Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Reading and Writing Identities in English Language Arts

Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Reading and Writing Identities in English Language Arts

Article excerpt

In this 51st volume year of Research in the Teaching of English, the journal turns toward classroom-based examinations of the English language arts in the twentyfirst century, looking across a range of settings to conceptualize ELA at the present historical moment. In many ways, this volume year could be seen as coming full circle to return to classroom-based studies, especially when read alongside the numerous larger-scale studies featured in Volume 50, which situated languages and literacies far beyond the borders of particular English language arts classrooms. Articles in the present volume year interrogate issues on the ground and in diverse classrooms-diversity being an especially visible issue in the United States just now, given the recent demographic turning point in which underrepresented minorities are now the majority of students in our nation's classrooms (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013).

Historically, the articles in this volume year can find their places within the model of English language arts advanced by Hinsdale (1896) in a book that influentially defined the verbal arts of reading, writing, and speaking as composing the "language arts." This conception of the English language arts curriculum has been remarkably durable for over a century, with listening added in subsequent years, and recently finds itself on full display in the articulation of the Common Core State Standards in the United States. Yet the articles do not necessarily simply accept this "status quo" of what counts as English language arts curriculum. Throughout the volume year, authors energetically engage with and critically examine some of the underlying assumptions of the Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010). For example, in this issue, Zhihui Fang discusses close reading in the CCSS and a linguistically grounded conceptual and pedagogical response to the belief of the CCSS authors that "it is through regular interactions with complex texts that students are able to develop advanced language and literacy skills at the same time they are building rich content knowledge" (p. 114). In another, closely related article to be published in this volume year, Matthew McConn replicates a study of intensive and extensive close reading, which he places into dialogue with the CCSS. Authors in this volume year also address writing and its development and instruction. For example, in an upcoming Forum essay, Charles Bazerman and a team of distinguished scholars present a set of principles about writing development across the life span. Angela Zapata and Selena Van Horn offer an interview study examining high school students' experiences with a unit of poetry writing instruction that aimed to provide a forum for taking action in the world through powerful composing practices. Adam Loretto, Sara Demartino, and Amanda J. Godley take up questions about students' peer reviews of writing in secondary English. Jie Zhang and colleagues explore how teachers can productively organize classroom talk practices among ELL students in English language arts classrooms. And an upcoming Forum tribute remembers and honors the life of former RTE editor Arthur Applebee, who did so much to advance the field's present understanding and conceptualization of the English language arts curriculum.

Issue 51.1 launches the volume-year conversation around the English language arts in the twenty-first century by focusing on identity issues in ELA classrooms. Leah A. Zuidema and James E. Fredricksen lead the issue by taking up questions of writerly identity, and particularly the rhetorical resources that preservice English teachers use in learning to teach and respond to students' writing. Integrating teacher research, qualitative coding, and rhetorical analysis, Zuidema and Fredricksen report on a collaborative exchange-focused on teaching and responding to students' writing-between preservice teachers (PSTs) at Dordt College and Boise State University. …

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