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Volume 20  Issue 1  

Fostering Preservice and In-Service ELA Teachers’ Digital Practices for Addressing Climate Change

by Richard Beach, George Boggs, Jill Castek, James Damico, Alexandra Panos, Renee Spellman & Nance Wilson
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This report presents research on preservice (PST) and in-service teachers acquiring digital practices for addressing climate change related to knowing how to employ digital practices for studying visual representations of climate change and engaging students in critiquing online information about climate change. Study 1 examined PSTs understanding of climate change through participation in visiting a laboratory involving scientific study of ecological systems to interact with scientists, collect digital artifacts, and create a virtual field trip using these artifacts for instructional purposes. Study 2 involved PSTs and in-service teachers responding critically to the NASA Climate Change website, identifying digital literacies their sixth-grade students would need to employ in responding to this website and designing activities to foster critical response to the website. Some PSTs focused on issues of bias and ideological assumptions, while other PSTs focused on comprehension strategy instruction. Study 3 examined PSTs critiques of the reliability of two web sources containing conflicting claims and evidence about climate change based on analysis of screenshots of each source, a digital literacy web-based tool for critical analysis of the sources, and whole group class discussion. PSTs assumed the need to consider both perspectives on the validity of climate change claims.

Volume 20  Issue 1  

Preparing English Teachers With Critical Media Literacy for the Digital Age

by Jeff Share & Tatevik Mamikonyan
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This work addresses the potential for English teachers to prepare their students for the literacy requirements of the digital age. The authors reviewed the literature about media education and teacher preparation, focusing on the need for students to think critically about the information, technology, and media they interact with daily. Based on the authors’ experiences teaching a critical media literacy course in a university teacher education program, they designed a survey for former students to comment on their successes and struggles in bringing the ideas from the course to their K-12 students. Through this online survey, secondary English teachers and elementary teachers were questioned about the critical media literacy teaching they had been doing with their students. An exemplar secondary English teacher who regularly incorporates critical media literacy into her instruction was also interviewed. The data from the literature, surveys, and interview provide examples of the potential English teachers have to teach with and about media and to analyze media critically.

Volume 19  Issue 4  

A Long Arc Bending Toward Equity: Tracing Almost 20 Years of ELA Teaching With Technology

by Katie Rybakova, Mary Rice, Clarice Moran, Lauren Zucker, Maureen McDermott , Ewa McGrail, Stephanie Loomis, Amy Piotrowski, Merideth Garcia, Hannah R. Gerber, Rick Marlatt & Thor Gibbons
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Almost 20 years ago, Pope and Golub (2000) published their seminal work on teaching with technology in English language arts (ELA) classrooms in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Journal (CITE Journal). The purpose of this systematic literature review was to learn how subsequent research about ELA teaching with technology has taken up (or not) Pope and Golub’s ideas in CITE Journal since their initial publication. In addition, the authors were concerned with how articles about teaching and technology use have incorporated thinking about issues of access and equity to digital and online literacies in relationship to Pope and Golub’s principles. Findings of the review are presented and implications are offered for supporting teachers and educational researchers as they enact and study ELA teaching with technology to promote socially just classrooms.

Volume 19  Issue 4  

“I Didn’t Want to Make Them Feel Wrong in Any Way”: Preservice Teachers Craft Digital Feedback on Sociopolitical Perspectives in Student Texts

by James S. Chisholm, Andrea R. Olinger & Alison Heron-Hruby
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This qualitative multicase analysis investigated the role of “educational niceness” and “neutrality” (e.g., Baptiste, 2008; Bissonnette, 2016) in preservice English teacher feedback on sociopolitical issues in student writing. As part of the field experiences for several ELA methods courses at two universities, one urban and one rural, the teacher-researchers used Google Docs and other technologies (e.g., screencasts and Google Community) to connect preservice teachers (PSTs) with high school writers at a geographical distance so that urban-situated PSTs could mentor rural-situated writers and vice versa. Five methods courses over two semesters served as cases, and 12 PSTs from those courses participated in focus groups. Data included audio recordings of nine focus groups and PSTs’ digital responses to student writing. Using thematic analysis, the authors explored how PSTs responded to sociopolitical perspectives in students’ writing — both engaging them and staying neutral. Although authentic opportunities for responding to student writers supported PSTs’ critical reflection on teaching writing, analysis of PSTs’ responses indicate that such authentic practice may not be sufficient for preparing PSTs to navigate sociopolitical issues and may, in fact, exacerbate PSTs’ impulse to enact educational niceness.