Blog for English Curriculum. Dedicated to the discussion of various pedagogical issues in the teaching of English.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Literature Review

Excellent tips on how to write a literature review can be found on: The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It. The point that struck me most was the following which I quote from the section entitled Final Notes:

You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question.

There are many good examples of Action Research literature reviews on Education sites. We can perhaps find one and comment on its argument, its organization, and its use of language.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning

I find The Journal of Imagination in Language Learning particularly useful because it approaches language and literature on an integrated front, and also because its articles share the classroom experience of practitioners on a wide variety of topics. I also like this journal because it is handy -- it is online and its articles are focused and relatively short!

We browse The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning for topics related to our Curriculum Study, sharing ideas that will be useful to everyone.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What is Critical Literacy?

Most teachers would agree that developing critical literacy should be a priority on secondary school curricula. However, there is a tendency to think that building this important awareness is the responsibility of the teacher of language and literature.

What exactly is critical literacy?
How is it similar to or different from critical thinking ability?
In what ways can teachers of language and literature in secondary schools engage critical literacy with their students?

We search the web for clarification and share not only our findings but our sources.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'Teaching Grammar' in a Trinbagonian Context

One of our tasks as language teachers is developing Standard English competence among our students. Many teachers interpret this mandate as 'teaching grammar.'

Do you 'teach grammar'?
What is your definition of grammar?
What does current research say about teaching grammar?
How is this research helpful in our Trinbagonian context?

In our comments we critically examine and share websites, articles, books, views and strategies that we have found useful for our Trinbagonian classrooms.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Developing Oral Communication Skills

Teachers of Forms 1 to 3 in our secondary schools have reported that there is now an oral communication skills assessment at Form 3 level. The normal tendency of teachers, students, parents, and schools is to react to examinations, but pedagogically this is not the best practice, since language competence is developmental. In this forum we share our iniatives in developing oral communication skills throughout the secondary school.

(1) What do our Standards say?
(2) What communication competencies are we specifically targetting?
(3) What guidelines do our syllabuses provide?
(4) What are our topics for this semester?
(5) Where does the Creole factor into this mix?

We share our ideas and examples of best practice - not only goals, ideas and methods we are already implementing, but goals, ideas and methods we have found in our research online and in books that all of us can benefit from.

We also say 'Thank You" to Kimarie

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Approaches to Teaching Theme

Your literature class is studying The Humming-Bird Tree. Your discussion for the impending lesson centers on issues of gender, and you have assigned for prior reading the excerpt below. In the excerpt some men in Ramlal's rumshop discuss how difficult it is to make a living during the slack season in their village where sugar-cane is the mainstay. Their conversation ranges over the merits and demerits of migrating to town for work.

'You say true, you say true. But you going see the town going choke up worse even. Whe'everybody going live? You see Shanty Town already down by Port of Spain people squeeze up worse than dog, worse than donkey. An' when the women going wit' the men what you think happen to them, eh? Answer me that brief, eh. What you think going happen wit' them so? You well know, I don' have to say, in a week time, in a mont' time, something so, they going sell their c--- to the nearest money. It mek you smell hell in you' nosehole.'

'Old Boss, you right. Dey c--- is the only thing dey have, you right.'

'That is it, man. Whe' they going' cook their food proper? You know how a woman like she cooking, how she like to hol' a coo-coo stick in she han' or mek up a pilao. She going finish wit' all that big cooking, no mo' four coalpot, oui, an' how she going walk jus' out o' door an' fin' callalloo bush ready so fo' she pot? No, man ...
(pp. 61-62).

A delegation of female students in your mixed literature class accosts you as you get to the classroom door to say that the male students have been calling them unmentionable names since the class has begun studying the book, and they don't want to discuss gender. Furthermore, they no longer want to study that book. You have no choice but to enter the classroom.

Describe your teaching procedures in the hour-long session that follows.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Lesson in Persuasion - The Speech

The website American Rhetoric – Top 100 Speeches provides us with audio and print for some of the most persuasive speeches in American history. Among those speeches there are some that have had universal impact, because they have inspired lives and brought civil liberties to all corners of the world.

As we browse the speeches we ask ourselves: Which one of the 100 speeches would make the most impact on a particular student or set of students we can think of, and why? What language elements would we guide this student or group to notice in this particular speech? What would the purpose be ... the setting ... the audience? The triumphant speech of the captain of the football team after the intercol game? The acceptance speech of the winner of Mr. Personality of the Year at your annual school pageant? Leading the school Monday morning assembly? The valedictory address?

We also think of objectives for language lessons to teach this brand of rhetoric, as we examine both the audio and print resources we have readily at hand.