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English Journal, Vol. 87, No. 3, March 1998

Cover Art for English Journal, Vol. 87, No. 3, March 1998

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Teaching the Classics: Old Wine, New Bottles

  • Foregrounding the Background

    Bruce Robbins

    Abstract: Argues that when introductory activities to the classics begin with background information, it can upstage or confine the life of the story, and shows little faith in the students as readers or in the literature itself. Suggests sometimes letting the literature begin, and then helping students make sense of it. Discusses examples from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Shakespeare.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • Classic Connections: Aiding Literary Comprehension through Varied Liberal Arts Alliance

    Janet Jurgella

    Abstract: Offers four avenues to teaching classic literature. Describes how the author helps students connect with classic literature through assignments that look for connections between literature and: (1) art and music; (2) dramatic interpretation; (3) video/technology; and (4) other literary works.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • "A Blind Man's Ditch": Suppression of the Imagination in the Quest for Test Scores

    Jeff Loeb

    Abstract: Describes how, giving an exam that included working with uncontextualized poetry, a teacher inadvertently discovered that the least accomplished students were the biggest risk-takers; the so-called best students were ironically self-limited by their own drive to succeed; tracking only encouraged this lack of risk-taking; and the less good students had something to offer to critical discussion in the classroom.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature, Pedagogy

  • Reflection

    Karen Kurzman

    Abstract: Describes how an English teacher slowed down her class and took out certain activities, in order to put in reflection. Relates how she now requires (and teaches) students to reflect on what the things they read actually mean to them, their beliefs and their lives. Shows students relating to the classics in vivid ways.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • The Bible: Why We Need to Teach It; How Some Do

    Marie Goughnour Wachlin

    Abstract: Argues that the Bible is a classic in a class by itself, and discusses why secondary students need to study it. Notes legal interpretations that guide Bible teachers and students. Describes how secondary English teachers are successfully teaching the Bible in several schools across the country, and discusses literary allusions, bible versions, teaching materials, and cross-cultural study.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • The Poet's Inner Circle: Gaming Strategies Based on Famous Quotations

    Charles R. Beck

    Abstract: Describes two gaming strategies which teach poetry using quotations extracted from six Shakespeare plays. Discusses selecting plays and quotations, games for matching quotations, and providing synopses and introducing characters. Describes in detail learning objectives, player distribution, adjudicator role, procedures and rules, and debriefing session for each of the gaming strategies.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature, Pedagogy

  • Teaching Shakespeare to Learning Disabled Students

    Kathryn King Johnson

    Abstract: Describes how, at a school in Texas, Shakespeare becomes a teaching vehicle for learning-disabled students as they engage in a year-long class that studies Shakespeare and his times, as well as produce an entire play. Argues that the experience works so successfully because it is student-centered, collaborative, and experiential.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature, Pedagogy

  • Romeo and Juliet: The Movie

    Sarah L. Lorenz

    Abstract: Argues that the 1996 film of "Romeo and Juliet" (starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes, and transposed to inner-city gang culture) is a gripping presentation of Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers in an impulsive, hot-headed, violent world. Suggests that the film is practically guaranteed to make students love Shakespeare.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature, Pedagogy

  • Bill and Gus Go Fishing: Discovering "Tintern Abbey" Along the Banks of the River Why

    Jan Shoemaker

    Abstract: Describes how pairing Wordsworth's poem ("Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey") with a contemporary novel ("The River Why" by David James Duncan) makes the classic poem come alive for students. Argues that, regardless of the poem, Duncan's novel is ideally suited for classroom study.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • Teaching the Enlightenment in American Literature: Shedding Light on Faith and Reason

    Anne K. Branham

    Abstract: Describes a solicitous yet forthright approach to a potentially controversial American literature unit on the tremendous impact of the Enlightenment on American society and its political system. Outlines the peculiar blending of Puritan morality and Enlightenment ideals that shaped American character. Discusses the vital role of rejecting religious authoritarianism in the Enlightenment; and discusses rationalism and God.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • "It Beckons, and It Baffles": Resurrecting Emily Dickinson (& Poetry) in the Student-Centered Clasroom

    P.L. Thomas

    Abstract: Describes an efficient, open-ended set of instructional activities for high school students that has students analyze song lyrics of R.E.M. (an alternative rock band from Athens, Georgia) for literary techniques, topics, themes, and form as preparation to experiment with reading, deciphering, and mimicking Emily Dickinson.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • An English Class with Emily

    Lawrence F. Bassett

    Abstract: Presents a high school student's description in class of her deep connection to Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," and how it offers a glimpse of the vast interior lives of women.

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • When the Mockingbird Becomes an Albatross: Reading and Resistance in the Language Arts Classroom

    Carol Ricker-Wilson

    Abstract: Describes the discomfort experienced by students and teacher as they explored how blackness is portrayed and understood in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Grapples with fundamental pedagogical questions: how to talk about race with a diverse group of students and how to examine victimization and oppression. Suggests tandem teaching with M. Taylor's "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry."

    Keywords: Secondary, Literature

  • Rainbow Teachers/Rainbow Students: The Language of Wider Communications: Beyond Ebonics

    Abstract: Presents first a short article, "Response to the Issue of Ebonics," written by a Pennsylvania high school student. Follows this with an article, "Building Bridges to the 'Language of Wider Communication'" which reflects on ways of using the language children bring to the classroom as a means of building bridges to wider communication.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Teaching Ideas

    Abstract: Presents two articles which both describe a project that built instructional plans around students' development and interests instead of imposing ready-made curricula, and in which students became active, eager participants in their own learning. Offers at the end a list extracting the principles on which the instruction in these articles is based.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Resources and Reviews: My Dinner with Andre: Inviting the Authors to Speak

    Barbara Goggans

    Abstract: Offers a review of nine books, presented in the form of an imagined conversation between the authors (leading scholars in the English-language arts today) as they discuss changes in language-arts curriculum, interdisciplinary curriculum, community-building in the classroom, teaching rather than showing films, and literature as a living tradition.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Middle Ground

    Abstract: Reports what students had to say about teachers, school, kids, and life. Finds that their thoughts fall into four categories: respect, responsibility, response, and relationship.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Young Adult Literature: The Power of Books and Literacy

    Joan F. Kaywell and Rebecca J. Joseph

    Abstract: Discusses the power of books and literacy, the power of giving students their own books to take home, and young adult novels in which the importance of books is a major theme. Offers brief descriptions of 27 books (mostly novels) whose stories focus on the power of books and literacy.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Coming To Terms: Unravelling the Comma Splice

    Anne L. Klinck

    Abstract: Argues that the prohibition against the comma splice has no logical basis whatsoever, and offers numerous examples. Maintains that English teachers should relax prohibitions against comma splices, accept that usage is flexible, and allow students a freedom which more confident writers take for granted.

    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

  • One Person's Opinion: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger

    Carol van Zalingen

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Secondary

  • Bedside Table: Everything You Wanted to Know About Reading

    Anne Shaughnessy

    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: 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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