Courses of study, textbooks, and teachers' statements of their
instructional goals all assure the reader that concern with building
moral values is an important outcome of the study of English.
Despite changes that have altered landmarks in English instruction
in the last twenty years, the examination of values and the gradual
formulation of a coherent code of ethics have remained a desired
outcome of instruction in the English language arts.
The what of teaching cannot easily be distinguished from the
how of teaching as the contributions to the Yearbook readily indicate.
Yet the content parameters of English have so expanded over
the past two decades that any review of current developments would
seem incomplete without direct consideration of the changing nature
of the discipline. In selecting five areas for special consideration in
this chapter, the authors illustrate the gradual broadening of subject
matter that has occurred both as a result of scholarly and professional
developments and as a response to new instructional requirements.
That many of these changes have precipitated controversies
in individual communities is perhaps less significant than their
demonstration of the vitality of English studies in a changing social
and educational setting.
The past twenty years have seen repeated attempts to improve
the preservice and in-service education of teachers of the English
language arts. Emphases have changed with the nation's social and
cultural concerns, but the education of the teacher, like his classroom
teaching, remains almost as it has been.
What do today's sociocultural, scholarly, and professional trends
imply for the future of the teaching of English? To analyze the
direction in wlfich curriculum and instruction is moving, the Yearbook
Committee invited seven participants to express their diverse
views and experiences.
From the study of communication the following principles may be applied to a theory of teaching: 1. that communication is exchange; 2. that information resolves uncertainty; 3. that guessing is pattern-matching; 4. that patterns are more or less inclusive. This paper offers a discussion of the four principles cited above.
In this concluding chapter the writers look at certain premises for
approaching the future; at probable developments of the next decade
that are relevant to secondary education; and at portentous social
decisions that need to be made if an American secondary education
program, designed for the 1980s as well as anticipating the next century,
is to be moved from our ideological drawing boards to the oftentimes
harsh world of reality. The writers also have chosen to explore
some of the possible implications for tomorrow's education to be
derived from cultural pluralism. The challenge of meeting the needs of our human subsets, we believe, is so important as to merit selection as
an exemplar of the many decisions that are long overdue for attention
and follow-up action in society and in secondary education.
This article is an examination of one particularly crucial and generally overlooked aspect of teaching: what the author calls "translation."
The author describes four routes by which a teacher can find out if her pupils are learning: 1. By asking them questions in class; 2. By checking their homework; 3. By scoring their tests which she devises; 4. By computing their scores on standardized tests.
There are a number of points of view from which one can look
at the matter of continuing education and the question of the priorities
we should set for it. Indeed, the needs for education are so
numerous and various in today's world that it is difficult to know
where to begin in either listing them or attaching priorities to them.
Reading, as a necessary skill to be acquired, is as old as Egyptian history, but even now, a significant portion of the population fails to acquire it. The problem, then, is to understand why.
The author contends that the bland, insipid content of first-grade readers not only complicates the process of "learning to read," but may, in fact, later contribute to an adolescent's anxiety.
An examination was made of the sex role models portrayed in primary reading texts during six contiguous historical periods in the United States from 1600 to 1966.
The author sketches here the story of a Philadelphia experiment in which workshops were organized for teaching the parents of Head Start pupils how to teach their children to learn.
This chapter will present (a) a general appraisal of the setting for
community programs; (b) reasons for the community-school approach;
(c) an organizational plan designed to carry out community-centered
programs; and (d) plans for working with the retarded and
To assist us in our exploration of the role of voluntary adult reading in the United States, certain kinds of information would be useful. How much reading is actually being done in this country today? Who are the readers? What kinds of things do they read? The answers to such questions can help us define what would constitute an "improvement" in adult reading and give direction to any programs we may devise for enlarging the role of reading and increasing its importance in the education of adults.
The fact was pointed out in the preceding chapter that what adults read and the extent of their reading are influenced by their ability to read. It is equally true that the values derived—pleasure, information, thought stimulation, the solution of personal and group problems—are determined in large measure by their reading efficiency. It follows that the question of how well adults read assumes large importance in any critical analysis of adult reading problems.
It is our task in this paper to take this large picture apart. We shall consider this lifelong behavior of man as a series of decisions to read or not to read a given piece of writing at a given time in a given situation. We shall suggest some general models as to why these decisions take place, but we must also record great variations in the models and great individual differences among readers.
The great industrial expansion of the nineteenth century and the growth of popular education resulted in a demand for more books available to all, and the public library became the institution for the continuing education of all men. Public libraries had their early beginnings in the parish libraries of Maryland and North Carolina in the late seventeenth century. Later came the town libraries of New England. Early libraries were usually subscription or association libraries; mercantile or mechanics libraries founded by business houses or associations of working men to provide read- ing for employees. Some of these still exist. The really progressive free library became possible when Massachusetts, leading the way for other states, gave legal sanction to the expenditure of public funds for the establishment and maintenance of public libraries.
College and university libraries are just beginning to meet their important obligation to develop adult readers on campus and in the surrounding community. The neglect of this responsibility had relatively less significance two generations ago when only 4 per cent of the college-age population received any higher education. Now more than a third of the 18-21 age group attend college, and the figure may rise to 50 per cent in the next fifteen years.1 While reading habits are first formed in the home and the school, the college has an opportunity to awaken worth-while interests and to accustom its young adults to the feeding of these interests through the regular and independent use of books.
The educator of adults is concerned not so much with the process of reading as with its effect. He owes no loyalty to any one means of learning but must consider all of them as methods or devices to be used as needed, either singly or in combination. His central aim is to help people change themselves in desirable ways; and his concern with reading or any other process depends solely on its relative usefulness in producing the hoped-for result.
The reading of adults—whether they read, how much they read, and what they read-depends on many factors of skill, habit, and motivation. But it also depends in very great measure on what is conveniently available to them to read. About 9,500 new books and about 2,500 new editions of previously issued works are published annually in the book trade in the United States. Moreover, the book trade keeps in print some 100,000 different books. The network of arrangements by which these tens of thousands of separate books, emanating from hundreds of separate sources, find their way, or more often fail to find their way, to their potential users among the adult Americans in many thousands of communities throughout the country is one of the principal determinants of reading.
The aim of communication is to share ideas, information, attitudes, and skills. The sharing may be through direct imitation of an action or indirectly by words, pictures, and other symbols. In a simple society where specialized information is rare, everyone can talk to and learn from everyone else. But in today's specialized society we have reached a point where, as Robert M. Hutchins once put it, even our anatomists cannot talk to each other unless they happen to be working on the same part of the body.
It is possible for almost any adult to improve his reading both in rate and in comprehension. In practice, most of us adopt a congenial pace in rending much below our actual capacity. And some of us read everything in the same way—a newspaper, a novel, or a conference report. In many cases, this is a snail's pace; in others it is a relatively slow rate that becomes habitual. There are, of course, large numbers of adults who read various types of material skilfully. Yet many of these people can improve their reading habits.
The more significant of Dr. Thorndike's contributions to lexicography are described in this article. Thanks to his influence, all school dictionaries now have readable type.
The author is suggesting that despite his distrust of conventional rules, Professor Thorndike, to the extent that he is himself at all unconventional, becomes so only through excess of conservatism. The question that arises is whether some connection can be traced between his practice and his opinions.
A description of the Thorndike-Lorge Reading Test. The Thorndike-Lorge Test is planned as a general test of silent reading comprehension. It includes all the important factors in silent reading with reasonable weight for each factor.
Adult education in America, today, is facing unprecedented opportunities.
As this book is being written, the European war is entering
what many believe will be its final phase. "Postwar" issues which once
seemed comfortably remote are now on the front pages of the newspapers.
As people try to meet the situations which these issues present
there are few, indeed, who are not baffled by the demands for skill and
judgment which each day makes upon them.
Consider these simple questions: How many English words should the ordinary boy or girl know the meanings of at the end of Grade 8? Which words should all or nearly all pupils know at that stage? In what grades and in what connections should they be learned?
A summary of The National Endowment for the Arts study "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America."
Reading instruction has been reformed successfully in the primary grades, but with no consequent improvement in adolescent literacy. This commentary asks the question: What changes can the states and federal government make to education policy that will boost adolescent reading achievement?