Reimagining the Teaching of English

Author: plthomasedd for radicalscholarship

Published in The High School Journal (May 1951) by Dorothy McCuskey, a review of Lou LaBrant‘s most comprehensive work on teaching English, We Teach English, concluded: “In short, this is no ‘how to teach’ book. Rather, it is a book which will cause the reader to re-examine the bases of his [sic] teaching methods and the content of his [sic] courses.”

LaBrant was a demanding teacher and scholar with a career as a teacher of English from 1906 until 1971. And one of the defining features of that career was her persistent challenges to how teachers taught the field labeled, then, as “English.”

The field traditionally called “English” has evolved over the years, often at the K-12 level being envisioned as English/Language Arts (ELA) or simply Language Arts.

Nelson Flores, at The Educational Linguist, recently confronted “Language Arts” as a descriptor or teaching English:

Schools often teaches courses called Language Arts. Yet, little actual art happens in most of these classrooms. Instead, language is often treated as a static set of prescriptivist rules that children are expected to master and mimic back to their teacher. This is not an exploration of the art of language. This is linguistic oppression.

HOW ABOUT WE ACTUALLY BRING THE ART OF LANGUAGE INTO LANGUAGE ARTS?

Concurrent with this post from Flores, I argued that students must unlearn to write in order to write well at the college level and shared on Twitter the baggage students bring to college, what they must unlearn:

Read more here.

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