Thursday, August 16, 2007

Research in the Teaching of English (RTE), May 2007.

Some ideas on teaching English from Research in the Teaching of English, May 2007, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

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

How do second-graders write?
Second-grade student based his writing on experiences with popular culture--video games, television, Web pages and comics. J Ranker. RTE (May 07), 402-434. ***

[I am not surprised by this finding. One first-grade teacher with whom I worked noted the close relationship between her students' stories and the stories she had read aloud to them. They did not copy the ideas. They used their own experiences, but the format was identical to the picture books she had read to them. RayS.]

What is the effect on student writers of being taught the "Five Paragraph Theme" (FPT)?
"Writing instruction does not look the same for all students. It may well be that the five-paragraph theme (FPT) can be a recipe for some students and a cookie-cutter for others; a road map for some and a road block for others. Surely, this study suggests that organization is not a one-size-fits-all proposition." BR Albertson. RTE (May 07), 458. ***

[What does the FPT mean as a formula? Does it mean that the essay is limited to five paragraphs? Is it not allowed to contain narrative elements?

[For me, the so-called FPT was a model based on "tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them"--or, as another professional writer put it: "introduce it, say it, sum it up." For students in my classes, introductory paragraphs often went well beyond a single paragraph, but were always followed by a statement of purpose or thesis sentence(s). Intermediate paragraphs went well beyond single paragraphs. Narrative was an important part of the model. I have yet to find in professional journals any articles not based on the FPT model--they introduce, identify a purpose, begin intermediate paragraphs with topic sentences and they summarize their main points. I suspect, the issue is one of the "letter of the law" vs. its spirit. In other words, the FPT is a recipe and a road map. A model. Not a rigid formula limited to five paragraphs.]

Other topics in this issue: interdisciplinary studies; non-standard (minority) English, which the author calls "Plantation English." These topics might sound interesting, but their content provided no new ideas for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment