Friday, December 31, 2010

Topic: Evaluation Criteria for a Writing Assignment

Question: What are criteria for the best and poorest student writing?


Focus. Focus is perfect: no scenes or paragraphs could be deleted without significantly damaging the story, and any additions would be distracting

Concreteness. Contains an astonishing amount of effective detail and no excess detail.

Tension. Sustains significant narrative tension through choices that are highly original and even daring.

Pace. Contains several places where the pace picks up or slows down dramatically and effectively.

Style/correctness. Contains no errors in grammar, mechanics, or MLA format and the sentences are delightfully graceful and clear.

Focus. It is difficult to tell what the real story is because the essay contains either far too many events or far too few.

Concreteness. Contains no significant concrete details.

Tension. Sustains no real tension and/or is very difficult to follow.

Pace. The pace consistently speeds up and slows down in inappropriate places.

Style/Correctness. Contains so many errors as to make the text practically or completely unreadable.

Comment: Hard to tell what exactly this assignment consists of. Is it a story? Or an essay? Or research  paper? Still, the categories are useful. RayS.

Title: “Here We Go ‘Round and ‘Round: A Process of Peer Evaluation.” SK Engbers. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (May 2009), 394-401.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Research Archives: History of Teaching English

Question: How can we learn the history of teaching methods in English?

Answer: “Content analysis of professional periodicals provides a picture of the evolution of teaching methods in English.” L Shadiow, 1984, 438.

Comment:. Makes sense. So what? Who reads them? RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1984), 417-438.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Research Archive: Teachers' Views of Learning

Question: How do teachers view learning?

Answer: “Found that teachers viewed learning as exposure to a piece of knowledge rather than a process of interaction with it.” LR Luke, 1983, 438.

Comment: At Syracuse University, one of my instructors in graduate work, Dr. Sheldon, asked us to read professional articles. He kept preaching that we, his students, were not simply to summarize the ideas in the articles, but to respond to them personally, what the ideas meant to us as teachers. He admitted being frustrated with assignments that simply were summarized, and not responded to.

I think summarizing is a habit that is hard to break. Responding to ideas is really how learning takes place. You take the ideas and do something with them. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1984), 417-438.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Topic: A literary Theme to Teach

Question: Want a theme that almost every student can relate to?

Answer: “Children and their parents—it is an ancient theme, a timeless attempt to unravel the mystery of the parent and the mystery of the child understanding itself, a distinct person apart, yet very much a part of the mother and father.”

“Over the years, I have had success teaching a unit on the father/child theme for various second-year literature classes. It is a unit that students enjoy, because they can relate to the emotions and situations described by an endless variety of writers and because the works that I choose are modern and accessible to students.”

Comment: The author gives only a few examples of the works he uses in class. But the theme is so pervasive in literature that it should be easy to find literary sources. Of course, they will not be in one place together, but the theme is intriguing. The author suggests that the theme provides plenty of opportunities for writing assignments. Childhood, together with the influence it has on adults, is a truly universal experience. RayS.

Title: “A Father/Child Unit for the Introductory Literature Class.” J Mulvey. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (May 2009), 392-396.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Research Archive: Teachers' Sources of Ideas in Teaching

Question: What are the sources of Teachers’ ideas about teaching?

Answer: The sources in order of preference: face-to-face discussion, seminars, printed material and demonstrations. NJ Johnson, 1983, 438.

Comment: My aborted dissertation concerned how to gain ideas efficiently in fifteen minutes spent with professional journals. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1984), 417-438.