The 2010 Paul and Kate Farmer English Journal Writing Award
The Paul and Kate Farmer English Journal Writing Awards are given to authors of the best articles published in English Journal during the previous volume year. Eligible entrants must be high school teachers and may include those on leave or not currently teaching.
Winners of 2010 awards are:
Sue C. Biondo-Hench for “Shakespeare Troupe: An Adventure in Words, Fluid Text and Comedy" , September 2009, p. 37-43
The prose is eloquent – Biondo-Hench weaves Shakespeare’s voice into her own in ways that are seamless and natural: “Though Shakespeare calls time a tyrant, taking beauty, people, and love from us, for that moment, the tyrant was my friend, and I was content” (37). The structure of the article is both logical and rhetorically sophisticated: her title outlines the three “acts” of the body of her work, and these acts, each of which addresses one of three core beliefs held by the author, are organized by order of importance to the author and to us. Written to span a period of twenty years, the narrative’s chronological order is enriched with flashbacks and the language of time threads itself throughout. The diction in the first sentence, for example, employs the words “first,” “past,” and “present,” while the last sentence closes with the words, “…an illusion of indefinite time prevails” (42). This language pattern spans the whole work. This article has the literary tenor of a memoir. The content reveals a long and rich relationship with students, with Shakespeare, and with the professional community. Her literary commentary reveals a long and intimate relationship with Shakespeare’s text. Her work is informed by a rich array of colleagues and scholars and she is generous in her acknowledgement of the debt she owes them. Guided by their scholarship and by the experience of working with high school students in a Shakespeare troupe that she founded, she shares a profound discovery that Shakespeare’s comedies speak more directly to adolescents than the tragedies.
Mary Kendrick for “Using Student Collaboration to Foster Progressive Discourse" , May 2010, p. 85-90.
Kendrick’s article on teaching students how to learn together in authentic, collaborative, dynamic settings is important and inspiring. The author compares her classroom in 1998 with her classroom in 2008 and immediately and vividly demonstrates how far the best teachers have come in their understanding of authentic group work. Her article is student-centered in both content and form, and it is informed by the research of three strong sources including, Breaking (into) the Circle by Hephzibah Roskelley. This article addresses an issue in education that speaks to us all. Every classroom teacher keeps looking for the most effective ways to teach adolescents not only how to work but how to work together.
Honorable Mentions are:
Maja Wilson for "Rethinking a Writing Teacher's Expertise: Following Students Under the Kitchen Table" (January 2010)
Alan E. Miller for "Teaching Machiavelli, or How I Learned to Love The Prince" (March 2010)
Awards were presented at the NCTE Annual Convention in November during the Secondary Section Luncheon.