Purpose of this blog: Review of interesting articles and ideas in English education journals, K-12.
10-second review: False labeling of students. The political forces at work in teaching composition.
Title: : “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RL Larson and A Bechan. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1992), p. 211-234.
False Labeling of Students: A study of one student’s background that led to his being labeled as ‘remedial’ and suggests some approaches that might work against the impulse to such early classification. G Hull, et al. 1991. P. 221. [Comment: I have encountered a number of examples of students being mislabeled “remedial” or “lazy” in my 35-year career in English education. It’s too easy to get a troublesome (not necessarily in behavior) student out of your hair. The same is true of ADD. I’m an English teacher, not a psychologist but there has to be a better way to find what these students really need. Psychologists rarely come up with effective approaches to remediation—in my experience. RayS.]
The Political Forces at Work in the Teaching of Composition. “Explores in particular the oppositions between the teaching of composition and the teaching of literature, and between the ‘regular’ faculty in the department of English and the faculty in composition. Evaluates practices and procedures currently followed in the teaching of writing (including that of making assignments for writings that, when written, can have no influence on anyone’s thinking). And asserts the value and importance of the shift to teaching the ‘process’ of writing…. A forceful, discomfiting study of the political forces at work on composition programs.” J Miller. 1991. P. 221-222.
[Comment: I would welcome studies of the political forces that reject connecting grammar and writing, reject basals in favor of whole language, encourage the writing process vs. product, encourage elective programs in secondary English, etc., etc. And the political forces behind these issues and many others all start with the NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English. Understandably so. You have to have an organization that allows debate on the inevitable issues. I just think the NCTE weighs in with more influence on one side of the issue rather than encouraging an impartial debate. Italics in bold, mine. RayS.]