Juzwik wins national award for book on narratives in teaching

December 14, 2010

Associate Professor Mary Juzwik has received a national honor from the Literacy Research Association, formerly the National Reading Conference, for her recent book on teaching about the Holocaust through story-telling.

Juzwik was presented with the Edward B. Fry Book Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to literacy research and practice, during the association’s annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 1-4 2010. Her book, Rhetoric of Teaching: Understanding the Dynamic of Holocaust Narratives in an English Classroom, was published by Hampton Press in 2009.

Juzwik illuminates the rhetorical consequences of using narratives to engage students in learning about sensitive topics, specifically the Holocaust. Based on a case study of a middle school English teacher, she shows how telling narratives about past events can help teachers embed social and moral messages in lessons as well as build authority about the subject matter with their students. Sometimes, however, stories about historical issues can oversimplify or distort the past.

“The quality of classroom interaction is a vital component for student learning and engagement,” Juzwik said. “It’s worthwhile for researchers to examine, and  it’s important for teachers to critically consider, especially in diverse classrooms.”

Discourse in English classrooms is of particular interest to Juzwik, who with Assistant Professor  Samantha Caughlan has recently been studying how to support teacher candidates in developing dialogic instructional practices using video and Web 2.0 technologies.

The namesake of the book award, internationally known literacy expert Edward Fry, died in September 2010.

 Other MSU faculty members who have received the honor include Susan Florio-Ruane and Guofang Li.