This article contains multiple ideas on best practices in English, as well as other content areas.  It also has things to decrease in the classroom, and it is incredibly useful and easy to navigate, I am definitely glad I found it!

Some of the ideas for best practices in English that I have not discovered yet are:

  • Grouping by interests or book choices
  • Silent reading followed by discussion
  • Encouraging invented spelling in student’s early writings
  • Student ownership and responsibility by: ƒ Helping students choose their own topics and goals for improvement ƒ Using brief teacher-student conferences ƒ Teaching students to review their own progress
  • Writing for real audiences, publishing for the class and for wider communities

I especially love the idea of actually publishing student’s writing.  Many times, students ask “what’s the point of this?”, and by making their  work meaningful, students can ensure that their writing is going to be read, and what they are writing about is is for more than just a grade.

The article also suggests decreasing:

  • Teacher talks about writing but never writes or shares own work
  • Teacher control of decision-making by: ƒ Teacher deciding on all writing topics ƒ Suggestions for improvement dictated by teacher ƒ Learning objectives determined by teacher alone ƒ Instruction given as whole-class activity
  • Devaluation of students’ ideas through: ƒ Students viewed as lacking knowledge and language abilities ƒ Sense of class as competing individuals ƒ Work with fellow students viewed as cheating, disruptive
  • Round-robin oral reading

In all of my education classes, the importance of building a positive relationship with students and developing a sense of trust is always emphasized.  By allowing students to read your own work and giving feedback not only establishes trust and openness, but it demonstrates the principle that we shouldn’t expect our students to do anything that we ourselves wouldn’t do.