Wednesday, July 25, 2007

English Journal. July 2007.

Some ideas on teaching English from the English Journal, 2007, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Theme is urban education.

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

Teaching. What can we learn from reflecting on our teaching?
"I began to smile in class. Instead of asking what was wrong with the students, I began reflecting on what was weak in my practice." A Mazur. EJ (Jul. 07), 15. (**) [If I were still teaching, I would probably keep a journal in which I would reflect on my teaching. RayS.]

Technique. How respond to literature?
Students completed research studies on the theme ("outcasts") of The Scarlet Letter while reading the novel. They researched the theme directly as a concept and experience, not as it is reflected in the novel. S Whitaker. EJ (Jul. 07), p. 16-18. (**)

Attitudes. What attitudes will be helpful to urban teachers?
Urban teachers must be optimistic always, resilient, forgiving of past mistakes. K Marquez-Zenkov and JA Harmon. EJ (Jul. 07), 29. (**) [It's good to be reminded. RayS. ]

Technique. What is one technique for gaining the confidence of students?
Teacher agrees to let students teach him rap and they agree to learn Chaucer and then decide how the two are related. TL Lynch. EJ (Jul. 07), 43-49. (***) [Would take some serious planning, but sounds intriguing. RayS. ]

Technique. How approach the teaching of Shakespeare?
Introduce the film of Shakespeare's play and compare with the text of Shakespeare's play; then students direct and create their own films of Shakespeare's scenes. J Bucolo. EJ (Jul. 07), 50-55. (**)

Technique. How can checklists be used in teaching?
'We need to teach so well that students no longer need help with what we have taught. Well-designed, operational checklists are an effective tool to help us do that." "Did you remember to...?" "Checklists are tangible reminders of how to approach a particular task...can internalize new processes in reading and writing...." Put the checklists around the room, reminding students how to complete reading and writing processes and assignments successfully. KD Rowlands. EJ (Jul. 07), 62. (***) [Why didn't I think of that? RayS. ]

Grading. What is your philosophy of grading?
Some questions about grading: 1. Grades should/should not reflect behavior, effort, citizenship or time management; 2. The role of final grades is/is not to teach students responsibility; 3. Teachers should/should not adjust students' grades based on cognitive ability, giftedness, work habits, or second language background; 4. A final grade is/is not an accurate reflection of achievement; 5. Students should/should not repeatedly revise a project or essay until they meet the high standards of excellence set for it. No right or wrong answers to these questions. Purpose of the questions is to help teachers think about the issue of grades and what they mean. R VanDerWeighe. EJ (Jul. 07), p. 74. (***) [Made me think about my own grading principles. RayS.]

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