Wednesday, February 14, 2007

English Update February 14, 2007

English Updates

In July 2004, I published a book entitled Teaching English How To.... Now, I am a professional literature "junkie." I collect ideas on teaching English from newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) from magazines (The Writer) and from professional journals: English Journal, College English, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literary, College Composition and Communication, Research in the Teaching of English, Reading Research Quarterly, Language Arts, Reading Teacher, English Education, etc.).

I like to summarize these ideas. I find them helpful in making me a better English teacher. The ideas deal with research and techniques that help to solve problems in English education. For those who do not need every detail, but who can take a brief summary of an idea and use it, adapt it to their teaching situation, these ideas could be very helpful. I give brief citations for those who wish more information about the idea. To save me time in recording the ideas, I usually cite the author and the details of publication, but not the name of the article. Writing out titles takes too much time.

Many of these ideas support the ideas I expressed in my book, Teaching English How To.... Many are unrelated to the book. Some contradict the ideas in my book. All of the ideas were of interest to me. Many of them deal with grade levels different from yours, but still might be relevant to your teaching situation. My grade level of interest is from kindergarten through college.

In hopes that we share similar interests in teaching English, I begin this blog. I will enjoy reading your responses to the ideas that I publish every day.

Raymond Stopper

How can writers get started on a writing career? Become an expert on something and then write aobut it. K. James-Enger. Wrt (Sept. 04), 18-19.

What do writers need to know about publishing? "Nowadays, writers largely have to edit themselves. The better you can make your manuscript before submitting it to a publisher, the greater your chances of getting published." C Leddy. Wrt (Sept. 04), 41.

Why study literature? "Our focus should be on helping chidlren learn from literature about themselves, about their lives, about the lives of others." H Mills, et al. LA (Sept. 04), 51.

What kinds of questions do we ask? John Searle: There are two kinds of question, (a) real questions, (b) exam questions. In real questions S wants to know (find out) the answer; in exam questions, S wants to know if H knows the answer. WB Horner. CCC (May 79), 169.

What is the attitude of secondary teachers about helping their students read? Secondary teacher: "I'm not a reading teacher; students should already know how to read when they get to middle school. My job is to teach them social studies content." [The author calls using the directed reading assignment "teaching reading." I disagree. Teaching reading to me is teaching reading skills directly, finding main ideas, details, inferring, etc. For me, using the directed reading assignment in content areas is not teaching reading, but helping students succeed with specific reading assignments that are difficult to read.] DD Massey & TL Heafner. JAAL (Sept. 04), 26-40.

How prepare students for writing a research paper? Author suggests substituing the familiar FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) format--questions followed by answers--for the traditional research paper. Suggests FAQ format also as a method for introducing students to the research process with students' questions anticipated and then answered in writing. J Strickland. EJ (Sept. 04), 23-28.

What kinds of questions do teachers usually ask? Evidence from previous research suggests that teachers in all academic disciplines are given to low-level factual questions. RA Lucking. RTE (Winter 76), 269.

What is the relationship between speed of reading aloud and reading silently? "It is of interest to note that the rates of 250-300 words per more-or-less 'maximal' rates for silent reading, correspond closely to the fastest rates at which trained readers can read aloud." TG Sticht in Understanding Reading Comprehension. J Flood, ed. Newark, DE, 1984, p. 150.

How help students develop study skills? Prepare videotape for each content class showing the use of study skills with the actual materials being used in that class. MF O'Hear. CCC (Oct. 77), 277-279.

How construct a book proposal? Elements of a book proposal: title; content; rationale; competition; format (# of words, charts, illustrations, appendices, glossary, sidebars); market; chapter-by-chapter summary; credentials; sample chapters. M Allen. Wrt (Sept. 04), 34-37.

How construct a book proposal? A good book proposal tells publishers the things they most need to know: what your book is about, why it's important, and whom it's important to. Perhaps the best way to approach your proposal is to ask those quesitons of youreself--not as a writer, but as a reader. What wuould persuade you to pick this book from the shelf? What would make you want to buy it? The answers just might be the arguments you need to make a sale. M Allen. Wrt (Sept. 04), 34-37.

[Wrt = The Writer. LA = Langauge Arts. CCC = College Composition and Communication. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. EJ = Englsh Journal. ]

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