Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



This dissertation draws on narrative, post-colonial, and curriculum theories to describe two book clubs in which twelve pre-service English teachers examined post-colonial young adult literature and explored the possibilities and challenges of using these texts in English Language Arts classrooms. The texts selected for the study focus on young protagonists of color living outside the cultural context of the U.S. because these narratives tend to be underrepresented in the international young adult literature market (Cart, 2010; Koss & Teale, 2009). The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the possibilities and challenges of using post-colonial young adult literature in education settings through examining such texts with pre-service teachers so that they might grapple with these ideas before they begin teaching and be in a better position to teach or recommend post-colonial young adult literature to their own students. The data collected for this dissertation included pre- and post-study questionnaires, participants’ written responses to each novel, audio recordings and transcriptions of each book club discussion, and field notes of each book club meeting. Using narrative analysis methods, I first coded this data thematically to generate categories across all data sources. However, as group discussions involved multiple narratives and speakers, I also used a dialogic approach (Riessman, 2008) to examine conversations in which participants discussed a topic in depth in response to an event described in the novel. The findings revealed that participants used a variety of strategies to establish meaningful connections for themselves across cultures. Participants used the novels to articulate and sometimes revise their understandings of post-colonial concerns such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and prejudice. They used the space of the book clubs to pool together their knowledge to form a collective learning environment. As pre-service teachers who were less than a year away from starting their careers, participants were concerned with how they might make post-colonial young adult novels relevant to their students’ lives while also expanding students’ global awareness. Taken together, these findings support the idea that reading and discussing post-colonial young adult literature in a book club setting can offer some critical and potentially transformative insights for pre-service teachers and, perhaps by extension, for their future students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Asher, Nina



Included in

Education Commons