Other Journal Responses

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English Journal Response #1

The September 98 issue of English Journal is very inspiring because it was devoted to articles which describe various collaboration models being used in classrooms. The first article"An Invitation to Success: Co-Teaching and Learning in English 9G" by Nancy McCracken and Natalie Sekicky explains how they collaborated with a high school English class. The English teacher, Natalie, was frustrated with her approach to teaching the English 9 students. She wanted to change the focus of the course, and she wanted to explore different approaches and get feedback about what she was doing. She approached the college professor, Nancy, who was feeling the need to get back into the classroom to try some the techniques and approaches which she was telling her college students to use, but which she had not used in several years. Together they turned the English 9 class into a reading/writing workshop. The English teacher was also the journalism teacher and was equipped with computers. They divided the students into groups and rotated them through various stations: reading, writing journal responses,taking quizzes, holding writing conferences, proofreading copy, and word processing. With two teachers they were able to keep students moving smoothly and get to students who needed help quickly. They noticed a marked improvement in the motivational level of the English 9 students. Both teachers also benefitted from the experience. Natalie was able to make a change which she probably would not have been able to accomplish on her own. Now that the new system is going smoothly , she is the only teacher in the classroom and it is working well. Nancy, the college professor is able to take her new knowledge back to her college students and give them information which she feels is updated and worthy. Both also benefitted from the weekly scheduled collaborative meetings where they were able to share information and determine Why some things worked and why others didn't. It's interesting to note that Nancy McCracken, the college professor says, "I was most surprised about the lack of social and psychological services for the students we worked with." She goes on to explain how difficult it was to work with some of the needier students with no support services from the school and with 29 other students in the classroom. She had always told her college students that they should refer the students that had these needs to the psychologists and counselors. (I just had to chuckle!) Another article titled "Creating Literacy Communities: High School/University Partnerships" discussed a simpler model in which a high school class studying The Great Gatsby, e-mailed their journal entries and essays to college students who responded and critiqued. Both groups were motivated by the experience and learned a great deal. The high school students received individual attention from someone other than the teacher and the education college students could practice how to respond to students' papers. This was a simple way to get a collaborative effort going between students. I was very motivated by this issue of the English Journal . Once I am feeling more secure with what I am doing here, I am sure I will try to get a collaborative effort going.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 1998

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