Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers

Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers

Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers

Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers

Excerpt

The responses to the first edition of Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers (Longman, 1993; Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 1997) have been gratifying. Readers from universities and public schools across the country have either written letters to me, have sent me E-mail notes, or have called me on the telephone, reporting that they have enjoyed the options for language study presented in the text. Students in my classes say that they knew that there must be more to the study of English than traditional grammar exercises, and this text opened many doors for them.

On the other hand, grammar drills, usage worksheets, memorizing 25 spelling words for Friday's final test, and writing "S," "V," "IO," and "DO" above the subject, verb, indirect and direct objects in sentences are what many students remember about the study of English, according to numerous interviews my students have conducted with recent and not-so-recent high school graduates (see the "For Your Inquiry and Practice" activity at the end of chapter 1). Respondents who mention these drills report, almost without exception, "I'm really not sure why we did those [activities]."

Whatever their teachers' intentions might have been, former English language students typically ascribe little meaning to analyses of language that they see as either trivial, as detached from their needs and interests, or as being presented without any context of real or meaningful use.

I wrote the first edition of this textbook with two major goals in mind: First, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for observing language and how people use English for accomplishing authentic, human purposes, not for obeying "other world" textbook prescriptions; second, the first edition was an attempt to broaden teachers' views of the English language arts curriculum, thereby increasing their students' opportunities to examine a broader array of language elements (semantics, regional and social variations, discourse conventions, and the like). Language learning in schools ought . . .

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