Monday, July 20, 2009

Topic: Urban Education

10-second review: Every evening on the local news out of Philadelphia, stories of inner-city violence are played out—hit and runs, execution-style murders, innocent store owners gunned down in robberies, bank holdups, young children losing their lives in cross-fires and rampaging teenagers in school, out of school and in the streets of the city. What effect do these images each night have on the children and the teachers who work with them? The editor of this issue of English Education, Valerie Kinloch, has some pertinent questions.

Title: “Themed Issue on Critical Literacy Research with Urban Youth: Implications for Teaching and Teacher Education.” Valerie Kinloch. English Education (July 2009), 311-315. English Education is the teacher training publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “What are some of the longstanding public (mis)perceptions and conflicting images of urban communities that are pervasive in mass media? In what ways do such (mis)perceptions and images affect the literacy lives and literate identities of urban youth, their peers and their families? Why and in what ways do certain stories about urban communities become privileged over others, and what are the dangers, especially for youth, of privileging negative stories about negative communities? What are we—teachers, researchers, community activists, and policy makers—doing to address unfair, often stereotypical stories about urban communities and the young people who live and/or attend school there?” pp. 311-312.

Comment: How do you respond when the head of the English department in an urban high school with mostly minority students says, “Why teach them to write? They can’t write a good sentence.” My answer will appear in the next blog. RayS.

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