Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Applebee, A. N. (1991). Environments for language teaching and learning: Contemporary issues and future directions. In J. Flood, J. M. Jensen, D. Lapp, & J. R. Squire (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (pp. 549-556). New York: Macmillan.

Applebee discusses ongoing debates about effective learning environments and the English language arts curriculum. These debates revolve around changing perceptions of three componentsÑteacher, student and curriculumÑand of the metaphors that govern how these components interact in teaching and learning. A new image is emerging of the teacher as a professional educatorÑa teacher researcher, reflective practitioner, and participant in educational dialoguesÑwho bases her decisions on an understanding of who her students are, what they know, and what they need to know. Educators are developing new conceptions of students that result in a renewed commitment toward developing effective programs for at-risk students and providing programs that will help all students develop skills needed for reasoned and disciplined thinking. Curriculum methods such as process-oriented writing instruction and whole-language programs are part of a general shift toward the cognitive and linguistic processes underlying school learning and, while there have been difficulties in implementation, appear promising. Applebee proposes the metaphor of "instructional scaffolding" as one alternative to traditional models of teaching and learning, suggesting five criteria for effective environments based on this metaphor: ownership, appropriateness, support, collaboration, and internalization. Applebee concludes that in classrooms of the future, teachers will make decisions to insure that learning can take place.

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