Thursday, June 18, 2009

Topic: Publication in Professional Education Journals

10-second review: “Publication Does Not Equal Advocacy.” Just because an article appears in the pages of a professional journal does not mean that the editor of the journal advocates that point of view.

Title: “Publication Does Not equal Advocacy.” Louann Reid. English Journal (May 2009), 11-12. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: The author of this “Letter to EJ,” Louann Reid, former editor of the English Journal from 2003 until 2008, responds to charges that the publication of two articles favoring the use of the five-paragraph essay constituted advocacy by the editor and the journal She rightly points out that both articles were opinion pieces and not subject to scholarly evaluation. However, she makes clear that publishing any article in the journal does not constitute advocating it.

Comment: I have been reading English Journal since 1964. I remember clearly that the guideline for NCTE publications at that time was representation of all points of view regarding issues in English education.

However, when the NCTE began making resolutions concerning issues, editors of its professional publications began favoring—it seemed to me—articles favoring the NCTE’s positions. I watched the appearance of a preponderance of articles trashing the teaching of grammar, the significance of the writing process and the unimportance of the writing product, and now a preponderance of articles in various NCTE journals denouncing the five-paragraph essay as a formula for expository writing.

During the time that Dr. Reid was editor of English Journal, she was a model for what the NCTE used to represent—unbiased selection of articles on all points of view toward controversial English education issues. I, too, need to be reminded of her point in this letter that publication does not equal advocacy. RayS.

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