Wednesday, October 17, 2007

English Education (EngEd). October 2007.

Some ideas on preparing pre-service teachers in the teaching of English from English Education (EngEd), October 2007, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

How use technology in the classroom?
Pre-service teachers can begin communicating in various technological media on topics of social importance. TC Harste and P Albers. EngEd. (Oct. 07), 3-5.

What are some new technological tools to use in composing?
Composing on the Web. A Doering, et al. EngEd. (Oct. 07), 41.

How help pre-service teachers learn to use new technological tools?
Model them in our methods courses. They will then model them with their own students. A Doering, et al. EngEd. (Oct. 07), 42.

What are multi-modal communication tools?
Combine images, video clips and texts to engage audiences. A Doering, et al. EngEd. (Oct. 07), p. 50.

How should the new technological tools be used in the English classroom?
Not in a peripheral way but as central to communication. A Doering, et al. EngEd. (Oct. 07), 57-58.

How define literacy?
"...produced a shift in the notion of literacy from the conventional sense of reading and writing only print text to an enlarged sense of reading and writing multiple forms of non-print texts...." SM Miller. EngEd. (Oct. 07), 61.

How use technology to create meaning from reading a poem?
"In orchestrating the visual, music and narrative for a poetry video, for example, the teachers and their students performed their knowing; it was dynamic, evolving and constructed." S Miller. EngEd. (Oct 07), p. 71.

Other topic: Making aesthetic experience central to the curriculum.

Comment by RayS: In contrast to the emphasis in the preceding articles, I continue to maintain that the purpose of the English teacher is to work with words, to communicate with words, to read words, to write and speak with words, to create with words. I still think Joseph Conrad said it best: "My task is by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see." I maintain that images, sound and video are most valuable when they support the words we use. I remember reading in the book version of Civilization that Kenneth Clark said he could not emphasize law and economics in the TV version of his survey of the history of civilization because he could not find visuals to support those topics. Of course not. Those topics consist almost entirely of ideas. And words are the key to expressing ideas.

We are English teachers. And our job is to teach the use of words. I have no problem with teaching how to use other media to support words. We need to emphasize words because words are ideas. Pictures may be worth a thousand words as the cliche goes, but no picture will ever replace words as the best medium to express ideas. The NCTE and I do not agree on the centrality of multimedia. I maintain that to the degree that emphasis is taken away from words in our English classes, students' mastery of literacy will be significantly weakened.

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