Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Language Arts. May 2007.

Some ideas on teaching English from Language Arts, May 2007, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Theme is "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB).

Scale of the value of each idea to me, RayS.
* Not much interest
** I'll think about it.
*** Very much interested

How has teaching changed because of NCLB?
Thanks to "NCLB" or "No Child Left Behind," teachers are becoming technicians rather than professionals. TE Wolman. LA (May 07), 410-418. **

What are the effects of NCLB?
Author suggests that NCLB is leading testing to replace teaching. M Gebhard, et al. LA (May 07), 419. ***

How can students learn to understand literacy?
Students write and develop a continuing literacy autobiography. DC Suskind. LA (May 07), 450. [In other words, students continually analyze and learn how they learn to read and write. RayS.] ***

How can pre-service teachers learn the most from their student-teaching experiences?
Pre-service teachers design and present an action research study involving literacy during their practice teaching. Examples: drama and reading comprehension; pictures and vocabulary; multi-genre research projects; peer tutoring. DC Suskind. LA (May 07), 454. ** [Nice idea, but I think pre-service teachers have enough to do just to acclimate themselves to working daily in a classroom. Adding action research might give the experience more meaning and prepare them for doing the same thing when they are full-time teachers, but it could also become a distraction from the actual purpose of student teaching--understanding and managing the day-to-day workings of a classroom full of students. RayS.]

What is the goal of NCLB?
Close the achievement gap between white and minority students. C Edelsky. LA (May 07), 457.
[What are the implications of such a goal? RayS.] ***

What is wrong with NCLB?
The failure of one sub-group on a standardized test for two consecutive years turns the whole school into a failing school. When a school fails, parents in rural areas have no where else to go and in urban schools, "performing" schools may have no room. No research has been done on whether punishing schools results in improved teaching; no research on whether standardized tests are best for assessing learning; no research on whether commercial reading programs improve reading proficiency. Dropout rates are rising. Teachers are leaving. Curriculum is becoming test prep. Cheating is increasing. C Edelsky. A (May 07), 457. *** [Pretty damning. RayS.]

What are the assumptions behind NCLB?
Raising standards will raise achievement. People will try harder. M Johnson. LA (May 07), 476. **

What are the NCTE's thoughts on NCLB?
Multiple assessments. Teacher quality. High-need students need the best teachers. Reading First has ethical and legal violations. Re-define "scientifically based reading research. **

What has been the effect of NCLB on the use of children's literature?
"...books no longer hold a permanent place in many classrooms; instead, they are being increasingly replaced by programed reading instruction, highly codified textbooks, and leveled readers." B Chatton. LA (May 07), 490. ***

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