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Re: [xmca] FW: AWADmail Issue 380

Sympotmatically disgusting.
I now find myself focusing on vocabulary as a regular part of lecture class
discusssions with college students, at present
seniors, many of whom have vocabularies stunted at the USA Today level. And
the way things are going at UC, that may
soon be ruled inappropriate, or restricted by courses taught via drop down

On Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 5:58 AM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

> Kinda of makes you want to create a sort of "Amnesty International" for
> educators denied freedom of professional expression.
> David
> -----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
> 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.
> Update:
> 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
> woods.
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