Studying Literary Texts: The Learning Process

Pedagogic research, Student experience, Student portfolios, Victorian literature


‘I don’t think I will ever read a book again in the way I did before!’

What do we ‘do’ when studying Literature? What learning processes take place? Undergraduate Educational Studies students have been finding out in a module that explores the nature of learning in the specific context of studying literary texts and taking part in the conversations that constitute literary studies. They have read complex texts, thought critically about them, and reflected on their own reading practice. This has enabled them to cultivate awareness of not only the requirements of literary study but also the generic learning skills involved.

Background / Context

I am a part-time tutor in the Department of English and Related Literature at York. I was invited by the Department of Educational Studies to write a new module for Education undergraduates, one that would be centrally placed within the ‘education through literature’ theme, but also have thematic links with the ‘learning and education’ category. I decided that the nature of learning could be explored in the specific context of studying literary texts and taking part in the conversations that constitute literary studies. The broad learning outcome would be that, through the subject discipline of English Literature, students would read complex texts, think critically about those texts, and reflect on their own reading practice. They thereby would cultivate awareness of the requirements of literary study and the generic learning skills involved.

The study of literature begins from the inward response, the imaginative consciousness of what one has experienced in the process of reading. That consciousness is formed primarily in the response to the text, and gives rise to the processes of thinking and writing about it. The student of literature has to be objective, and is expected to learn a wide range of critical terms and ideas. S/he needs to understand the technical terms and broader critical vocabulary as instruments of analysis and interpretation of literary texts, and then use them to organise and present an informed critical response.

The active learner in literary studies is interested in and asks questions about words, and is concerned in general with the verbal expression of thought and feeling. S/he needs time to clarify, elaborate, describe, and compare the experiences of reading, thinking and writing, both individually and through group discussion. Self-awareness processes, using particular strategies which hinge on generic learning skills such as self-questioning, reflection and recording, help to plan, monitor, orchestrate and control the student’s learning, thereby leading to greater efficiency and more successful outcomes.

Specific intended learning outcomes

students were encouraged to:

  • think of themselves as active learners;
  • have a close knowledge of some standard school/college literary texts in verse, prose narrative, and drama;
  • develop a sense of the rhetorical relationship between author and reader;
  • possess an understanding of the distinction between the text and what goes on in the reader’s mind;
  • experience the way in which different individual responses affect their own interpretation;
  • acquire some knowledge of the critical and theoretical vocabularies used in the study of texts;
  • reflect on literature and reading practice in the learning process of children and adults.

Activities / Practice

Key skills

Students followed an intensive course of directed reading, worked on their own account, kept a written learning log to share with the group, and communicated effectively, in writing and by initiating and participating in informed discussion. Formative assessment was one short piece of written work, produced during the term and delivered as a seminar paper to the group; procedural assessment lay in seminar performance; summative assessment was the final submission of written work, an essay of 3-5000 words. This was assessed in line with the intended learning outcomes listed above. The course was building on theoretical frameworks some students were already familiar with from elsewhere on their degree; but this was not essential as a supplementary list was provided.


An outline of the 2-hour sessions week by week for 9 weeks. A course handbook was provided with individual session notes and lists of required reading.

Session 1: Introduction to the module and to each other.

Establishment of learning logs and ground-rules. Verse (I): Introduction to close reading.

Primary Text:

Rhys Jones, Gryff. (1996). The Nation’s Favourite Poems.Selected verse.


(i) Attridge, Derek. (2003). ‘Ethics, Otherness, and Literary Form’,The European Messenger, Vol.XII/1,Spring 2003, 33-38.

(ii) Holly, Mary Louise. (1989). Writing to Grow: Keeping a Personal and Professional Journal. Heinemann.

(iii) Abrams, M. H. (1999). A Glossary of Literary Terms,7th ed. Holt and Rinehart.

Session 2: Learning logs and reading skills. Verse (II): Reading and thinking; words and meanings.

Primary Text:

Rhys Jones, Gryff. (1996). The Nation’s Favourite Poems.Selected verse.


(i) McAlpine, Lynn. (2004). ‘Designing learning as well as teaching. A research-based model for instruction that emphasizes learner practice’,active learning in higher education, Vol.5 (2), 119-134.

(ii) Barry, Peter. (2002). Beginning Theory. An introduction to literary and cultural theory, 2nd ed.Manchester University Press.

(iii) Rosenblatt, L.M. (1994). The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work.Southern Illinois University Press.

Session 3: Learning logs and thinking skills. Verse (III): Line and rhythm; sound, rhyme and form.

Primary Text:

Rhys Jones, Gryff. (1996).The Nation’s Favourite Poems.Selected verse.


(i) Dewy, J. (1933).How We Think. D. C. Heath and Co.

(ii) Entwhistle, Noel. (1988/1999).Styles of Learning and Teaching. An Integrated Outline of Educational Psychology for Students, Teachers and Lecturers. David Fulton, London, Chapter 10.

(iii) Honey, Peter, Mumford, Alan. (1986/1992).The Manual of Learning Styles.Maidenhead, Peter Honey.

Session 4: Learning logs and writing skills. Prose Narrative (I): Character, setting, plot and story.

Primary Text:

Oates, Joyce Carol, ed. (1994).TheOxfordBook of American Short Stories. Selectedtales.


(i) Woolf, Judith. (2005).Writing about Literature: Essay and Translation Skills for University Students of English and foreign Literature.Routledge

(ii) Moon, Jennifer. (1999).Learning Journals. A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development. Kogan Page.

Session 5: Learning logs and monitoring learning.

This session offered the opportunity to (a) review and monitor where students had got to with their literary study, and (b) review some related theoretical texts.

Students had to

  1. individually, prepare a presentation on a text or some aspect of the course which had interested them (a short piece of written work, about 600 words); and
  2. in a small group, prepare a literature review of associated theoretical texts from a supplementary reading list in one of the following categories: Experiential Learning; Journals and Learning Logs; Reflection; Styles of Learning.

Session 6: Learning logs and experiential learning. Prose Narrative (II): First person narration and unreliability. The author. Point of view.

Primary Text:

Oates, Joyce Carol, ed. (1994). The Oxford Book of American Short Stories.Selected tales.


(i) Jarvis, Peter, Holford, John, Griffin, Colin. (2003).The Theory and Practice of Learning, 2nd ed.Kogan Page, Chapter 6.

(ii) Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development.Prentice Hall.

Session 7: Learning logs and reflection. Drama (I): Play-text/literary text. Character. Dramatic dialogue. Interpretation. Tragedy.

Primary Text:

Shakespeare, William. (1597)Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ed. P. Edwards (1985). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


(i) Moon, Jennifer. (2000). Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: theory and practice. Kogan Page.

(ii) Schon, D. A. (1987)Educating the Reflective Practitioner. California. Jossey-Bass.

(iii) Boud, D., Keogh, R., and Walker, D., eds (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. Kogan Page

Session 8: Learning logs, evaluation and feedback. Drama (II): Play-text/literary text. Stage action. Soliloquy. Imagery. Revenge Tragedy.

Primary Text:

Shakespeare, William. (1597). Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ed. P. Edwards (1985). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


(i) ‘Strands of Reflection’, in Fish, D., Twinn, S., Purr, B. (1991). Promoting Reflection: Improving the Supervision of Practice in Health Visiting and Initial Teacher Training Report No. 2.West London Institute of Higher Education, 23-29.

Session 9

Individual tutorials to discuss essay plans.


  1. Expectations for involvement by students (presentations; seminar papers; ‘activities’; assignment preparation)
    The groups consisted of 14-20 students. Sessions were interactive, with whole group and small group activity; the seminar was concerned primarily with reading practice and the learning process undertaken in the study of a set text. There were short introductory papers prepared by students. All were expected to read and think about the text, and to make careful notes in the learning log explaining how they had gone about this. They were expected to participate fully in discussion and share the writing-up of their activities and commentaries of the processes they had undertaken. They had to recognise the importance of both private and cooperative reflection on their learning strategies. Sessions lasted 2 hours, but group interactions were such that students often met in their own time to prepare and talk about texts. The nature of this work led to close bonding and very positive group dynamics. Individuals felt the need to be involved and not let others down.The learning log was an important feature of the student experience, and probably had the most significant impact on the students’ ability to reflect on their learning, individually and collectively. It included details of the processes involved in literary study, and the skills employed in establishing a critical response to each text, such as: how students read at first – eg. for character, plot; imaginative involvement; interpretation; time taken; skimming; initial thoughts; later fore-grounded thoughts; problems encountered and how tackled; what strategies were used to find out more; how thinking was challenged; seeing beyond the direct statements made by the text; particular influences; cultural and political contexts; how interpretation altered with further reading and the effect of cumulative readings; application of any theoretical framework; synthesis of ideas; current and retrospective reflection; areas of special interest; conclusions; difficulties. The learning log was also used afterwards for reflection on seminar discussion itself, recording and confirming ideas garnered in the course of a session.The relationship between students’ literary work and their work on theoretical frameworks intensified as the term progressed. Initially, more time was spent on the primary texts, but as reading was completed, and awareness developed, the students became increasingly theoretical about what was happening to them. 30-40 minutes of subjective literary study was often followed by 15-20 minutes of objective assessment and reflection. Pacing the seminars to ensure balance was important, and Week 5 acted as a space for sustained reflection with literature review. The collaborative nature of this exercise cannot be too strongly emphasised.For the assessed assignment the tutor was available to offer initial guidance and advice both in person and by email.
  2. Reading (preparatory and key texts only):
  • Abrams, M. H. (1999).A Glossary of Literary Terms,7th ed. Holt and Rinehart.
  • Barry, Peter. (2002).Beginning Theory. An introduction to literary and cultural theory, 2nd ed.Manchester University Press.
  • Holly, Mary Louise. (1989).Writing to Grow: Keeping a Personal and Professional Journal. Heinemann.
  • Oates, Joyce Carol, ed. (1994).The Oxford Book of American Short Stories.Oxford University Press.
  • Rhys Jones, Gryff, foreword. (1996.).The Nation’s Favourite Poems.BBC.
  • Schon, D. A. (1987).Educating the Reflective Practitioner. California. Jossey-Bass.
  • Shakespeare, William. (1597).Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ed. P. Edwards (1985). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Students were given a supplementary reading list on the educational theory of experiential learning and reflective practice.


An indication of the expectations related to:

i. Formative; ie. written work submitted during the term

One short piece of written work was produced during the term; this was delivered as a seminar paper to the group. The paper was not formally assessed but constructive feedback was offered. Students were expected to keep a written learning log, details of which were shared with others, but this was not formally assessed.

ii. Procedural; ie. seminar performance.

Attendance at seminars was compulsory. Comments on seminar performance related to key skills. All students were expected to participate fully, and to see themselves as active learners.

iii. Summative; ie. final submission of written work to be assessed

The principal means of assessment for the module was a long essay of 3-5000 words. Students were free to write on an aspect of the module that had interested them, and were expected to negotiate a title and plan with the tutor. Ideas for topics were suggested throughout the module, and may have included, for example, a synthesis of the learning log, an intensive analysis of the study of one or more of the texts, an investigation into experiential learning, or an evaluation of reflective activity. The written work was assessed in line with intended learning outcomes.



Extracts from students’ learning logs:

  1. I start reading the text by skimming. I wish to find out the main theme of the text and the purpose for the author in writing this poem. It seems to me there is a contrast between sadness and hope here. The text therefore can be divided into two parts to start with, and I can explore the tension.
  2. When first assigned the poem I read it straight through silently and get a bit lost. After reading it several times the meaning slowly becomes more evident and I discover many facets of the poem that I miss during my first read. But this is all time-consuming and leaves me unsatisfied and discouraged. I think of Barry’s SQ3R [Barry, 2002, 5-6] and “stop and think” – so then I begin to read the poem aloud: stop – and – think – and I start to connect sounds, and focus on rhyme and rhythm. Particular words catch my attention.
  3. A text comes to life for me immediately if I can relate specifically to a character or to an action or even to the author. Eliminating outside influences is impossible and often undesirable.
  4. Learning is best monitored by the individual when s/he takes time recording personal responses to a text or a discussion on a text. Learning is a building process so it is necessary to record ideas as they come to you so you can observe how your learning improves.
  5. I really want to be objective about this poem – not bring in my own experience but look at it simply through its language. It’s about blackberry picking – I’ve done that so can relate to it, but I must keep myself out of it… but that is difficult as reading is inevitably affected by earlier experience and the poem reminds me of when I was a child going out with my parents. I am looking first for clues in its tone, and then I will look at its overall structure. Then I think I should look for specific details in its metre and rhyme, and particular words that carry special weight. Is this poem about more than blackberry picking??
  6. I sometimes get embarrassed or frustrated when I do not know something I think I should know. I typically only like to share my thoughts if I know they are correct. I need to allow myself to make mistakes and take more chances. I feel OK with this group as I know they won’t laugh as I try to work out my ideas.
  7. It is better to think about the theme or the main ideas of the text first. Then I explore particular aspects of the text. My sister had “baby blues”, so I know what this short story is all about [Gilman, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’], but the narrator here might be like my sister was – really unstable and unreliable – so I have to go carefully. How far do I let my recollections of my sister cloud my study of this text?
  8. Before when reading a literary text it was a surface approach I adopted – reading the story rather than looking for meanings. It was helpful to memorise literary terms in order to associate them with texts. Knowing these helps you to think and talk about texts properly.
  9. It took me about three hours to do a first reading of the play. I read it straight through taking breaks, then I read some of the critical commentary and re-examined sections. I looked up things on the internet about it, but I found there was so much I didn’t really know where to begin. So I thought about what it must be like to see the ghost of your father. That really influenced the way I looked at the play to start with.
  10. It is important to find something that interests the reader. This gives you a hook and then you can explore the text based on that hook. I am findingHamletvery hard work. It is such a BIG play – but I have decided to concentrate on Gertrude and track her through, looking closely at the scenes where she appears, and words and actions associated with her. I think that might help me get a grip on the play.
  11. As we have gone through various poems and short stories it has fascinated me to hear about how other people in the group have gone about studying the texts, as well as their personal interpretations and opinions. The weekly learning logs have been very useful tools in comparing individual responses as well as offering a guide as to how to go about studying a piece of literature. They give insight into how people have completed the set task.
  12. I think taking risks is a difficult but essential part of learning how to read texts. The positive aspect about taking a risk and approaching something you know is hard to understand is that you do not have any high expectations for yourself at first. In this sense, you may find that taking a risk can be extremely rewarding once you’ve conquered something you never expected to be able to do.


Extracts from examiners’ comments on some recently submitted essays:

  1. A strong, well-structured essay, rooted in personal experience and using a wide range of reference, though Moon seems to dominate the discussion. There is a good analysis of the use of learning logs and a satisfactory account of reflective practice. Interesting comparisons are made between this writer’s log and that of another student, with some observant commentary about a particular text, Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. We liked the way the student responds to the unreliability of the text, and has a good grasp of its main ideas. The writing is lively and engaged, with a clear and rational argument throughout. An engaging, committed, and critically aware piece.
  2. This is a brave and challenging attempt to write a literary essay, and thereby display the learning ‘done’ this term. The student has taken a topic suggested for consideration inHamlet, and sets out to show how to read a play-text in answering a complex question on it. From p.10ff. there is an ingenious, though not fully developed, link with the issues raised in the module. To some extent, the essay is successful, though references to the text are not fully given, and discussion on the language is limited. Clearly, Hawthorn’sUnlocking the Texthas been influential, and Simpson has helped to explain some of the ambiguities of the play. Nevertheless, it partly meets the criteria, in terms of seeing oneself as an ‘active’ learner, responding to a text, using critical vocabulary, and reflecting on reading and performance. It would, however, have been useful to hear how the student used his/her learning logs in relation to this text, and how group discussion might have furthered understanding and interpretation.
  3. A sensitively written essay which manages very successfully to describe the student’s recent experience of learning, and reflecting on being an ‘active’ learner. There is an effective literature review on theories of reflection, offering some evidence of wide reading. Contrasting different students’ reading practice, through investigating the use of logs, is clearly defined and well pursued. There are some fascinating observations on the Carver short story, yet, regrettably, the O’Brien text is not explored, though seemingly promised. The discussion (p.8-9) on the value of listening is thoughtful and original. This is an illuminating and well-considered piece, but we would like to have seen a wider range of reference.
  4. This is an interestingly different essay. As a result of taking this module on ‘active’ learning, the student has deliberately set himself the task of what he (following Schon) terms a ‘design studio’, one in which to explore his own reading practice. At the end of term he asked for a new challenge, and took up the suggestion of pursuing a previously studied text,Hamlet, in the light of the genre of Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy. He picked up the bait, read some additional literary texts, reflected on these, and analysed the issues raised. In this essay he sees himself as an ‘active’ learner; he has developed a close knowledge of some texts; he has thought deeply about them, evaluating and coming to conclusions. Much of this is noted in journal/diary format, with further commentary. There is an impressive engagement with the task, and with his attempt to make an honest record. The writing shows commitment, and a determination to combat an underlying lack of confidence in relation to literary study. It is an original choice for assessment, and we have very much enjoyed reading it.
  5. This essay goes a considerable way to meet all the criteria of this module and to demonstrate intended learning outcomes. It begins with an intelligent analysis of ‘active learning’ and refers particularly to Fink, to whom it returns several times, thereby developing the argument within a theoretical framework. There is sensitive reading of a specific text by Tim O’Brien, commentary on the use of learning logs, worthwhile investigation of SQ3R [a reading practice], and evidence of some original research. The student’s awareness of his/her learning, the application of a critical vocabulary, and a consciousness of different individual responses are clear to see. It is a strong submission for assessment and we very much enjoyed reading it – though we would like to have seen a fuller set of references.


Feedback from the students, many of whom had not taken A-Level English Literature, was exceptionally positive, with comments such as ‘this influenced my other reading outside my structured learning’; ‘it made me think about the choices and assumptions I make when reading’; ‘the skills learnt about active learning are transferable’; and ‘I enjoyed the fact we were learning about learning through doing’.

Peer review observed that one of the gains that the students seem to have made was an awareness of the transferability of skills learnt in the module to other parts of their studies. Some of these were possibly ‘hidden’ to the students – for example, an increase in self-esteem from involvement in the module, and perhaps a deeper appreciation of the structure and operation of literary texts. And yet many of the qualities developed had been made evident through the explicit approach of the module as a whole, revealing as it had the processes of reading and responding, and learning how to learn. Peer review also noted that all students were able to articulate their responses clearly by end of term, although they were ‘literary beginners’, and that there was a sense of openness in the group. There was ‘a real sense of a community of learning’ and ‘quiet and sometimes diffident students were talking freely and intelligently about their responses to literary texts’.

Though only nine weeks long, the module undoubtedly strengthened the students’ mental processes and communication skills, thereby increasing group interaction. It enabled them to build on knowledge acquired, and develop comprehension and application skills. There was improvement in their ability to analyse critically, to synthesise, and to evaluate their findings. They universally felt that it helped them with their personal effectiveness.

As ‘active learners’ the students used the module’s framework not only to reflect on their progress but also as a tool to help them identify the means whereby they could make their learning altogether more efficient. As one student noted in her learning log: ‘When I did much of my learning it was unconsciously, and so difficult to identify HOW I had learned. I think this has developed my learning style from surface to a deep approach, and I am approaching everything I study in a more holistic manner. I don’t think I will ever read a book again in the way I did before’.

The learning logs were undoubtedly a core feature of the module. Being a kind of diary or journal they became an ongoing process marking significant events in students’ learning. They allowed them to record a personal response to the texts studied on their own and then were employed in the seminar, enabling them to show what they had done in order to follow up the work. The logs helped them to address their own ideas and bring them to the surface. Having them as both “prop” and memo, as well a record of process and thinking, led to a form of qualitative assessment about what was taking place. They helped to develop critical thinking and increase confidence.

The module had the dual purpose of learning how to read texts critically and then standing back from this experience to analyse what had been going on in the process. That is, students ‘did’ the learning, then evaluated ‘how’ that learning had taken place. Learning logs and the reading practice of SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review) were fundamental to the close textual study of a sharing learning community. As this module was in Educational Studies – rather than English Literature – students were not only looking at their own learning, but were encouraged to look at the educational theory of experiential learning and reflective practice, reading more widely from a supplementary reading list. Those taking the module at Intermediate level in their second year found it an intensive and difficult exercise, though obviously worthwhile. The module was offered to third years at Advanced level in subsequent years, where students coped more thoroughly with the range of work involved.

It is certain that, using the above framework with obvious and necessary adjustments, such an exercise in active learning can be adapted to almost any discipline and with any age group capable of, and interested in, studying a subject and then reflecting on their own learning experience.

In an English Literature course, for example, the question often arises: But what is a ‘literary text’? Students can explore this, through verse, prose or drama, and in doing so reveal meanings not only about literature but also about themselves and their culture as they learn. Attridge (2003) offers one possible theoretical framework in his discussion on the ethics of literary reading, where he poses the questions: ‘What is literature?’ and ‘What makes a text ‘literary’? In his investigation into the ‘certain way’ of reading that calls into being the literary potential of a text, he suggests a number of terms that insist on being understood in relation to one another:invention, singularity, otherness (oralterity), the other, event, form, performance, responsibility. He suggests that the creation of the text is an event. The reading of that text is an event. The reader responds to the inventiveness of the text, which possesses its own singularity and otherness. Responding responsibly to the text – doing justice to it – is an individual, or singular, ethical experience for the reader, at the particular moment of reading. Meanings are being tested, and the text’s otherness is being challenged by the reader’s attempt to understand. Performance therefore lies in what happens between text and reader, and this can alter at different times of reading.The ‘literary text’ makes ethical demands on the reader to be responsible to it, so learning about how this happens to the reader becomes part of learning about the text itself. Literature students will not need to spend as much time as Education students in considering the theoretical frameworks of their learning, but they can find it of interest to gain awareness of different learning styles, whilst registering their own responsible response to the event,form, and performance of the text. The use of learning logs will help them to organise their notes more efficiently whilst encouraging them to deepen their reflection and analysis.

Enquiry into reading practice in literary study is a practical activity. It involves a systematic approach, with underlying routines, and it provides the data for reflection and deliberation on learning. In doing this we can come to an understanding of the process of studying literary texts and can thereby analyse our different responses and experiences of learning. This is active learning, akin to experiential learning.

Studying to become proficient in literary study involves more, however, than practice alone. It involves gaining insight through investigation, reflection, theorising, challenging, considering significance and implication. Unearthing meaning from experience comes after or at best during the action – never before it. The discipline of literary studies is founded on the notion of close reading, but thinking, talking and writing about it obviously furthers our understanding, and gaining insight into our own actions is more important than being told. T. S. Eliot in ‘The Dry Salvages’ (Four Quartets) describes those who ‘had the experience but missed the meaning’ (line 95). That is, it is possible to be involved in a series of actions but to fail to come to grips with their significance. This module took as a starting point the notion that it is possible to enquire into the practice of our own ‘literary’ reading by looking at the practice of others as well. Collaboratively, via textual analysis and the exploration of language and feeling, we can reveal the processes of reading and response, and thus make explicit how these – and the learning that goes with them – can best be achieved.

April 2006

  • Bibliographical references and web links
  • Abrams, M. H. (1999). A Glossary of Literary Terms,7th ed. Holt and Rinehart.
  • Attridge, Derek. (2003). ‘Ethics, Otherness, and Literary Form’,The European English Messenger, Vol. XII/1, Spring 2003, 33-38.
  • Barry, Peter (2002). Beginning Theory. An introduction to literary and cultural theory, 2nd ed.Manchester University Press.
  • Biggs, J. And Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy. Academic Press.
  • Bloom, B. S. & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classfication of Educational Goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. Longmans.
  • Boud, D., Keogh, R., and Walker, D., eds (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. Kogan Page.
  • Carr, W, and Kemmis, S (1986). Becoming Critical: Education, Knowledge and Action Research. Falmer Press.
  • Culler, Jonathan (1997). Literary Theory, a very short introduction.Oxford.
  • Dewey, J. (1933).How We Think. D. C. Heath and Co.
  • Driscoll, M. P. (2000). Psychology of learning for instruction.Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Entwhistle, Noel. (1988/1999). Styles of Learning and Teaching. An Integrated Outline of Educational Psychology for Students, Teachers and Lecturers. David Fulton, London.
  • Fish, Della, Twinn, Sheila, Purr, Bridget (1991). Promoting reflection: Improving the Supervision of Practice in Health Visiting and Initial Teacher Training Report No.2.West London Institute of Higher Education.
  • Fish, Della (1995). Quality Mentoring for Student Teachers: a Principled Approach to Practice. David Fulton.
  • Gill, Richard (1985). Mastering English Literature.Macmillan.
  • Goring, Paul, Hawthorn, Jeremy, and Mitchell, Domhnall (2001). Studying Literature. The Essential Companion.Arnold.
    Hartley, J. (1998). Learning and Studying. Routledge
  • Holly, Mary Louise (1984). Keeping a Personal-Professional Journal. Deakin University.
  • Holly, Mary Louise (1989). Writing to Grow: Keeping a Personal and Professional Journal. Heinemann
  • Honey, Peter. (1995). Using Your Learning Styles.Maidenhead, Peter Honey.
  • Honey, Peter, Mumford, Alan. (1986/1992). The Manual of Learning Styles.Maidenhead, Peter Honey.
  • Jacques, D. (2000). Learning in Groups – a handbook for improving group work, 3rded. Kogan Page.
  • Jarvis, Peter, Holford, John, Griffin, Colin. (2003). The Theory and Practice of Learning. 2nd ed. Kogan Page.
  • Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall.
  • Kuit, J. A., Reay, G., Freeman, R. (2001). ‘Experiences of Reflective Teaching’, in Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 2, 128-142.
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  • Marton, F., and Saljo, R. (1997). ‘Approaches to learning’, in F. Marton, D. J. Hounsell, and N. J. Entwistle, eds.,The Experience of Learning2nd. ed. Scottish Academic Press.
  • McAlpine, Lynn. (2004). ‘Designing learning as well as teaching. A research-based model for instruction that emphasizes learner practice’,active learning in higher education, Vol.5 (2), 119-134.
  • McCormick, Kathleen (1994). The Culture of Reading and the Teaching of English. Manchester University Press.
  • Moon, Jennifer A. (1999). Learning Journals. A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development.Kogan Page.
  • Moon, Jennifer A. (2000). Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: theory and practice.Kogan Page.
  • Oates, Joyce Carol, ed.(1994). The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Oxford University Press.
  • Pask, G. (1988). ‘Learning strategies, teaching strategies and conceptual or learning style’, in R. R. Schmeck, ed.,Learning Strategies and Learning Styles. Plenum Press.
  • Perry, W. (1970). Forms of Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Piaget, J. (1952). The Origin of Intelligence in Children. International Universities Press, New York.
  • Progoff, I. (1975). At a Journal Workshop.Dialogue House, New York.
  • Rhys Jones, Gryff, foreword. (1996). The Nation’s Favourite Poems.BBC.
    Rosenblatt, L. M. (1994). The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work.Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Russell, T., and Munby, H., eds. (1993). Teachers and Teaching: from Classroom to Reflection.Falmer Press.
  • Schwab, J. J. (1969). ‘The Practical: A language for the curriculum’, in I. Westbury and N. Wilkof, eds. (1978),Science, Curriculum and Liberal Education Selected Essays of J. J. Schwab. University of Chicago Press.
  • Schon, D. A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action. Basic Books, New York.
  • Schon, D. A. (1987). Educating The Reflective Practitioner. California. Jossey-Bass.
  • Stenhouse, L. (1975). An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. Heinemann.
  • Thorpe, Mary (2000). ‘Encouraging students to reflect as part of the assignment process’, in Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol 1 (1), 79-92.
  • Van Manen, M. (1990). ‘Beyond assumptions; shifting the limits of action research’, in Theory into Practice, 30,152-7.
  • Van Manen, M. (1995). ‘On the epistemology of reflective practice’, in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 1,9-23.
  • Woolf Judith. (2005). Writing about Literature: Essay and Translation Skills for University Students of English and Foreign Literature.Routledge.

Web links

  • Fink, L. 1999.
  • Johnston, S. (2001) . Learning Log.
  • McGuinn, N, & Hogarth, S.(2002).Learning Logs
  • Moody, J. (2003).Studying Literary Texts: the Learning Process
  • Race, P. (2002).Evidencing Reflection: putting the ‘w’ into reflection
  • Morgan, C. (2001). (Tasmanian Educational Leaders’ Institute) Journals


Dr Joanna Moody,
Part-time tutor,
Department of English and Related Literature,
Langwith College, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD

Joanna Moody was awarded the University of York Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award 2006.