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Of monsters and mayhem: Teaching suspense stories in a Singapore classroom

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Author(s): Teo, Peter | Kramer-Dahl, Anneliese

Journal: Journal of Writing Research
ISSN 2030-1006

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 19;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: suspense stories | classroom discourse | intellectual quality | Singapore

ABSTRACT
This paper draws on the findings of a three-year, observation-cum-intervention research project that focuses on the textual practices of middle school teachers in Singapore. Specifically, the focus here is on the teaching of suspense narratives to a class of average, lower middle school students as part of the 'text-type' syllabus adopted in Singapore's schools since 2001. The paper will reveal, through close analysis of a unit of work and two lesson transcripts, how one English teacher constructs, scaffolds and implements a series of lessons to develop her students' awareness of and competency in the construction and deconstruction of suspense in narrative writing. It argues that it is the teacher's ability to make use of connected learnings and explicit instruction to raise the overall intellectual quality of her lessons that contributes to the development of her students' textual competence. The paper closes with a critical appraisal of the lessons and a discussion of the implications this study has for writing teachers and researchers
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