Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools (5th Edition)

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9780135135303: Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools (5th Edition)

Ideal for pre-service and new teachers, this book shows what it’s really like to step before a classroom of grade six to 12 students and make English language arts approachable and real. Presenting a constructivist approach that asks, “How can my students best learn?” and emphasizing reflective practice as the means to make the concepts clear, Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools, 5/e is filled with actual sample lessons plus classroom ideas and instructional strategies that give readers opportunities to explore what they are learning and see how theory and research relate to practice.

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From the Publisher:

This methods book advocates a process approach to English instruction which is interactive and developmental -- one that is learner-centered, rather than teacher-centered.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

Teaching is a difficult task, and no one text can answer all of the complex questions facing teachers, especially novice teachers, in today's challenging classrooms. For this reason, we are quick to point out that this text is not a panacea. At the same time, we believe that it does offer a comprehensive view of teaching the English language arts, based on sound research and effective classroom practice nationwide, as well as a realistic view of student diversity. In brief, it provides teachers with thoughtful and practical approaches to both curriculum and instruction in secondary English.

In developing this third edition, we reaffirm the value of a holistic, integrated approach to teaching the English language arts. Although we separate the language arts into separate chapters (e.g., composition, literature, oral language), we do so only to explore each area in some depth. Further, we bring the strands back together in every chapter, demonstrating that we teach best when we recognize the potential for both oral and written language in every lesson or unit that we develop and implement. Because our society continues to debate issues of basic skills, and with a state and national focus on assessment, we devote a separate chapter to grammar. We believe that teachers who understand the nature of language learning and the acquisition of skills can successfully integrate grammar throughout the language arts curriculum. In this edition, recognizing that our classrooms serve students with greater diversity and needs, we also address materials and instructional strategies for this population in greater detail. Moreover, we have updated, expanded, and rearranged chapters in this new edition.

The most effective teachers are usually the most reflective among us; they are not afraid to question materials, instructional methods, or themselves in the process of working with young learners. To encourage thoughtful reflection, we ask readers to interact with the ideas presented, whether it be to affirm, question, or challenge. For this reason, we include problem-solving and application as a significant part of the text. Our hope is that in such simulation, novice teachers will gain useful experience, as well as that most practical of habits, thoughtful reflection. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE THIRD EDITION:
CHANGES AND EMPHASES

In Chapter 1 we provide a foundation for all the English language arts, the professional knowledge base on which teachers build curriculum and instruction. We explore briefly the nature of the language arts as processes of making meaning and the holistic nature of learning. The real journey of discovery occurs throughout the text as readers find their individual way. Chapter 2 focuses on the students we teach. We believe it is the students, not the subject matter, who are to be the core of curriculum and instruction. In this new edition, we discuss Howard Gardner's work in multiple intelligences and urge greater awareness of student diversity. Varying sources of student alienation, as well as the larger issue of students at risk, are addressed here; we return to student diversity in later chapters. With students firmly in mind, we turn to curriculum and instruction in Chapter 3.

We have noticed that few contemporary methods texts include much information on curriculum, even though novice teachers are expected to understand it, develop it, and deliver it. In a time of increased accountability, of performance standards, novice teachers need a basic understanding of curriculum and its relationship to student performance. We find, too, that novice teachers need more information on planning for classroom instruction, so we devote Chapter 4 to this important area. In this chapter, we have added substantial information on working with reluctant learners; we also address special needs students in greater detail. As a practical approach to learner diversity, lessons and units throughout the text ask readers to evaluate how well our least capable or least interested student might fare. Teaching students with limited English proficiency or different dialects is a critical part of both Chapter 10 and Chapter 12.

In Chapters 5 through 9, we address the strands of English language arts, the core curriculum of the secondary school; listening, speaking, writing, and literature. As the title of Chapter 5 suggests, we find oral language to be the most neglected area, often receiving scant attention in methods texts. Thus, we have strengthened the chapter with a larger emphasis on designing and implementing group work. We have also added a segment on using young adult literature in oral work, including hands-on work with The Giver, a particularly rich resource. The Giver is featured again in Chapter 9, Teaching Literature. Chapter 6, Teaching Composition, now combines the teaching of writing processes and writing skills (e.g., syntax, usage). Implementation of the writing process by a middle school teacher, along with an example of a 7th grade essay, asks students to evaluate both process and product. Chapter 7 is new, a response to an increasingly important aspect of secondary curriculum and performance standards: writing as a way of learning. Within this chapter, we address study skills needed in everyday academic work, as well as for expository and argumentative writing. Research and report writing are given additional attention, with a new segment on using and evaluating Internet sites.

The next two chapters focus on literature. Chapter 8, Selecting Literature, has a new emphasis on the literature of American minorities and women, without neglecting other areas such as classic, young adult, and world literature. More middle school selections have been added to this chapter, as well as to Chapter 9, Teaching Literature. Responding to the thematic use of literature is an important feature of the literature chapters. Thematic units then become the subject of Chapter 13, where students learn more specifically how to design and implement them. Issues of and strategies for assessment are addressed in Chapter 11 and are applicable to both written and oral language.

Chapter 10 offers a particularly strong response to questions of working effectively with second language learners. Similarly Chapter 12 focuses on understanding and teaching about language. Using young adult literature to teach language concepts is a new segment, and similar to our approach throughout this text, we ask students to evaluate sample lessons and units. In brief, we ask them to look through the lenses of the teachers whom they aspire to be.

The organization of this text is flexible, allowing instructors to follow their own course structure and wishes. We suggest that Chapters 1 and 2 remain the introduction and foundation of the course; Chapters 3 and 4 could be used later, although they are designed to provide "students with a context for considering each of the language arts. Chapters on oral language, composition, literature, and language could be used in any order desired. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We could not have written this book without the help of our students: those in secondary schools who unwittingly were a major part of our learning process; our undergraduate students who help us to understand the fears and uncertainties of becoming a teacher; our graduate students who, as experienced teachers, keep us aware of the realities of the classroom. All of these students are our teachers, and we are grateful for the opportunities to learn from them.

Many friends have provided us with suggestions and encouragement as we worked on all three editions of this text. For this third edition, we wish to note in particular the contributions of Laura Apfelbeck, Helen Dale, and Scott Oates, who have given us guidance through sustained and insightful conversations in the past year. Heartfelt thanks to all.

Finally, we would like to thank the following reviewers for their careful reading and helpful comments: Margaret M. Albers, Georgia State University; Anna L. Bolling, California State University, Stanislaus; Alexander Casareno, University of Portland; E Todd Goodson, Kansas State University; Lynn Becker Haber, Southern Connecticut State University; and Patricia M. Haworth, University of Texas at Dallas.

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