Chair: Alan Brown
Committee: Kim Parker, Janis Mottern-High, Steve Heller, Larry Butti, Amy Magnafichi Lucas
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.
Michael Thier, for “Cultural Awareness Logs: A Method for Increasing International-Mindedness among High School and Middle School Students”
In this article, Thier demonstrates the use of Cultural Awareness Logs (CALs) for investigating various literary texts and world cultures within the English classroom. With a focus on CALs and American anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s cultural iceberg, teachers can push students beyond unwarranted cultural stereotypes toward a more genuine consideration of intercultural empathy and the complexities of difference. This analytical method will make a great addition to every English teacher’s pedagogical tool belt. English Journal, July 2013
Chris Gilbert, for “Changing the Lens: The Necessity of Visual Literacy in the ELA Classroom”
Gilbert makes the case for visual literacy as a pedagogical approach for critically consuming the countless images that students encounter on a daily basis (e.g., the images of raced and classed narratives presented in this article), and it is this article for which he wins the Farmer Award. However, Gilbert also authored a second excellent article, “The Quest of Father and Son: Illuminating Character Identity, Motivation, and Conflict in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road,” in which he describes an archetypal inquiry unit that engages students in meaningful character analysis through an examination of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. This combination of articles will encourage both teachers and students alike to reflect upon their interactions with the characters of their own personal everyday lives. English Journal, March 2013
Steffany Comfort Maher, for “Using To Kill a Mockingbird as a Conduit for Teaching about the School-to-Prison Pipeline”
In this article, Maher uses a response-based cultural studies approach to examine four components of the school-to-prison pipeline: single parent homes, lynching and racial discrimination, the criminal justice system, and poverty. Through a reading of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, readers will discover a useful method for engaging students in important discussions on contemporary social issues and interrogations of racial inequality.
Jim Burke, for “Generating Minds”
In this article, Burke offers suggestions for fostering creativity in the classroom while encouraging students to generate innovative ideas through various forms of representation, discussion, reading, writing, and other cross-disciplinary approaches. In an age when creativity is sometimes hidden behind more privileged curricular components, the idea of allowing students to create, generate, and inhabit new spaces in the English classroom is both timely and stimulating.