Wednesday, April 25, 2007

English Updates. April 25, 2007. Archive.

Curriculum….. Terminology….. How does terminology get in the way of teaching and learning? Author “demystifies’ math by changing formal terminology in math to terms that more clearly relate to the concept: ‘For example, why use ‘percentages’ when ‘hundredths’ would do?” Which is more important, the term or the concept? [Consider doing the same in English grammar. Why not ‘—ing verb’ for ‘gerund,’ etc.] Demathtifying: Demystifying Mathematics by L Samson. Reviewed by JW Lott. MathTchr (Feb. 05), 446.

Curriculum….. Tracking….. What is the problem with “tracking” students? Tracked students achieve/behave according to the level of their track. We need to see them as individuals. We need to know and encourage their aspirations. R VanDeWaghe. EJ 94:6 (Jul. 05), 85-86.

Curriculum….. Tracking….. How should teachers deal with “untracked” classes? Challenges the belief that untracked classes should engage in multi-ability small-group work. Teacher used whole-group instruction with much teacher attention to individual’s needs. Freedman, et al. RTE (Aug. 05), 62-126.

Curriculum….. Tracking….. How should teachers look at the supposed homogeneity of their classes? “We have concluded that if we want an educational system in which increased numbers succeed, we will have to stop striving for homogeneity in our classrooms. Rather, we will need to assume heterogeneity, regardless of whether or not classes are tracked. If we work from an assumption of heterogeneity, we would never think we could teach the whole class, and we would not believe tracking would make teacher’s jobs easier.” Freedman, et al. RTE (Aug. 05), 121.

Curriculum….. Visual….. What should be the role of the visual in English classes? “For more than a decade now, English studies has been increasingly engaged by questions surrounding visual communication—its functions, its limits, its place in our classrooms, in our scholarship, and in our daily lives.” George, D. and Shools, D. CE (July 05), 587.

Language….. Grammar….. What are the differences between “natural” grammar and “taste-based” grammar? “It is important to introduce students to the distinctions between natural grammar and taste-based grammar early in efforts to teach against linguicism” [prejudice against people because of the way they speak]. LA Zuidema. JAAL (May 05), 689.

Literature….. Censorship….. Why should Huck Finn NOT be required reading? “We think that Huck Finn is an important work of art that should be available in every library in the world, but we don’t think that it should be required reading in any predominantly white high school where African American students are in a small minority.” M Franck and N Niilampti. EJ (Jul. 05), 20.

Literature….. Children’s….. Why are Hans Christian Andersen’s tales different from other tellers of fairy tales? “This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen—who launched a new form of story telling by actually creating new tales for children, rather than simply recording or retelling existing oral traditions.” Wrt (Mar. 05), 10.

Literature….. Culture….. What are the effects of reading multi-cultural literature? “When I began to read about other cultures, I felt doors opening on a world that was far greater than I had realized.” L Yep. EJ (Jan. 05), 54.

Literature….. Culture….. Why use multi-cultural literature? We want students to see themselves in what they read; we want them to understand other, unfamiliar cultures; we want them to learn what we share as human; we want them to learn to feel empathy, not dislike, for people who are different from us…. We want them to learn “to appreciate not fear differences.” CZ Zitlow. EJ (Jan. 05), 93.

Literature….. Culture….. What hidden messages do classic fairy tales convey? Classic fairy tales convey the message that physical beauty is to be prized. “Not only is beauty associated with goodness in these tales, but evil is associated with ugliness.” Dr. Lori Baker-Sperry. Wrt (Apr. 05), 12.

Literature….. Culture….. What are some problems with using multi-cultural literature? Carol D. Lee (1993): “One cannot adequately read the literature of a people without knowing something of the culture and the historical circumstances of that people.” JAAL (May 05), 720. [Makes point that just adding multicultural books to the class list is not enough. Teacher has to prepare by building up background information on the culture.]

Literature….. Interpretation….. What do we mean by teaching students to ”interpret”? “One of my favorite teaching phrases is, ‘Great literature lends itself to more than one interpretation,’ a line I usually add to, ‘If the text supports it, it’s valid.’ ”B Bennett. EJ (Jul. 05), 63

Literature..... Kennings ..... What are some creative activities in response to Beowulf? Students create kennings after reading Beowulf—alternate names for people. Example for Grendel: “misbegotten son of a foul mother” and “guardian of crime.” Also ‘swan road” for sea lane and “God’s beacon of brightness” for the sun. R Stevens. CN+ (Jan. 05), 14-15.

CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus. EJ = English Journal. JAAL = Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Wrt = The Writer. CE = College English. RTE = Research in the Teaching of English.

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