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

RE: [xmca] FW: AWADmail Issue 380

Kinda of makes you want to create a sort of "Amnesty International" for
educators denied freedom of professional expression.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2009 5:41 AM
To: 'langandlit'; 'lego'; 'ELAN7408-Fall09'; 'Hillocks'; 'eXtended Mind,
Culture, Activity'
Subject: [xmca] FW: AWADmail Issue 380

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


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

Not frustration with you! Rather, frustration with the powers-that-be
at the middle school where I work. For over a year, I've shared my love
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
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
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
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
the school curriculum. And the entirely laughable notion that the kids
be exposed to "inappropriate material"! I thought that the basis of ANY
language arts curriculum is an exploration of language and the
patterns that we notice along the way. Is there anyone in this world who
100% fluent with any language?

Really, if this is examined closely, this incident is not about
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
from Wordsmith.org, I was told that administration in the building,
not approve your vocabulary program". I am flabbergasted at such a
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
past 1+ years that I've been running my program. So, I am writing to you
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
devoted, lock, stock, and barrel to such an approach. I am stunned that
obtuseness has become so prevalent and in my 17 years as an educator I
speechless regarding the state of middle school education in my neck of

xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list