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WHY WORKSHOP? / Edition 1

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Why Workshop? offers English and Language Arts teachers in grades 7 through 12 sound advice on using writing and reading workshops as the primary organization of their classrooms. The book's nine essays are written by experienced teachers who are making their teaching work day by day. In the process they give a good mix of testimonials (Here's how I did…), specific methods (Here are the steps…), and real-life results (This worked well; this flopped…). Their stories aren't too seamless, their successes too easy, their students and their work unbelievably good--rather, these teachers, their courses, and their students represent the range of possibilities in middle and high schools from college preparatory to vocational, from the compliant to the difficult.

A real strength of these essays is the contributors' willingness to articulate the development of their methods, to show how adopting a new teaching philosophy and the methods that it implies takes time and a willingness to persevere in the face of results that weren't intended or that weren't as good as they desired. These teachers show that to make change, they couldn't say, "I tried it and it didn't work" and abandon new ways; they learned from their initial attempts and tried again. Good teaching takes time to develop because methods can't be adopted wholesale from a book (even this one!) or a curriculum.

Why Workshop? offers both overviews of workshop teaching and focused essays on specific elements of workshop. In addition to chapters that offer philosophy and methods in the context of teachers and students working through the school year, the appendix provides an outline of a sample classroom structure based on workshop teaching, with specifics on organizing the year, the semester, the quarter, the week, and the period. It includes forms for students, letters for parents, assessment tools, and all the basic information one teacher used in creating a workshop teaching environment.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Lit.
We all know that classrooms can be isolated, isolating places where teachers work on their own among students, seldom having opportunities to visit other classrooms or to talk in collaborative ways with like-minded peers. In Why Workshop? Changing Course in 7-12 English, edited by Richard Bullock, nine experienced teachers tell stories of the school year following their participation in an intensive "Change Course!" at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, USA-a year in which, with the support of university instructors, they moved from traditional, teacher-centered classrooms to more democratic, student-centered language workshops.

Both the telling and the reading of these stories break down the walls that isolate teachers from one another. English language arts teachers will find aspects of their own classrooms in these stories, identify shared questions and concerns, and compare their own classroom efforts to those of the writers. Preservice teachers, who imagine themselves delivering well-conceived lesson plans to eager English students, will find these narratives to be informative, if somewhat (healthily) unsettling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571100849
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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