Archive | August, 2009

Time to Teach?

Second week of school and already the following events take time from my classes: Monday: Mandatory reading test (full period) Tuesday: Freshman Buddies Day Workshop (about 75% of my seniors gone all Tuesday) Wednesday: Freshman Buddies Day (all freshman out of class all day; 75% of seniors out) Thursday: Minimum Day for District Teacher Health […]

Don’t Lose Yourself Along the Way

I have seen him around the neighborhood lately, that signature flattop (now gray), those same horn-rimmed glasses he has worn long enough for Mad Men to make almost fashionable again. Not always clean-shaven. And just enough added weight to make me question if it was him. But this morning, when I walked into Peet's at […]

Revising English (Part 4)

After considering carefully the ideas of Jago and Scholes, Langer and Marshall, and a long list of others, I arrived at my own sense of what English is. We need to do more than teach skills and knowledge: We need to cultivate within our students a range of personae, each of which is necessary if […]

Revising English (Part 3)

Perhaps what I am doing in these blogs right now is what English teaches us to do best within the democratic tradition: consider a subject from multiple sides, allow for differing, even conflicting interpretations and arguments, so long as they are carefully reasoned and well-supported. While Jago and Scholes, along with many others, represent different […]

Revising English (Part 2)

While I accept the power, even the truth, of what so many others argue about the value of literature, while I experience the power of literature every time we discuss great literature in my classes—and we do, as you will see throughout the book—there is also another view, one we need to make room for […]

Revising English (Part 1)

In recent weeks I have posted portions of a larger work that seeks to answer the question, "What is English?" as a discipline. So far I have addressed issues of academic and workplace literacy. Here–finally!–I begin to address the content of the discipline of English as we have thought about it in the past and […]

Academic Literacy (Part 2)

    I had none of the academic literacies discussed in yesterday's post when I entered college. Nor I do not fault my high school teachers. It was a different time: No one expected everyone to go to college then. Prior to the late 90s, few thought about the cognitive demands of academic work in these […]

Academic Literacy (Part 1)

In today's post, and those to come, I continue to reflect on the question: What is English? Last week I posted out remarks about workplace literacy; this week begins a new strand, a complement to the workplace literacy English teachers must address: academic literacy. (For those passionate about literature, be patient: I am building up […]

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