Monday, February 19, 2007

English Update, February 19, 2007

Essential question for the future of society: What can people do that computers can’t? People can organize ideas. People can generate ideas. Computers can help. Inq. (Jan. 31, 95), G1/G3.

Attributing “nonstandard quotes.” The author refers to phrases like “personal potential” and “to be all that you can be” as “nonstandard quotes.” Students use them, put them in quotes because they have been used elsewhere, but do not attribute. She cites the “to be all that you can be” as part of a U.S. Army recruiting ad—but fails to note that the coach in the movie Hoosiers uses the same phrase, antedating the Army ad—and the Army ad didn’t attribute either. In addition, I have seen the same phrase in many, many educational journal articles . In the long run, a great many phrases we use tend to be “nonstandard quotes.” Maybe we need to show students how to “write around” nonstandard quotes. Suggested by B Schneider. CCC (Dec. 02), 188-207.

Research paper Redux. If anything characterized my elementary and secondary school years, I suppose, that was it. Go to the library and do a report on Lincoln! Oh, it wasn’t necessarily Lincoln. Sometimes it was Washington. Or Jefferson. Or my favorite, George Washington Carver. Whatever the report, the routine was the same. Go to the library. Find the World Book Encyclopedia. Look for the first letter of the last name of the man (generally it was a man) that you were studying. Grab the volume you need. Thumb through the pages. Find the entry you want. And then—copy. Word for word. Line for line. Period for period. After all, the assignment was to get it done—and quickly. Besides, for your final copy, you could change some words, add a quote or two, slap on a cover and hand it in. Sound familiar? That existed throughout my entire public school career. D Gallo. EJ (Nov. 03), 91.

Visuals and words. Are visuals becoming equal, not subservient, to words in communicating to the readers? D Geiger. CCC (Sept. 02), 11-39.

Plagiarism. Encourage students to ask questions about plagiarism. M Price. CCC (Sept. 02), 105.

Empathy in teaching. The research on teacher empathy suggests that there is a robust positive correlation between high teacher empathy and student achievement. At all grade levels, students of high-empathy teachers showed more gains in achievement than those of low-empathy teachers. Goldstein and Michaels. CCC (Oct. 95), 419. [The best way for teachers of writing to empathize with their students is to write themselves, to put their writing on the line by trying to publish professionally.]

Good teaching? Possibly the most valuable English classes I have had the pleasure of visiting were those in which both teacher and students were learning together, sharing ideas and feeling free to make mistakes. BS Miller. EJ (May 69), 509.

Teaching defined? How does the view of teaching today differ from the past? Fellow learners rather than dispensers of knowledge. LA (Oct. 93), 509.

Teacher education and Inservice. Pre-service and inservice programs should provide concise summaries of the research base on the topic. P Neufield and J Fitzgerald. RTE (Aug. 01), 101.

Query letter in submitting a proposal to publish a book: State the basic idea of your book in its briefest possible form—preferably in a single sentence. M Gunther. Wrt (Sept. 72, 15.

Professional writing. Submitting techniques for publication in professional journals: Goals? Reason for using the technique? How introduce the technique? How involve students? What is the progression in implementing the technique? How encourage student reflection on the technique? How judge effectiveness of the technique? Changes in using the technique in the future. CN+ (Aug. 99).

Inq. = Philadelphia Inquirer. CCC = College Composition and Communication. EJ = English Journal. LA = Language Arts. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English. Wrt = The Writer. CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus.

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