formal DP assessments, and other curricular guidelines provided by another program, the school, the district, or the state. Teachers noted four related obstacles to diversifying syllabi: a relative lack of exposure to works from other parts of the world, the time involved in developing new curriculum materials for less widely taught texts, constraints within the formal DP course guidelines, and gaps in their cultural knowledge. This report argues that additional support is needed to help teachers overcome such gaps and that supports can target particular factors or challenges identified in this study.

Full report pdf