Friday, February 16, 2007

English Update February 16, 2007

Improving reading comprehension. George Spache: “Students who can set strong purposes for their reading comprehend significantly better than those who set vague purposes” (or read with no purpose at all, RS). C Cox. LA (Sept. 75), 771.

Teaching: Keep a journal describing and reflecting on the process of teaching, noting problems, questions, possible answers, etc. D Gorman. JAAL (Mar. 98), 434-442.

In reading Westerns, readers are looking for information as well as story, including details about American tribes.

Comprehension. “Interest and background knowledge are two factors that enable students to read beyond what is considered their normal reading level.” K Ganske, et al. RT (Oct. 03), 121.

Research: “As education policy becomes a hot topic among those campaigning for local, state and national office, that well-worn phrase ‘all the research shows’ is cropping up with new abandon. We believe that research can indeed provide important insights to guide practice and policy—but given the complexity of school settings and students’ diverse needs, the research record seldom yields simple solutions that will do everywhere and for all.” A DiPardo & M Sperling, eds. RTE (May 04), 349.

High School Reading: “Ellen explained that she had been rudely awakened during her first year of teaching when she discovered her students could not read well. She had assumed that students in high school classes would be independent readers. ‘Well, first I assumed that everyone in my class could read, which is not the case…. Well, they could read but not the level of literature that we were reading. They could read the words but they couldn’t comprehend them.’ ” FL Hamel. RTE (Aug. 03), 66.

Punishments and Rewards: “There is too much emphasis in the world on trying to get people to do things by threatening them with punishment rather than by offering them positive rewards. That’s true in all spheres, including government education and child rearing.” BF Skinner. USNWR (Nov. 3, 80), 79.

Planning. “The best way to demonstrate the value of long-term planning is to plan all the work which the class will do, to explain the plan to them, to make sure that they keep it in mind, and after the work has been completed to look back over it and sum it up; the young have very little ability to make long-term plans; they live from day to day, or at least from one Saturday to another.” Highet, The Art of Teaching, p. 69.

Questions. There are really two different reasons for asking questions of a class: to find out if each individual has done his work...and to expose the difficulties they have preparing the work; the former is a method of making them learn, the latter helps them to learn. Highet, The Art of Teaching, p. 125.

LA = Language Arts. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. RT = Reading Teacher. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. USNWR = US News and World Report.

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