[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[xmca] FW: AWADmail Issue 380

More administrative wisdom: The following is from the wordsmith.org "A word
a day" weekly letters-to-the-editor feature. More reason to bang your head
against the wall this week.


From: James Eng (jameseng hotmail.com)
Subject: frustration

Not frustration with you! Rather, frustration with the powers-that-be here
at the middle school where I work. For over a year, I've shared my love for
A.Word.A.Day with my students and I have had much positive feedback
regarding the words, the clever and creative weekly themes, and the
downright interesting, thought-provoking word choices. But a single parent
has complained and now I find myself in a morass of having to justify what I
do in the class, provide documentation that shows there is, indeed, value to
what we do in class, to ultimately prove that our attempts to "control"
language via ANY vocabulary program will always be imperfect because the
evolution of communication is ongoing and, in the end, best experienced
rather than caged. Sigh. It seems that there's no incentive to think outside
boundaries or to innovate. It appears that people want something simple,
quick, and cut and dried. Well, whatever may be, I will continue to
anticipate the words with eagerness. I guess I must accept that at times, my
views are "antipodal" to those of others.

Ironically, the parent's complaint is based on the argument that the words
are not usable for the kids, that they're not grade appropriate, which I
know is something similar that you all at Wordsmith.org have experience
with. Also, that the use of the Wordsmith.org material is from a website
"not approved", by the district, and that it is not entirely in line with
the school curriculum. And the entirely laughable notion that the kids may
be exposed to "inappropriate material"! I thought that the basis of ANY
language arts curriculum is an exploration of language and the interesting
patterns that we notice along the way. Is there anyone in this world who is
100% fluent with any language?

Really, if this is examined closely, this incident is not about vocabulary,
or curriculum or any of the other stated things. Rather, it's about
authority and power. It's about people whose self-esteem and confidence
level are based solely on how high they can make people jump. Sad.

The kids and I discussed "Beau Brummell" the other day and they created
visual representations of the word.


Having had a one and a half hour meeting with our school's language arts
supervisor, a meeting replete with many, many examples of students' work
that clearly demonstrates an active interaction with the vocabulary words
from Wordsmith.org, I was told that administration in the building, "will
not approve your vocabulary program". I am flabbergasted at such a statement
given that administration has no clue as to what my vocabulary program
entails, nor have they shown the least bit of interest in finding out in the
past 1+ years that I've been running my program. So, I am writing to you for
advice. I need to know a really terrific word that is synonymous with,
"manufactured", since it seems that the so-called leaders of the school are
devoted, lock, stock, and barrel to such an approach. I am stunned that such
obtuseness has become so prevalent and in my 17 years as an educator I am
speechless regarding the state of middle school education in my neck of the

xmca mailing list