Welcome to our Summer 2013 edition of English Practice, Teaching for Joy & Justice: Re-imagining English Language Arts. Here you will find articles inspired by BCTELA’s 2012 conference and its theme. Topics range from deepening students’ conversations about books, to the power and possibilities of graphic novels, to the questioning of rubrics as a form of assessment (have you ever wished you had a rubric for your dog? Hmm…). You will also find a book review about digital tools in the English Language Arts classroom, and an article that inquires deeply into the use of technology within learning communities as re-imagined through the Occupy Movement. Then there is the poetry – poetry that draws us joyfully through language into a re-imagining of how we live in the world, how we love the world, and how we hold our deepest beliefs about what society could be.
What Else to Unlearn?
I think a lot about the things in teaching that we take for granted traditions and conventional wisdom that are true because they always have been true. I’ve also been thinking how much some of these “truths” crumble when they are held up to research-based examination. One of the more recent topics that has made me reconsider my beliefs is play, an experience I’d like to share.
Matt Rosati has been teaching English and Social Studies for 14 years and is an English department head in SD42, Maple Ridge.This is his first journal as a new co-editor.
I finally got started. My wife has been asking me to prepare the baby’s room for some time. Pulling down wallpaper, drywall repair, sanding, painting, pulling up carpet, installing a new floor-these are a few of my least favorite things. Last week, it was clear that I had run out of excuses and “important things I had to do” when she looked at me and said, “We have to get this done, he’s coming.” Her stomach attested to her earnest tone. Ready or not, baby number one was on the way. So Saturday I pulled down wallpaper, repaired drywall, sanded, and painted. My mind drifts when I do this type of work and I thought about what in the world I was going to do with a baby boy. Would anything I do be enough? What if I forget something important that I have to teach him? How can I remember not to forget? Then I stared thinking about the missing parts of my own education and lamented that though my new son will begin a season of learning new things daily, my time for learning had passed. I had to pull myself back to the present moment and realize what a silly thing I had just thought. What was I talking about? I can count on two hands all the new things I have learned just since the New Year. Continue reading