Thursday, March 12, 2009

Secondary School Topic: Thematic Teaching

10-second review: One way of uniting the various part of the language arts is organizing the English curriculum by themes.

Title: “Getting It All Together…Thematically.” JH Bushman and SK Jones. English Journal (May 1975),54-60. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: No matter what the theme, students will not only read the literature, view the films and even participate in drama, but they will be also learn to write and to speak, thus working with most of the language arts concurrently.

Comment: In an earlier review of an article from the archives of English education professional journals, I mentioned that, when I was a K-12 English supervisor, the teachers and I developed individual strands of the language arts curriculum. I never got to stage 2, unifying those strands, writing, speaking, literature, working together, etc.

I have to confess that I never really saw the purpose of the thematic organization of the curriculum. Theoretically, at least, I now see another of my many lost opportunities—using themes as a way of unifying teaching the language arts.

One of the reasons I never saw this opportunity is that I always merely summarized the articles I read in my professional journals, including this one. I never did, as I am doing now that I am retired, reflect on the ideas—what they mean, their implications and applications. If I had reflected on the ideas in the articles in professional journals, I might have recognized the possibilities of organizing curriculum by themes.

Please! Don’t do as I did. Take the time to reflect on your experiences as a teacher and on the ideas you gain from your professional reading. RayS.

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