Teaching Challenges

Hi everyone, its Donna.  Before delving into the subject of ELA I just wanted to let everyone know that I did get the promotion I applied for and begin on Tuesday.  I am looking forward to the new challenge.  Anyway, in regards to teaching ELA, I view it as a tool  for students to use to advance their own ambitions.  Especially in high school which is a time of discovery in what they are passionate about and should be encouraged through reading  whether novels, journals, newspapers, etc.  They need to be taught how the power of words can be used to their benefit as in employment, college applications, marriage and friendships, getting a promotion, etc.  As for challenges and what I would like to learn are all of the creative techniques others teachers have used to engage students especially with classic texts such as Shakespeare.  While I know many of my own, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve.  Have a great holiday weekend and see you all on Tuesday. 



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3 responses to “Teaching Challenges

  1. rayhedrick

    Congratulations on your promotion!

  2. ll123

    Stearns asks us, “What do you really believe about the teaching of English Language Arts?” ——–I think that we are not just teaching students language or methods of writing, we are actually instilling them with social value, morality, and human relationship through our teaching. What we learn from a movie, a novel, a life experience, or a classroom experience, shapes our own personalities, our ambitions, and our viewpoints of this world. We try to influence students the way we want them to be, believe it or not. The way of teaching also reflects what the government wants us to do, and what the powerful people– those who control the money and education policies, want us to do. Do we have a real choice in teaching?

  3. jeverly

    Oh, yes. The articles we have been reading for class are concerning; the role of the teacher appears minimal since there is a great deal of emphasis on how society and politics control curriculum, funding, environment, and eventually, outcome. I think the best part of teaching gets overlooked- probably because it is virtually impossible to measure. What do I really believe about the teaching of English Language Arts? First, I don’t think it is any different than teaching another “subject” as they can all be connected; they were disconnected arbitrarily in the first place. Second, I am a firm believer that teaching and learning are about building relationships.

    I teach English Language Arts because words are my passion and sharing my passion is a strong basis for building a relationship. Once that relationship is established, a student is open to much more than memorization and regurgitation. It is not teaching to present information and test the retention of it. My greatest grievance is when teachers only allow for one interpretation of literature and mark off points for creative or differing perspectives. English teachers, such as Erin Gruwell, have relationships with their students and, therefore, encourage them to reevaluate their values and experiences. Literature should only be the base we use to teach individuals to question everything.

    For example, I give you a story because I love them; this one during middle school life science class. I detested life sciences, but, having high academic expectations for myself, there was no excuse for poor performance. Still, studying did not solidify what felt like an endless list of facts. When test day came, we were allowed one index card to record the information we most thought we would need. Cheating?! I asked, very confused, how this could be learning. My teacher smiled; she relished this part, the teaching part. “If you have learned how to find the information when you need it, you have learned a greater lesson then memorizing a handful of scientific terms.”

    Life science provided the vehicle to introduce a new type of learning and a new view of education. In other words, I agree with Jerry. “Should our goal as ELA teachers not be to create a citizenry that can inform themselves? In the face of such a deluge of information, I would argue that our greatest responsibility to our students is to engage the critical skills necessary…” I also feel that the most important element in achieving this is the individual. Teachers’ attitudes and influence are the only things that can’t be dictated by the national government; this may be the key.

    So, what do I want to learn? How do we accomplish this goal in an environment of increasingly limiting dictates from various bureaucratic organizations? As individuals, how do we make changes?

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