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English Journal, Vol. 86, No. 5, September 1997

Cover Art for English Journal, Vol. 86, No. 5, September 1997

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: The Practical Reality of School Reform-What's Happened to English Language Arts?

  • Horace’s Frustration, Horace’s Hope

    Theodore R. Sizer

    Abstract: In this article, Theodore R. Sizer uses his fictional composite English teacher Horace to help him talk about how the traditional, rigid structure of high school impedes learning. He mentions standards, assessments, and new high school structures.

    Keywords: Secondary, Assessment, Pedagogy, Standards

  • Rethinking Curriculum in the English Language Arts

    Arthur N. Applebee

    Abstract: Arthur N. Applebee, in “Rethinking Curriculum in the English Language Arts,” discusses his study and its conclusions based on “what shapes teachers’ curricular decisions, how these decisions play out in the classroom, and the nature of the curriculum that evolves.” An American Literature curriculum is the focus of the case study in the article.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature, Pedagogy

  • Insults to the Soul

    Susan Ohanian

    Abstract: Argues against the current penchant for national testing. Argues against the notion that national tests will turn unfit teachers into fit ones. Notes that parents do not send the schools standardized children and that standardized tests are not what will make a nonreader into a reader. Argues that many good books are ruined by prematurely forcing them on kids.

    Keywords: Secondary, Assessment, Standards

  • Taking Charge of School Reform: English Teachers as Leaders

    Denny Wolfe and M. Lee Manning

    Abstract: Offers eight suggestions regarding how teachers can employ effective strategies to bring about authentic and lasting school improvement: do not coerce; help when asked; do classroom-based research; be the school's best listener; join a National Writing Project site; relate to colleagues as to students; organize seminars/workshops that focus on best practices; and work visibly.

    Keywords: Pedagogy, Research

  • School Reform and the High School Proficiency Test

    Gregory Shafer

    Abstract: Cautions against a statewide proficiency test based on the author's experience as a high school English teacher with the Michigan High School Proficiency Test. Discusses how, while meant to foster accountability, rigor, and standards, the test instead creates panic, uniformity, and a subversion of sound language arts practice. Discusses how this and other such tests hinder sensible English instruction.

    Keywords: Secondary, Assessment, Pedagogy, Standards

  • Educational Reform: A Drama in Three Acts

    Suzanne H. Heyd and Mary H. Sawyer

    Abstract: Uses the form of an original three-act drama to sketch the dilemmas of educational reform. Highlights the experiences of a teacher struggling to reform language arts instruction and assessment in a traditional urban high school.

    Keywords: Secondary, Standards

  • If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It: School Reform in the English Classroom

    Ellen A. Seay Young

    Abstract: Questions three trends in school reform: special considerations, leveling, and scheduling. Notes that, despite all these changes, the author has not seen any great improvements. Argues that using teachers' ideas, acknowledging social and behavioral issues, and resisting parental pressure are what is needed to help the American education system make a comeback.

    Keywords: Secondary, Standards

  • School Reform: A Reflective Essay

    Gerilee Nicastro

    Abstract: Describes the author's experience as a classroom teacher working for six years on school reform as a member of her school's site-based decision-making committee. Discusses a sense of belonging to a professional committee, teacher-initiated integrated curriculum, frustration in coping with rotating principals, growing expectations to assess student achievement, and the impact on participants' professional lives.

    Keywords: Secondary, Standards

  • Fostering Response to Vietnam War Literature through the Arts

    Larry R. Johannessen

    Abstract: Describes a unit on the literature of the Vietnam War (part of a college course called "Twentieth Century War Literature") which uses the arts to enhance student learning. Discusses activities and assignments in which students create visual representations, conduct research, and prepare oral reports on the Vietnam War literature they read.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • World War II: A Research/Presentation Project for Eighth Graders

    Joan Ruddiman

    Abstract: Describes an eighth-grade unit on World War II, in which students work in groups to create a research/presentation project. Discusses making the subject manageable, group responsibilities, evaluation of group presentations, steps leading to the lesson, results, and going beyond the subject . Offers an 87-item list of books and a 39-item list of films on World War II.

    Keywords: Secondary, Pedagogy, Research

  • The Power of Brevity in War Poetry

    Roland Bartel and Diana Grandberry

    Abstract: Argues that the poetry of war is often compressed and powerful and that students of writing and literature can learn from these poets that restraint creates resonance. Discusses war poems with emphatic conclusions; war poems that are short and direct; and teaching the dynamics of brevity through a variety of activities using war poems and war quotations.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • RainbowTeachers/Rainbow Students: Celebrating Heritage through Literature

    MaryCarmen Cruz and Ogle Burks Duff

    Abstract: Describes ways to promote literacy and appreciation for heritage by celebrating the literacy contributions of authors of color, such as Heritage Readings and African American Read-Ins. Offers suggestions of favorite selections by Hispanic, African American, Native American, and Asian American authors.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Teaching Ideas

    Abstract: Discusses getting started, organizing a thematic unit, developing a unit around classroom concerns, and skills students need. Discusses creating a thematic unit in American literature focused on Henry David Thoreau. Presents a series of nine questions for teachers to ask themselves when selecting a novel for use in a thematic unit with middle or high school students.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Middle Ground

    Abstract: Discusses how to teach students the values of "understanding, tolerance, caring, and respect," and to help them understand and appreciate cultures other than their own. Focuses on five levels: building a classroom library of multicultural literature; using "lit sets" (multiple copies of the same book) to promote multicultural understanding; the whole-class novel; interdisciplinary study; and beyond literature.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Young Adult Literature: Using Young Adult Realistic Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers: Something New, Tried and True, and Recommended Nonfiction

    Joan F. Kaywell

    Abstract: Describes a seven-step process that uses young adult literature to help teenagers understand and deal with their troubles. Offers brief annotations of five young adult titles in each of nine areas: alienation and identity; divorce; dropouts, delinquency, and gangs; poverty; teenage pregnancy; abused children; alcohol and drugs; homosexuality; and stress and suicide.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Coming To Terms: Reflective Practice

    Christine A. Krol

    Abstract: Describes and discusses the term "reflective practice," discussing John Dewey's and Donald Schon's statements on the term and levels or stages of reflective practice as understood by M. Van Mannen and by P. King and K. Kitchener. Discusses a teacher's reflective practices.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Letters to EJ

    Abstract: Available in print version only.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • From the Editor

    Virginia R. Monseau

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • From the Secondary Section: Talking Standards

    Katherine Ramsey

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • One Person's Opinion: What Keeps Me Teaching

    Nancy Gorrell

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Resources and Reviews: A Traveler’s Tale: Possibilities and Pitfalls in School Reform

    Eileen Landay

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Bedside Table: Woman on the Road

    Diane Shearer

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • This World of English

    Daniel A. Heller

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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