Week 7: Promise & Peril Highlights

1 03 2011

Here are some points, information, resources that stood out for me as I reflected on the Monday, Feb. 7th class — one I will never forget by the way. I’ve never lost power just before a class before and had to depend on my ups (uninterruptible power supply) to get me through.

Essential Question: What is Young Adult Literature and how can we make the most of it in the education of young adults?

Plan: To expand our thinking on the promise and peril of YA lit to explore what the evolving English Language Arts Classroom may look like . . .

What will be the role of literature in a student’s life? We simply can’t predict.

What is the role of the English Language Arts teacher?

In selecting literature . . .

“In selecting books for reading by young people, English teachers consider the contribution which each work may make to the education of the reader, its aesthetic value, its honesty, its readability for a particular group of students, and its appeal to adolescents. English teachers, however, may use different works for different purposes. The criteria for choosing a work to be read by an entire class are somewhat different from the criteria for choosing works to be read by small groups . . . the criteria for suggesting books to individuals or for recommending something worth reading for a students who casually stops by after class are different from selecting material for a class or group. But the teacher selects, not censors, books.

Students and parents have the right to demand that education today keep students in touch with the reality of the world outside the classroom. Much of classic literature asks questions as valid and significant today as when the literature first appeared, questions like “What is the nature of humanity?” “Why do people praise individuality and practice conformity?” “What do people need for a good life?” and “What is the nature of a good person?” — NCTE, The Students’ Right to Read

Take-home message: There are numerous ways that ELA teachers can share books with teen readers and the context influences the literature selection.

Types of literacy for the 21st Century . . . skills, knowledge and understanding, and values

Functional literacy implies a level of reading and writing that enables people to function adequately in social and employment situations . . . (Cummins & Sayers, Brave New Schools, 1995 – see eReserves)

Cultural literacy emphasizes the need for shared experiences, knowledge, and expectations in order to comprehend adequately texts, media, or patterns of social interaction within particular communities. — E. D. Hirsch. His book, Cultural Literacy. What Every American Needs to Know (Cummins & Sayers, Brave New Schools, 1995 – see eReserves)

Cultural literacy updated to “the ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one’s own culture and the cultures of others” (Metiri Group in cooperation with NCREL)

Critical literacy reflects the analytic abilities involved in cutting through the surface veneer of persuasive arguments to the realities underneath and analyzing the methods and purposes of particular forms of persuasion. Clearly, the ability to think critically in these ways is crucial for meaningful participation in a democratic society. Brazilian educator Paulo Freire demonstrated the power of literacy “to promote reflection and social action” in Brazil in his work to stop the oppression of the poor. . (Cummins & Sayers, Brave New Schools, 1995 – See eReserves)

What are the English Language Arts Classrooms we need?

Change is needed as more and more courses are taught online (NC Virtual Public School serves 70,000 students) and many courses add an online/virtual component (Blended Learning). Christensen, Johnston, and Horn (2009) predict that one-half of all high school courses will be taught online by 2019 http://www.amazon.com/Disrupting-Class-Disruptive-Innovation-Change/dp/0071592067 To learn more about disruptive innovation in education — see Edutopia and Student-Centric Education

What an Evolving English Language Arts Classroom might look like – inspired by Aronson (Beyondthe Pale, 2000) and Connectivism (Siemens & Downes; read more in ECI 521 . . .


(click on image to enlarge)

Virtual Book Clubs
The Orange Houses and Persepolis (Part 1) Book Clubs met, discussed, and planned. Goal is to share your multicultural book in class on March 14th and to begin to develop some guidelines for scaffolding book clubs.

For next class: We’ll follow through with the promises and perils that we were listing individually and add to the mind map of the “evolving ELA classroom.”

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