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Abstract

Despite the complex and evolving ways in which contemporary texts are produced, mediated, circulated, and engaged, secondary English texts in the United States remain predominantly canonical and paper-based. Why such a resolutely stable classroom canon, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century a singular medium? While the answer to this question is no doubt far-reaching and complex, in situated classroom practice teacher beliefs are one important component of curriculum conceptualization and implementation. Belief is a uniquely resilient form of meaning making, and English teacher beliefs about the purposes of school and of their subject, and about the relevance and function of literature, are crucial pieces in the construction of secondary English texts and curriculum. This project draws on ethnographic research to explore how teacher beliefs inform the construction of and purposes for English texts in one secondary English department. This paper will briefly overview components of belief and the significance of the secondary department, discuss the project context and method, and analyze the project data in light of belief structures.

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