The primary issues for those areas of study called the humanities
are also the central concerns of both education and contemporary
culture in the last part of the twentieth century. Put simply, what are
our efforts to educate (educere) "leading" from and toward? What
image of humanitas, of the human condition and its possibilities, are we
espousing by arranging the relations of adults and children under the
rubric of education? What kind of world do we adults understand
ourselves to inhabit; and what world do we imagine we are fashioning
by introducing its forms and meanings to our children, even as we
introduce new beings into the world as it presently is?
The humanities ought to offer young people in school a means of
fitting various pieces of knowledge into a larger view of things--to
draw upon a Latin phrase: sub specie aeternitatis. The humanities have
to do with perspective—the long haul of time; and they have to do also
with values, with a sense of what ought be as well as what is. The
humanities begin with language—the distinctive attribute of human
beings. We are the ones who become self-conscious, through words;
who begin to ask questions as well as respond to reflexes; who gaze
and wonder, then put into talk what crosses our minds. With language
comes distance, a capacity to draw back and render an account of what
is and has been taking place: history.
In our time and in our nation, public precollegiate education is in
serious disarray. It is now a nationally observed phenomenon that
despite good intentions on the part of teachers and generally intelligent
students, even those students who proceed on to colleges and universities
seem culturally deprived. They exhibit a staggering ignorance of
history and letters, and their symbolic resources for imaginative
reconstruction seem bankrupt. It is as if the soul has disappeared,
leaving only a more or less satisfactory standardized test as the
approach to learning.
My thinking about the role of the humanities in secondary schools
focuses on the teaching of literature, and can be summarized, in credo
form in five main points.
It is the purpose of this volume
to consider literacy issues and the ways by which reading and the
teaching of reading may be reconsidered and reintegrated into the
broad scheme of education.
Our understanding of literacy is distorted by some unsubstantiated
beliefs about the benefits of literacy and by several significant changes
in literacy demands during this century. To comprehend what literacy
means and how literacy operates calls for an expanded context for
viewing literacy. This context must include recognition of the role
language plays in knowing as well as a sense of the changes that have
occurred in literacy demands and the population of literate Americans.
This chapter will essay a unified theory of reading based on theory
and research from the past and present in a wide range of fields. It will
integrate the knowledge that is emerging concerning the reading
process, based on the premise that, regardless of differences in vantage
point and focus, the phenomena of reading are the same for all who
In this chapter, we will posit three basic points regarding different
types of reading: (a) that texts, including expository and literary texts,
differ considerably according to their organizational structure; (b) that
these different structures require different reading strategies; and (c)
that readers' ability to employ these strategies varies with their
cognitive skills and prior knowledge.
Within this metaphorical framework, we will try to persuade those
who read our text of the truth of our perspective. We plan to
accomplish this persuasion in three steps. First, we give our perspective
(theory is too generous a label) on the reading/writing relationship. Second, we offer a composing model of reading, delineating the key
authorial roles every thoughtful reader must play: the planner, the
composer, the editor, and the monitor. Third, we extend our metaphor
of thoughtfulness into the classroom by offering suggestions about
some admittedly conventional and some less conventional strategies
teachers can use to help students learn how to become thoughtful to
themselves, to authors, and to texts.
Expressed throughout this book in a variety of ways is the belief
that the development of proficient readers is a never-ending process,
that a person is never finished learning to read. The definition of
literacy changes as society's expectations for literacy increase. As the
level of literacy rises, as the comprehension of increasingly varied and
sophisticated print materials is required, and as technology extends the
means of communication, society expands its demand for and its
definition of literacy. Thus, a citizen is always becoming a reader in a
This chapter is concerned with resources for instruction in reading:
materials that have been widely used in past years, those found in
classrooms at the present time, and those that current trends suggest
will continue or increase in use during the near future. Included are
various print materials (readers, exercise books, content textbooks,
trade books, magazines, and newspapers) and nonprint media (films,
television, video tapes, and computers).
The evaluation of secondary reading programs is almost always
tantamount to a psychometric assessment of student outcomes. Usually,
an evaluation consists of using one or more of a variety of different
instruments including norm-referenced tests, teacher-made tests, criterion-referenced
tests, or sometimes a combination of these three.
Regardless of the particular tests that are used, they tend to dominate
the evaluation effort.
I begin this chapter by
explaining why a curricular model in language and literature is usually
stated in goals and themes. I shall look at the influences on the
curriculum in English (that is, language and literature), referring to
curricular models that have been recommended over the years, especially
those emanating from the National Council of Teachers of English.
The greatest advantage of teaching English as a humanities subject is in the way it encourages children's natural abilities to express themselves creatively in words and to empathize with others. The history of the creative movement in Great Britain is traced through various literature.
In this chapter, present trends in research on teaching will be
examined for the unique contribution they might make to teacher
education. After describing the two major directions which research
on teaching has recently taken, the potential use and limitations
of both types of research for preservice and in-service
teacher education will be explored.
The language of the central nervous system (the brain) differs from logical structures of language. Sound and movement together make up the total response patterns of the individual. In order to investigate the properties of interaction rhythms, verbal and nonverbal, the expressive and performing arts must be understood.
Silicon-based intelligence (SBI) and carbon-based intelligence (CBI) are now working together in inseparable union, in ways that could not even have been conceived of in earlier periods. Even so, primitive memories in CBI occasionally still tend to stir, but the new quality of undivided intelligence is able to deal with these before they can run away with themselves and once again dominate everything with their irrationalities and absurdities.
The humanities are described as the custodians of the human image. Today's humanities have burdens which are social and conceptual. Higher education training in critical thinking works against the image of man, which keeps civilization vital.
Humanistic studies are defined by several characteristics: the temporal view of values and a refusal to repudiate the past as irrelevant; the importance of human actions and beliefs; and the dual qualities of objectivity and subjectivity.
The terms "cognitive" and "psycholinguistic" may have come
to suffer from the phenomenon known as semantic satiation, that
is, a loss of meaning resulting from constant repetition. It would
be useful, therefore, to consider the range of meanings of these
terms at the outset of our discussion.
The process of language learning and some central strategies
for promoting it in the classroom are the subjects of this chapter.
The chapter will relate the primary process of language learning
and the secondary process of language education in terms of natural
human growth and will discuss that growth in terms of developmental stages. It will explore the organization of language education and set forth some major procedures and sequences for developing linguistic power and expressiveness. Following a consideration of talk and small-group process, two fundamental classroom activities, it will conclude with a discussion of the most significant
language learning modes--drama, reading and responding
to literature, and writing.
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.
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.
A major problem in considering affective roles is that the great
bulk of empirical and theoretical treatment of the roles of teachers
and the training of teachers inevitably has an affective component
somewhere involved, whether it is implicit or covert. So for purposes
of focusing this chapter, we will only deal with programs,
studies, and writing which explicitly mention affective factors as
part of the work.
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.
When the visual logic replaces the aural paralogic--as it has in
our culture--direct perception is hindered by a priori assumptions.
In downgrading perception, we have too often packed students
with knowledge but with too little ability to perceive or to meaningfully
relate their knowledge to the world outside. Concepts are
built upon concepts without either being built upon perception.
This is a dangerous game. Sooner or later the cantilevered extension
will become too long, and they will once more find themselves back
in the game of perception but with inadequate skills to be successful.
In theoretically distinguishing the educator's, the teacher's,
and the learner's special, other than ordinary uses of language from
ordinary use, it is no less necessary to insist that to distinguish is
not to separate. Any user of language—from moment to moment—may find himself in a situation imposing upon him some special use.
The educator's duties constantly require in him a clinical, evaluative
attitude towards meanings and the transactions they mediate. But
we may, most of us, find ourselves at any moment in a situation in
which we have to be educators. So, too, we may, almost all of us,
have to teach. And certainly we do, all of us, have to learn. What
special use is requisite is determined by the character of the situation
governing the communication.
Language is without question the most universal of human
characteristics. It has occurred in a wonderful variety of forms
wherever man has lived in the world, regardless of the level of
sophistication shown by any other human activities or developments.
Nor can any correlation be found in terms of relative complexity
between language and other aspects of human culture. It is
certainly not true that so-called primitive peoples have "primitive"
or underdeveloped languages. On the contrary, the languages of
many aboriginal peoples seem, from the point of view of the speaker
of an Indo-European language, to be enormously complicated systems.
There are many
reasons why people who can understand each other more or less
well speak their language differently. There are such factors as
education, social group, and age, but one of the most striking ones
is difference of location. This does not mean that climate, soil types,
or differences in mineral deposits in the geological substrata—or
even the stars—dictate the way in which we speak. Separation of
two groups which once spoke alike can guarantee that in time they
will develop different ways of speaking their language. These ways
of talking may be further differentiated by association with other
groups of speakers of the same or another language, but separation
alone is enough.