21st century language arts classroom

[quote from Newkirk and Kent’s “Teaching the Neglected ‘R,'” chapter 22]

Managing a twenty-first century language arts classroom that welcomes diverse writers–as well as a variety of readers, speakers, listeners, artists, musicians, athletes, mathematicians, and scientists–is tricky. There’s no single formula, template, or textbook to guide us in this work. Our students arrive, each one with an assortment of gifts and challenges as writers, learners, and as people, and that’s where we begin (267).

Kent’s quote hits on a very important idea of how/where to start in the diverse classroom. It also made me think about how teachers can use technology to help with these issues…really tying into students’ strengths and improving their weaknesses. For example, if a science/math person doesn’t find writing relevant to their interests, have them work on a project that uses their disciplines’ technical jargon and then transfer that jargon into lay terms for other members of the class to understand. For more visually inclined students, have them work on digital storybook or comic book that incorporates images that show the theme, plot, climax, transitional elements, etc. of a story.

Again, there is not “set” answer to working with diverse classes. But then again, I like to think that’s what makes teaching such a unique profession!

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4 thoughts on “21st century language arts classroom

  1. So tell me how that “plays” in your current field placement. Do you see evidence of this approach to teaching (and, more importantly, learning)?

  2. Honestly speaking, I don’t see it occurring. Though my placement classroom includes differentiated instruction (where both special needs and gifted students are given accommodations based on what they need), I’m not seeing an overall look into the individual, if that makes sense. Unfortunately, I think a lot of it has to do with teaching to the “test.” I have found myself frustrated with this notion but maybe I am completely off on this, I’m not sure…and I do think my teacher does a GREAT job of using the resources she has for her students and trying to meet the needs of all of her students. But I can’t help but feel the disconnect myself wondering what these students are capable of …

  3. I like that you brought up this quote. It is true that we need to keep in mind that our classes will be diverse, but we have to remember that it isn’t always going to be apparent to us. The differences might be as simple as the students’ learning styles and some students might not offer this information. I think one of the hardest thing is being able to differentiating each activity so that every students gets the best experience. I think the best thing to do would be to just make sure that throughout the year there is a good variety in the types of things the students do. I think trying to make every assignment individual would just make the teacher’s head explode…

  4. I agree with you. Many of the differences won’t be apparent to us and variety is the key for the classroom. It keeps both the students and the teachers happy! Also, by including a variety of assignments you may even tie into some of those “hidden” differences your students are bringing to the classroom.

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