Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Research in the Teaching of English (RTE). August 2007.

Some ideas on teaching English from Research in the Teaching of English, August 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
**Some interest. I'll think about it.
***Very much interested.

What's wrong with preparing students to read literary works?
"Scaffolding," preparing students to learn by giving them background information, might be good in some aspects of language arts, but might be hurtful in literature because it leads students to expect right or wrong answers. MS Aukerman. RTE (Aug. 07), 56-103. *

[RayS.: The Junior Great Books program does not believe in preparing students to read a literary selection for just that reason--students will be forewarned that there is a right or wrong interpretation. Therefore, the Junior Great Books program simply gives the literary work to the students and tells them to read it.

In the best of all possible worlds, motivating students to read would not be necessary. In the real world, motivation is crucial. Students have too many technological distractions and will not read without some reason to do so. I always prepare students for what they are going to read, including background information, pre-teaching difficult or unfamiliar vocabulary and establishing a purpose for reading.]

What role does confidence in writing play in successful writing?
If students are confident that they have the skills to write, they are more likely to be skillful writers. F Pajares, et al. RTE (Aug. 07), 104-120. **

[RayS.: My response to this finding is "Duh." One of my goals in teaching writing is to help students gain confidence in writing. This article seems to be saying that having confidence in writing creates the self-fulfilling prophecy of successful writing. Duh.]

What should teachers focus on in teaching language in English class?
The functions of language. MJ Schleppegrell. RTE (Aug. 07), 121-128. ***

[RayS: Those functions could put grammar into context.]

Other topics in this issue of RTE: reading the literature of the Holocaust. This topic could be of interest to other readers, but not to me. RayS.

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