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Collaborative Learning Community: Genre Matrix

The essence of collaborative learning is in the joining of “intellectual efforts by students, or students and teachers together” (Smith & MacGregor, 1992, 1). Though there is a great variety of activities in collaborative learning, all of them may be characterized as being student-centered, and they are aimed at “students’ exploration or application of the course material” (Smith & MacGregor, 1992, 1). The key idea is that collaborative learning shifts from simple presentation and explanation of the material by the teacher to mutual cooperation with peers and instructors.

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Speaking about literature lessons, in particular, teachers may choose three genres of imaginative literature as the core of instruction: Realism, Romanticism, and Mysteries. The importance of each genre may be explained by their characteristic features: Realism is opposed to Romanticism, as the genre that deals with real characters in a realistic setting (Spiegelvogel, 2008, p.693); Romanticism, in its turn, pays special attention to the inner world of the characters, to the importance of feelings and emotions in human lives. It may be useful for the development of creative thinking, the imagination of the students. Realistic novels help to enlarge the students’ scope and create a suitable background for the development of analytical skills and the skills of formulating and justifying personal opinions on the point. Mysteries, as a literary genre, may make a certain contribution to the strengthening of students’ motivation in reading literature, as they are commonly characterized by involved and captivating plots and striking details, they are always thought-provoking.

Nielsen and Donelson (2008) present their classification of literary appreciation, which proves that students at the age of “junior high” tend to find themselves in literature. This justifies the importance of the use of all three genres of literature, as this is the period when teenagers “hide novels inside textbooks to read during classes, stay up at night reading, uses reading as an escape from social pressure” (p. 11). Teachers should not miss the opportunity to imbue the students with a love of literature and the skills of analytical reading during this period.

The notion of bibliotherapy should also be tackled. This term is used nowadays to denote reading self-help books or books that may reflect the problematic situation of a person in a certain way. That is why teachers may resort to realistic novels in order to assist teenagers in finding their way in modern life, without evident moralizing and direct instructions. This approach is sure to be productive, taking into account the psychological peculiarities of teenagers. However, the ways of application of romantic pieces of literature and mysteries should be teachers’ first consideration today.


Appropriate Reading Activities and Reading Comprehension Skills to teach

Journaling or Literature Circles are appropriate


  • Romantic novels may be used for the development of the skills of analyzing the literary characters

  • Stylistic analysis of the elements of the texts, the study of major figures of speech

  • Romantic novels may be used to teach human values: love, friendship, etc.

  • In may be used for the development of imagination

Journaling and

Literature Circles


  • This genre may be used in peer teaching

  • The genre may be used in the study of Social Sciences

  • Realistic works may be used in simulations of real situations (e.g. trial of a character)

  • The application of bibliotherapy may be exercised: assistance in the main problems of the youth: drug addiction, suicides, moral degradation

Literature Circles


  • Development of analytical skills, stating and justifying the hypothesis

  • May be used in comparing and contrasting the characteristic features of this genre with the previous ones, thus, developing the skill of critical thinking.

  • It may be used to developing creative thinking

Journaling and

Literature Circles


Nilsen, A.P. & Donelson K.L. (2008). Literature for Today’s Young Adults. 8th Edition. Boston: Pearson.

Smith, B.L., & MacGregor T. (1992). “What is Collaborative Learning?” Collaborative Learning: A Sourcebook for Higher Education. 2009. Web.

Spielvogel, J.J. (2008). Western Civilization: Alternate Volume: Since 1300. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Collaborative Learning Community: Genre Matrix'. 1 November.

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