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Series:

Edited by Michael Macaluso and Kati Macaluso

The canon, as much an ideology as it is a body of texts perceived to be intrinsic to the high school English classroom, has come under scrutiny for maintaining status quo narratives about whiteness, masculinity, heterosexuality, ability, and even those associated with American ideals of self-reliance, the good life, and the self-made man. Teaching practices around these texts may also reinforce harmful practices and ways of thinking, including those connected to notions of culture, literary merit, and methods of reading, teaching, and learning.

Teaching the Canon in 21st Century Classrooms offers innovative, critical ways of reading, thinking about, and teaching canonical texts in 21st century classrooms. Responding to the increasingly pluralized, digitized, global 21st century English classroom, chapter authors make explicit the ideologies of a canonical text of focus, while also elaborating a pedagogical approach that de-centers the canon, bridges past and present, applies critical theory, and celebrates the rich identities of 21st century readers. In using this book, teachers will be especially poised to take on the canon in their classroom and, thus, to open up their curricula to ideas, values, concerns, and narratives beyond those embedded in the canonical texts.

Challenging Genres

Comics and Graphic Novels

Series:

Paul L. Thomas

Comic books achieved almost immediate popularity and profitability when they were first introduced in the U. S. throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s. But comic books soon suffered attacks concerning the quality of this new genre/medium combining text and artwork.
With the rise of graphic novels in the mid-1980s and the adaptation of comics to films in the twenty-first century, comics and graphic novels have gained more respect as craft and text—called "sequential art" by foundational legend Will Eisner—but the genre/medium remains marginalized by educators, parents, and the public.
Challenging Genres: Comic Books and Graphic Novels offers educators, students, parents, and comic book readers and collectors a comprehensive exploration of comics/graphic novels as a challenging genre/medium.
This volume presents a history of comic books/graphic novels, an argument for valuing the genre/medium, and several chapters devoted to examining all subgenres of comics/graphic novels. Readers will discover key comics, graphic novels, and film adaptations suitable for the classroom—and for anyone serious about high quality texts. Further, this volume places comics/graphic novels within our growing understanding of multiliteracies and critical literacy.

Edited by Ference Marton, Shek Kam Tse and Wai Ming Cheung

Although more people speak Chinese than any other language on Earth, proficiency in Chinese is largely confined to the people who live in or adjacent to the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan, and to the ethnic Chinese inhabitants of the various “Chinatowns” in countries around the world. Despite its allure, many people find Chinese a hard language to learn, including a considerable number of children who learn it as mother tongue. The basic units of written Chinese are ideographic symbols called characters; and the meaning and pronunciation of each character is determined by the tone attached to it by the speaker. Facing the very large number of Chinese characters and words, it seems impossible for learners, regardless of their native language, to master the language other than via rote memorization. The attempt to facilitate the route to proficiency in Chinese has understandably attracted the attention of numerous psycholinguistic researchers and educators.
Using the Theory of Variation as the primary learning framework, the authors of this book conducted a number of large-scale and robustly-designed studies to investigate the relationship between the learning and teaching of Chinese, mostly among native speakers However we believe that the results are applicable to the learning of Chinese as a second language. Studies into ways of understanding the phonological and orthographical acquisition of characters are reported; ways of helping learners come to terms with reading Chinese, a textual language that does not always correspond word-for word with the spoken discourse, are explained; and the implications of the evidence for Chinese curriculum and syllabus design are pointedly addressed by the contributors. The authors believe that there are effective ways to become skilled in Chinese and that learning Chinese can be pleasurable and interesting. They provide empirical evidence for educators, parents, policymakers and readers interested in Chinese language education. They also illuminate the path to the mastery of Chinese in schools and how Chinese should be taught in today’s world.

Multiple Literacies Theory

A Deleuzian Perspective

Edited by Diana Masny and David R. Cole

Confronting Intolerance

Critical, Responsive Literacy Instruction with Adult Immigrants

Series:

Stephen G. Mogge

Confronting Intolerance: Critical, Responsive Literacy Instruction with Adult Immigrants captures the experience of adult immigrants who are improving their English literacy while confronting an intolerant political culture. It examines recent immigration policy and the anti-immigrant fervor that has gripped the United States and describes the perseverance and struggles of immigrant students to pursue their goals through literacy education.
The book offers a powerful and vivid example of critical pedagogy blended with sociocultural perspectives of literacy education in an effort to raise student consciousness and alter the political culture. Confronting Intolerances is an ethnographic, teacher research narrative that describes a year in the life of the author’s classroom with adult Latino immigrants, mostly Mexican, in a Chicago, Illinois (USA) settlement house.
Specific focus is given to immigrant students’ response to reading material that was selected to meet individual ambitions but was also selected to meet the concerns and anxieties that surfaced in response to the intolerant climate. The book describes students’ engagement with narrative and informational reading and displays the students’ evolving perspectives on politics, economics, culture, and race as these relate to Latino immigrants in the United States.
Through extensive classroom dialogue and descriptions of students engaged in political activities, the book explores the students’ emerging sense of what it means to become “American” amidst an immigrant backlash. It takes the reader through a year in a settlement house classroom, and reveals the hopes, dreams, and struggles of immigrants who continue to pursue America’s promises—those realized and those broken.

Critical Literacies in Action

Social Perspectives and Teaching Practices

Series:

Edited by Karyn Cooper and Robert E. White

Critical Literacies in Action: Social Perspectives and Teaching Practices asks how educators can become more experienced in order to truly support literacy, particularly for children of poverty or for those who have been labeled “at-risk”. This is especially important in current times, since a literate individual is one who is more successfully able to situate him- or herself within a continuum of lifelong learning in order to fulfill personal goals and to participate fully within the wider societyal context.
Although the word “literacy” has been with us for a very long time, the very meaning of the term itself has become increasingly complex due to a multiplicity of factors. At least in part, this complexity is a function of expanding and interconnecting notions of what it is that constitutes modern literacy as well as the increasingly technological nature of the world within which individuals live and learn. As such, a new horizon in literacy research has appeared, promising to renegotiate traditional definitions of the term “literate” and what it means to be critically literate in this increasingly complex world.
Definitions of literacy have also evolved along with the evolution of the computer. Currently, the term “literacy” describes a commitment to and participation in a multiplicity of meaning making systems, many of which exhibit ever-greater degrees of interdependence with one another. The term “Critical Literacy” has come into use relatively recently and is generally regarded as a sub-category of Critical Pedagogy—“Critical” because it promotes an agenda for positive social change.

Series:

Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.

Reading, Writing, and Thinking

The Postformal Basics

Series:

Paul L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe

In a world gone mad with standardized curricula and the degradation of the profession of teaching, P. L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe attempt to bring sanity back to the discussion of the teaching of some of the basic features of the educational process. In Reading, Writing, and Thinking: The Postformal Basics the authors take on the “rational irrationality” of current imperial pedagogical practices, providing readers with provocative insights into the bizarre assumptions surrounding the contemporary teaching of reading, writing, and thinking. The authors are obsessed with producing an accessible book for multiple audiences—parents, teachers, scholars of education—that moves beyond critique to a new domain of the social and educational imagination. Readers of Thomas’ and Kincheloe’s book embark on a mind trip beginning with “what is” and moving to the realm of “what could be.” In this context they introduce readers to a critical theory of thinking—postformalism—that moves the social and educational conversation to a new terrain of individual and social consciousness.
Tired of the same educational policies and “solutions” in the teaching of reading, writing, and thinking, the authors become socio-psychic explorers who move readers past the boundaries of contemporary pedagogical perception.