Front Cover
 Half Title
 Table of Contents
 Making general instructional...
 Getting an overview of the language...
 Making grade plans - seven through...

Group Title: Bulletin - State Department of Education ; 49
Title: A brief guide to teaching English in the secondary schools
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067265/00001
 Material Information
Title: A brief guide to teaching English in the secondary schools
Series Title: Its Bulletin
Physical Description: v, 67 p. : illus. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- State Dept. of Education
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Tallahassee
Publication Date: 1946
Subject: English language -- Study and teaching -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Bulletin (Florida. State Dept. of Education) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067265
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 09320679
lccn - e 47000032

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Making general instructional plans
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Getting an overview of the language arts as an aid to making grade plans
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
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        Page 25
        Page 26
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        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Making grade plans - seven through twelve
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
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Full Text








F 6566

N ao.

BULLETIN No. 49 1946



eaciIN THEC d




Foreword ... ---------.--...... .......--------------------------- iv

Making General Instructional Plans --------------------------------..----------- 1
Trends in Secondary Education .........---................. ---------1-. 1
Using the School to Develop Democratic Living ..--.........--------2 2
Relating the School to Community Resources and Needs .....-- 3
Providing a Wide Range of Opportunities ----------.------------.4. 4
Broadening the Program to Meet Needs of Youth Groups .--.. 6
Focusing Efforts of All Teachers Upon Common Goals ---...... 7
The Place of English in the Secondary School Program --------------
Objectives ...........-- ............-------- --_-..-_------- -------10
Requirements ------------------ -----...-- ---.------------------------..13

Getting an Overview of the Language Arts as an Aid
in Making Grade Plans ------------...............--- -------------15
Written Composition .....----- -------------....................------------------------ 15
Practical Writing -... ........---_--_---.--------.. -------- 17
Creative Writing ............----------.__-------------. ----------.-- 18
Suggestions for Teaching Composition ....--....--------.. ----.. 20
A Plan for a Descriptive Paragraph --__._. ---------..-----. 20
Criteria for Good Writing __- ....... ....---- .--. 21
What is a Good Composition? ---....----......--..--... ---- -----.-- 23
Spelling .......-- .......--------------..... ....------ ----- ---. 24
Spelling Can Be Learned --- ---.. --..............-------- --- ----......25
Aids in Teaching Spelling .---.......--... --- ..--------- ------------- --26
Ways of Helping Pupils ......--------------..................-----------------27
Ways to Arouse Interest in Spelling ...........-- ... ---- 28
Attitudes ...............-------.. .........----..---------- .- ----------- 28
Usage and Grammar ..---- ...........-------------------- .-29
Oral Composition ..... ...----_----- --....................30
Broad Reading .-_____._......_.------------------.....32
Book Reports ...-- ........-------------------............. -------...... ..........- -------34

Reading of the Work or Study Type --- -. 35
Literature --......--------- --- ----- --- -- -----38
Values to be Sought ----------------------..--..---- -------38
The Teacher and the Teaching of Literature --...-. .---- 39
Choice of Material for Study -------- --. -- --- 40
Methods of Teaching Literature --....-- --------41
Youth's Evaluation of Literature -..-- ------ 44:
The School Library ----.. ...------------ --44
Suggestions ..------------------------- --------- --45
Using Textbooks ... ----------------- ....- ------- -- ..--45
Beginning a School Year .- --. ...------ --.-- 45
Making Assignments ----.-....- -- -.- .- -----47
Keeping An Attractive Classroom .- ----.- ----48
English and the Community .....------------------- 50

Making Grade Plans-Seven Through Twelve -. ----- -52
Grade Seven ........-------- ------------ ---52
Grade Eight -----.... ...... ...----- -----------------54
Grade Nine .. ... ----------------- ---- -- 571
Grade Ten ----.... .------ ---- ---------- 59,
Grade Eleven --- --- ..-------- --------------- -.. 62
Grade Twelve --------------- ------ -- 64

At the request of many teachers, principals, supervisors, and
county superintendents, A Guide to Teaching English in Secondary
Schools, Bulletin 49, has been prepared. Companion volumes dealing
with the teaching of social studies and mathematics in the secondary
school are being issued simultaneously. In the near future, a bulletin
on the teaching of science in the secondary school will be prepared.
The four fields of English, mathematics, science, and social studies
represent a large portion of the secondary curriculum, particularly
of that part dealing with general education. The degree to which
these basic fields meet the needs of society and of the individual will
determine, in a large measure, whether or not as a nation we shall
meet our world responsibilities of the future.
No course of study has been prepared for use by teachers of
secondary school English in Florida since 1934. Teachers of English
have not been altogether neglected, however, for "Language Arts"
a thoroughly sound and stimulating article by Margaret White Bou-
telle, was published in Florida School Bulletin, February, 1940, and
Chapter Six of A Guide to a Functional Program in the Secondary
School, Bulletin No. 10, explores the manifold problems involved in
developing a sound English program. Neither of the foregoing at-
tempted to suggest a course of study, however brief. This bulletin
should meet, therefore, a real need and should prove of great benefit
in reorienting instruction in the very important field of the com-
municative arts.
It should be kept in mind that the purpose of this bulletin is to
give specific help to a large number of teachers who have entered
teaching in Florida secondary schools during the wartime emergency.
And it must be remembered that we shall continue to have "emer-
gency" teachers until the shortage of teachers is relieved. Some, no
doubt, will decide to remain permanently with the profession and to
secure any additional training deemed necessary.
There is no attempt to be exhaustive nor to make proposals which
involve very extended types of planning. While the material, as
presented, is consistent with the purposes of education in Florida


and with sound educational principles, it is not necessary for one
to have had extensive courses in the theory of teaching English to
be able to use the suggestions contained herein. In short, this bulletin
should be helpful at all levels of development. Teachers particularly
interested in theory may supplement the statements with readings
from other bulletins of the State Department, particularly Bulletin
No. 2, Ways to Better Instruction in Florida Schools or Bulletin No.
10, A Guide to a Functional Program in the Secondary School, and
to publications of the National Council of Teachers of English.
The current series of secondary bulletins, including this one,
were prepared under the general direction of Dr. W. T. Edwards,
Director of the Division of Instruction, State Department of Edu-
cation. Dr. Clara M. Olson of the P. K. Yonge Laboratory School,
University of Florida, served as general consultant and editor of the
series. Miss Lois Geiger, Supervisor of English in Pinellas County,
prepared the manuscript for publication. Especial appreciation is
accorded these educators as well as the reviewing committee of
English teachers to whom the manuscript was submitted before
publication for suggestions and approval:

Mrs. Beatrice Allgood, Tampa
Gladys Anthony, Tampa
Mrs. Margaret Boutelle
Ruth E. Burr, Cocoa
Hollie Carmine, Tallahassee
Mrs. Margaret Combs, Miami
L. Bernice Dew, Gainesville
Mrs. Leota Dozier, Arcadia
Ava Lee Edwards, Ocala
Mrs. Lillian R. Fatic, Sarasota
Mrs. Sarah Fleming,
Hazel Fuller, Jacksonville

Mrs. Sara Goodman, Orlando
Margaret E. Green, Bartow
Mrs. Lula Belle Hodgman,
Lola Johnson, Pensacola
Mrs. Catherine Michie, Miami
Mrs. Mae Neck, Palatka
Effie Pettit, Waldo
Mrs. L. F. Schroeder, Tampa
Mrs. Georgia Walker,
Ruth White, Gainesville
Maude Woodward,


A seventh grade girl is sharing her book with her classmates in a three-
minute report. On the board you see the name of the book and author.
Book jackets form the bulletin display.


The effectiveness of any one teacher's work in a school depends,
in a large measure, upon the extent to which the program of the
whole school is well planned by the whole faculty. If secondary
teachers are to plan for effective instruction in their subject fields,
they must (1) know something of trends affecting the program of
the secondary school as a whole, (2) understand the desirability
of cooperative planning by the whole faculty, and (3) actually
participate in planning the general program of the whole school.


For the past quarter of a century, the percentage of boys and
girls entering the secondary school and continuing through it to
graduation has increased. Unfortunately, all youth entering the
secondary school have not completed, for one reason or another, the
program offered them. The startling fact is that 75 percent of the
youth who enter the secondary school never complete it. For those1
who have completed it, the educational values derived have not
always been satisfactory. These facts have caused educators, busi-
ness men, and other interested and competent adults to appraise
critically the purposes and the program of the school. Youth, too,
have looked critically at the opportunities and the limitations in
the program of education provided by the secondary school.2 The
net result has been the emergence of certain trends, or emphases,
in secondary education. Experiences during the war years and
plans for post-war education tend to confirm the trends. These
trends, both from the point of view of society and of the individual,
place emphasis on:

'Compare Planning for American Youth, an Educational Program for
Youth of Secondary School Age, National Association of Secondary School
Principals, N.E.A., 1944, p. 3.
'See Bulletin No. 2 Ways to Better Instruction in Florida Schools, pp.
29-32 and p. 35 and Bulletin No. 10 A Guide to a Functional Program in the
Secondary School, pp. 50-51 and all of Chapter Three.



1. Using the school to develop democratic living. Democracy
in the American heritage is both a personal way of life and a
system of social and political values. It includes those values which
sponsors of democracy from antiquity to modern times have deemed
essential to humane living and to effective self-government.3 Its
dynamic nature may be perceived in the evolving concepts of poli-
tical, economic, and social democracy; its force, in the moral or
ethical values which it creates. In its scheme the personal worth
and the dignity of every individual shape the motivating ideal.
Equally significant is the obligation of every individual to further
the general welfare of the group. This two-fold nature of democ-
racy places directly upon the school the responsibility for develop-
ing democratic living; that is, for clarifying and extending for
every boy and girl the meaning and the values of democracy. It
requires that the curriculum of both the elementary and the secon-
dary school shall be directed toward: (1) the development of an
individual who assumes increasing responsibility for self-direction
and for the development of his potentialities in such a way as to
bring about optimum satisfaction both to himself and to society;
and (2) the development of an individual who assumes increasing
responsibility for clarifying the meaning of democracy and for
solving personal-social problems in the light of this ideal.4
To develop democratic living in a school requires thoughtful
planning and careful guidance by individual teachers and by the
faculty as a whole. It requires a total program in which values
consistent with the democratic ideal are consciously sought both in
and out of the classroom. It requires methods, techniques, and con-
tent through which these values may become an integral part of
the behavior of all youth. Procedures, such as delegating respon-
sibility to committees, making decisions in accordance with the
preference of the majority, permitting the minority to be heard,
encouraging youth to decide what they will study, and attempting
to eliminate social cliques, in themselves, will not produce demo-

'Compare Beard The Unique Function of Education in American De-
mocracy as quoted on p. 21 of Bulletin No. 10.
4Compare discussion, especially footnote, Bulletin No. 2, pp. 97-98. For
stimulating analysis of assets of American democracy and implications for
the school, see Bulletin No. 10, p. 39-42 and p. 23 ff.


cratie living. However necessary such procedures are in effecting
democratic living, they may fall short of the mark unless they are
so planned and so used as to develop in all the boys and girls social
sensitivity and an ever-widening understanding of and concern for
humane living and efficient self-government. They are ineffective
also if they do not provide actual experience in intelligent social
action. Chaos in or out of the classroom carried on in the name of
individual "freedom and democracy," is as inimical to the develop-
ment of democratic living as mob rule is to the development of
orderly and effective government. Fascistic control by the teacher
with a sugar coating of democracy is equally inimical.
2. Relating the school to community resources and needs. A
school can, and should, raise the level of living in the community
it serves. To do so, school officials, the faculty as a group, and in-
dividual teachers must:

1. Know what the resources of the community are.
2. Appreciate the limitations (needs) and the potenti-
alities of the community.
3. Cooperate with available agencies in overcoming the
limitations and developing the potentialities of the
4. Project the program of the school into the life of the
community, especially in the areas of health, home
living, applied economics, and recreational oppor-
5. Devise ways of utilizing the resources of the community
realistically in developing the social intelligence and
the technical competence for which the individual
teacher in her own subject field must take responsi-
6. Allocate time for and gear direct and incidental in-
struction to improvement of community living.

The current emphasis on resources in the education of all chil-
dren and youth has set groups of educators and other civic-minded
adults to exploring ways of carrying out the foregoing sugges-


tions." The whole problem of resources-human, natural, and
cultural-is worthy of intensive study by small and large groups
of teachers. It is well for teachers to ponder the fact that the youth
of the local community, the state, the region, and the nation are
our most precious resource.

3. Providing a wide range of opportunities. The school is, and
should be regarded as, a state investment in democratic citizenship,
health, personal living, and vocational competence. Every com-
munity, therefore, should provide a well-balanced educational pro-
gram consisting of a wide range of opportunities based upon the
abilities and interests of all of its youth. A school that provides a
wide range of opportunities does the following things:

1. Safeguards the health of each pupil. In doing this it
provides opportunity for healthful living in the school
each day; provides for adequate health examinations
followed by immunization and correction of discovered
defects; maintains a nutritious lunch program and
makes best educational use of the lunchroom; provides
clinical facilities; bolsters health practices with adequate
health instruction; relates instructional practices to
health; insures mental and emotional, as well as physi-
cal, health of all pupils; initiates drives to rid
community of sources of disease and infection; and
cooperates with community agencies in improving and
maintaining the health of the community.6

'Resources education is receiving considerable attention in Florida as a
result of the impetus coming from the emphasis on resources in the Southern
Region. Compare point of view expressed in Building a Better Southern
Region Through Education, Southern States Work-Conference on Adminis-
trative Problems, Tallahassee, Florida, pp. 1 and 2.
Bibliographies on Florida resources and on how to study resources may
be secured from the Curriculum Laboratories of the University of Florida
and the Florida State College for Women.
Workshops in Florida resources have been held at the Florida State
College for Women. County workshops on local and county resources have
been held. Examples of these are the Madison County Workshop, reported
in the Journal of the Florida Education Association, April, 1945, and the
Pinellas County Workshop, whose published report Pinellas Resources,
1945, may be secured from the Pinellas County Board of Public Instruction,
Clearwater, Florida.
'See also Bulletin No. 4, State Department of Education, Tallahassee,


2. Provides an adequate and appropriate program of
physical fitness and recreational opportunities and ex-
periences. The latter include an appreciation of and
experience in a variety of wholesome leisure activities.
3. Enables youth to progress noticeably in the direction
of becoming self-sustaining. Growth toward this goal
is dependent upon: an understanding of factors affect-
ing economic status; adequate vocational guidance;
acquisition of specific skills and understandings re-
lated to work; assistance to youth in finding employ-
ment after they leave school and in securing retraining
when necessary; and actual work experiences while in
4. Provides instruction in home and family relationships
which will enable youth to make an intelligent choice
of a marriage partner and to understand the basic prin-
ciples for establishing and maintaining a home. This
includes such areas as: the function of marriage and
the mutual obligations of each marriage partner; per-
sonal hygiene; feeding and care of infants; care of
children; budgeting on limited incomes; furnishing
homes on limited income; handling of family finance,
including insurance, savings, and loans; and the prob-
lem of further intellectual and social growth of each
marriage partner.
5. Develops skills, attitudes, and understandings necessary
to democratic citizenship. This includes: understanding
the historical background of our institutions; under-
standing the rights and duties of the citizen of a
democratic society; increasing participation in the life
of the school and the community. Activities which
facilitate growth as an intelligent citizen include:
group discussion; committees; forums; round table dis-
cussion; debates; community surveys; tournaments;
community development programs; student govern-
ent; trips to study government, a region, or the various
phases of community and regional life; and experiences
with varying cultural groups.


6. Develops youth as individuals. This includes develop-
ment of special interests and talents and help for youth
in such understanding of themselves as unique individ-
uals and as cooperating members of society as will lead
to the most satisfying self-integration.
Since youth differ in sex and race, in home background, in emo-
tional and physical health, in intelligence and aptitudes, in hobbies,
and in job interests, the school will have to develop a strong basic
program of general education, a vital and varied program of
specialized interests, and a cooperative program with many in-
dividuals and agencies in the community, county, state, and region,
if it meets the obligations set forth above.7 Ways to achieve these
desirable ends are worthy of the serious study of small and large
Groups, especially in rural areas or in small communities where
opportunities are limited. The foregoing program will, of necessity,
be developed gradually if it is to have deep roots. Faculties should
plan how best to begin and what steps to take progressively in
order to build soundly and wisely. To give up and say "it is beyond
our school" is to become defeatists. If necessary, faculties should
explore the possibilities of cooperating with other administrative
units in order to make the needed opportunities available to all
4. Broadening the program to meet needs of youth groups.
In every school there are groups of youth with varying interests
and abilities. For example, in a large rural consolidated school
there will be those who upon graduation expect to remain in the
local community and find their life work there, to go to the city
mainly to seek employment in commerce or in industry, to go to
college for additional general education, to go to trade school or
business college, or to go to the college or university for professional
education. The same groups will be found in a city school. It is
improbable, however, that any appreciable number will be planning
to go to rural districts immediately upon graduation.

'Compare similar statements in Planning for American Youth, National
Association of Secondary School Principals, N.E.A. and Education for all
American Youth, Educational Policies Commission, N.E.A., 1944. Compare
also the four areas-work, citizenship, personal problems, and leadership-
pp. 53-55 in Bulletin No. 10, State Department of Education, Tallahassee,


From the point of view of society there will be need to see: (1)
that all youth receive sufficient general education to make them
socially competent both as individuals and as citizens of a de-
mocracy; (2) that a sufficient number be educated to perform the
work and the services needed by a complex, industrial, democratic
nation; and (S) that the supply of scientists, frontier thinkers,
mathematicians, statesmen, and creators in the field of the fine and
the applied arts be kept adequate for the maintenance and con-
tinuous growth of a great nation. The school must broaden its pro-
gram to provide the necessary educational opportunities for all of
the foregoing groups of youth. To do so may entail making ad-
ministrative changes in the school units of a local, county, or
regional system. It is a problem for all faculties to study, however.
5. Focusing effort of all teachers upon common goals. In order
to realize the goals set forth or implied in the foregoing discussion,
it is necessary that community of effort be emphasized in the nurs-
ery school, the elementary school, the secondary school, the junior
college, and the trade school. Community of effort is also.neces-
sary among subject-field specialists. No longer can any one division
of the school or any one teacher accept responsibility for unrelated
or isolated areas of the youth's education. The truth of the matter
is that unrelatedness and isolation are a psychological impossibility
in the learning process. If the school or the teacher does not make
the adjustment, the youth will-in some way. The trouble with un-
planned education is that the adjustment may not be desirable.
Among the common responsibilities of all teachers are the de-
velopment of:
1. Skills and abilities in reading.8
2. Skills and abilities in oral and written expression.
3. Skills and abilities in utilizing and interpreting all
types of graphic and other visual aids.
4. Critical thinking.
5. Desirable work habits.

'For a detailed and helpful discussion, see A Guide to Teachinrg f the
Intermediate Grades, Bulletin No. 47, State Department of Edtcatlon. 19~4
pp. 20-36.


6. Democratic living.
7. Intellectual curiosity.
8. Enjoyment of living.
9. Pride in clean and attractive surroundings.
10. Health.
11. Understanding of social relationships.
12. Wise use of all types of resources.
13. School-community relationships.
14. Standards and tastes in recreational activities.
15. Spiritual values.
16. Determination on part of all pupils to make the most
of their lives.

'The quality of living that characterizes the school is the respon-
sibility of all the teachers. If it is conducive to the development of
democratic living, all the teachers are to be praised; if it falls short
of this mark, all the teachers share the blame for the failure. The
same is true of the contribution the school makes to the general
education of all of its pupils and to the quality of living in the


The primary function of English in the secondary school should
be to help young people to engage profitably in those language ex-
periences of reading, speaking, writing, and listening which are ne-
cessary for normal, successful living.9 This function places emphasis
upon communication as the chief concern of English-the point of
view held by many leaders in the English field today. Assisting youth
to acquire practical, acceptable use of language for purposes of com-

Compare point of view expressed in Chapter Six, Bulletin No. 10, A Guide
to a 1',," irl, 1.. Program in the r condary School, State Department of Educa-
tion, Tallahassee, Florida.


munication should be, therefore, the primary aim of all teachers of
English. 10

Proficiencies in reading, writing, listening, and speaking are not,
and necessarily cannot be, the product of the English classrooms
alone. They are the outgrowths of all the situations in which the
pupils read, write, speak, and listen. They are, therefore, the re-
sponsibilities of all teachers. They depend, in part, upon how closely
and effectively the experiences in the secondary school build upon
those developed in the elementary school."

A second function of English in the secondary school is the develop-
ment of ideas and understandings and the furthering of emotional
growth through the vicarious experiencing of great literature. This
function places emphasis upon reading both for meaning and for
enjoyment. It requires that youth become acquainted appreciatively
with many selections from the body of great literature. It means that
the opportunities great literature affords for the development of
moral and ethical values should not be overlooked.

A third function of English in the secondary school is to con-
tribute to the social and personal development of all boys and girls.
By developing taste in good reading and thus raising their standards
of recreation, by stimulating interest in and an understanding of
a wide range of ideas, and by giving them an opportunity to express
themselves creatively, orally and in writing, the English teacher
assists youth to develop as persons. By relating these skills and un-
derstandings to the democratic society in which youth live, she con-
tributes to their social development.

Pamphlets published by the National Council of Teachers of English in
1944 based on this concept are: (1) What Communication Means to Me, Len-
nox, Grey and Associates, (2) Junior High School English, Hanlon, Booth, and
Committee, (3) Skill in Listening, Sterner, Saunders, and Kaplan. These may
be secured from National Council of Teachers of English, Chicago, 21, Illinois.
Compare Language in General Education, a report of the Committee on
the Functions of English in the General Education, D. Appleton-Century,
New York, 1940, p. 32.
"To secure proper development, faculties and even total school systems
need to plan the English program from the elementary school through the
high school. An excellent recent example of such planning is The Hillsborough
County Workshop, Tampa. 1945.


Objectives. Although the foregoing functions of English should
throw light upon the immediate objectives of English experiences,
such as skill in vocabulary, reading, writing, spelling, and under-
standing of ideas, the broader objectives of the total school program
should also be noted. These include the following:
1. To develop boys and girls who strive for increasing
skills necessary for participation in a democracy.
2. To develop boys and girls who are socially sensitive.
3. To develop boys and girls who will strive for increas-
ing control over the process of reflective thinking and
the scientific method.
4. To develop boys and girls who strive for increasing
understanding of and control over self and over the
relations of self to other people.
5. To develop boys and girls who will strive to produce
and to enjoy the processes and the products of creative
6. To develop boys and girls who will strive to perform
some useful work and to see the relationship of their
work to democratic living.
The following excellent discussion of the relation of the language
arts to the objectives of secondary education is reprinted from an
article by Margaret White Boutelle in the February, 1940 issue of
the Florida School Bulletin.
The relation of the language arts to the achievement of these
objectives is so basic, so intricately interwoven with all activities
that a full discussion here is not possible. It is desirable, however,
that we consider briefly the contributions that seem of greatest
1. Through language, participation in the immediate culture and
an understanding of it are made possible. Through it, the individual
makes known his desires and emotions, finds opportunity for
creative expression, influences the activities and feelings of others,
and enters into more intimate social relations with them. Through
the means of language he participates in other cultures of the


present and in those of the past. As he interacts with these cultures,
individual learning takes place and society itself is changed. Be-
cause the cultures of today are dynamic, because the well-being of
the individual and of the group depends upon the ability of the
individual to appraise critically the force of both traditional behav-
ior and modern trends and to develop such emotional attitudes as
will actively promote the democratic way of life, the school should
strive for the effective participation of every pupil in the varied
phases of the language arts as a means of making the pupil socially

2. Participation in the life of a democratic society is made ef-
fective through skill in the use of the language arts. Through cor-
rect and forceful speech, through effective reading habits, through
clear and vivid written expression, and through intelligent listening,
the pupil is better able to become a contributing member to such a

3. As stated elsewhere in this discussion, language, although it
is not thought, is an accompaniment of and a stimulus to thought
and its most common mode of expression. Since a listener or a reader
must exist if spoken or written expression is to be socially purpose-
ful, the attempt to speak or write effectively tends to be coordinat-
ed with the clarification of expression, the seeing of relationships
in the verbalization of these thoughts.

As a teacher directs the pupil in his efforts to assemble data
relating to- a problem, to organize these data, to weigh and consider
the various items, to bring to bear on the question all the pupil has
learned before he arrives at a conclusion, the teacher is aiding the
pupil in reflective thinking. A greater part of these data will be
derived from books, newspapers, radio broadcasts, public opinion,
and the motion picture. As he attempts to evaluate material derived
from these various sources, the pupil becomes more scientific-mind-
ed. Surely the language arts program should contribute effectively
to developing ability in reflective thinking!

4. Through participation in the culture the pupil develops as an
individual. His personality patterns are formed as self and society


become interwoven. Language experiences play an important role in
the development of an integrated personality. Ability to talk well
before a group, to carry on a conversation with a classmate before
school, to make a stranger at a party feel at ease, or to ask intel-
ligent questions of some specialist, gives a satisfaction that puts one
en rapport with the world. The abilities mentioned require many
social understandings. A speech or remark appropriate at one time
might be extremely inappropriate at another time. Statements that
would amuse one person might offend another. One's own opinion
freely expressed might win attention from one hearer and cause
disgust in another. The pupil must become sensitive to the time, the
place, the hearer, and the subject. As he becomes aware of all these
things and as he seeks to harmonize himself with them, he develops
as an individual.
5. Through reading and writing the pupil learns much of the
creative efforts of others. Through reading he may be stimulated to
personal creative effort. As he reads of the experiences of the
scientist, the inventor, the artisan, the writer, the painter, the
designer, the sculptor, and the architect, the processes and the
products of creative effort will assume new values to him. Through
his attempts at creative writing he will gain greater insight into the
art of the poet, the story-teller, and the dramatist.

6. The educated producer understands the requirements and op-
portunities for various jobs, has selected his occupation, succeeds
in his chosen vocation, appreciates the social value of his work, is
economically literate and contributes according to his ability to the
essential welfare of all.

Since the complexities of modern life prevent the pupil from
learning first hand of many occupations, it is through reading,
through interviews, and through listening that he learns of the
requirements and possibilities of many vocations which he can not
study at first hand. Through direct experience, reading, and dis-
cussion he becomes "sensitive to the disparities of human circum-
stance," becomes acquainted with the effect of labor and production
on the welfare of others, and understands more fully the sig-
nificance of national policies regarding economic issues and develop-


ments. The teacher can so direct the language activities of the
pupil that his understandings will be broad, his opinions free from
prejudice, and his conclusions based on reflective thinking.

A language arts program, therefore, as it develops sound demo-
cratic attitudes toward language, as it becomes a more effective
means of socialization, and as it develops abilities in speaking force-
fully, in reading efficiently, in writing effectively, in listening in-
telligently, and in observing accurately, is necessary to the educa-
tion of each individual. Through reading, understandings are broad-
ened, experiences are enlarged, and the great fields of knowledge
revealed. Other people and other times live anew. Nature gives up
her secrets; science discloses its mysteries; men and women lay bare
their souls. Through these indirect experiencing, the pupil may be
led to explorations and direct appreciations which would have other-
wise remained unknown.

Again through the language arts, especially through reading, the
pupil develops intellectual resources for recreation resources
which, continuing through life, enable him to pursue many lines of
interest, to escape for a time from the cares which beset him, to
find emotional outlets and satisfactions, and to travel afar in the
land of fancy or reality.

A consideration of the foregoing statements leads to the con-
clusion that the language arts are of vital importance in a school
program which seeks to develop boys and girls who can give self-
direction to their own lives in a society in which their own welfare
and that of others are inextricably woven.

Requirements. English is required in all grades in the junior
high school. There it should include and take responsibility for
developing skills in: reading; writing; spelling; vocabulary; listen-
ing; functional grammar; and literature. It also includes: conversa-
tion; an awareness and use of the newspaper, radio, and motion
picture; practice in the techniques of democratic discussion and in


approved parliamentary procedures; and other activities of value
to the pupil in expressing or getting feeling and meaning.12
English is required in all schools in the tenth and eleventh grades
and in many schools in the twelfth and is studied by most pupils all
three years. Yet the fact that the eleventh grade course may be
terminal in some cases requires consideration in planning the work
for both eleventh and tenth grades, for high school graduates should
measure up to certain standards of efficiency in the use of language.
In these two grades values pertaining to general rather than to
special education must be emphasized.13 Twelfth grade English
should be planned to serve more particularly the needs of

During these years English should put emphasis on the develop-
ment of skills in reading; writing; oral composition; spelling; vo-
cabulary study; grammar for good usage; and literature. It may
also deal with conversation; an awareness and use of the news-
paper, magazine, radio, and motion picture; practice in the tech-
niques of democratic discussion and in approved parliamentary
procedures; and other activities of value to the pupil in expressing
or getting feeling or meaning.

2 Compare "A Suggested Program of Studies for Junior High School
Grades," pp. 20-32 in Florida School Bulletin, Vol. IV, No. 8, (April 15, 1942).
Programs of Study in Florida Secondary Schools, State Department of Edu-
cation, Tallahassee, Fla.
'"Ibid. pp. 30-35.


In this section various phases of the language arts or English
program are discussed briefly as an overview to specific and de-
tailed planning. Teachers will find it helpful to consider the sig-
nificance of each in order to avoid developing a one-sided program.

By tradition, teaching pupils to write is a main function of the
school. A survey of individual needs today shows that people in con-
temporary society need ability to express themselves clearly and ef-
fectively. Although oral expression is used in normal living to a
greater extent than written, by that very fact everyday routine af-
fords many and varied opportunities for oral practice. While the
language arts program of a school must not neglect oral work, it must
also provide for training pupils in clear and effective written
Every English teacher should hold one aim ever before her: that
each pupil may be able to write a paragraph acceptable at his grade
level, stating his ideas clearly and fairly effectively in reasonably
good form as to general appearance, handwriting (or typing), spell-
ing, punctuation, and sentence construction. To reach this aim, it is
necessary to have composition practice regularly-as often as the
teacher can do justice to the papers and make the work valuable to
the pupils.
Power in writing and power in thinking have a definite relation-
ship, for setting down ideas in writing requires exactness of thought.
As one of the language skills, writing is interrelated with reading,
vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, usage, grammar, and content ma-
terial. Instruction and practice in written composition are often a
natural part of some other language activity and as such do not al-
ways require a separate allotment of time.


Some schools show their belief in the value of competence in writ-
ten expression by arranging teacher schedules to decrease the class
load of the teachers of English in order to provide time for correcting
papers and for holding conferences with pupils. For instance, the
English teacher will have one class less than the number regularly
scheduled and will be freed from certain routine school activities
such as yard duty or lunchroom supervision.

One conference of pupil with teacher to go over a piece of written
work is worth more than many writing experiences without personal
guidance and study. In small classes the teacher is able to plan for
conferences during class periods. With large classes it is difficult
for the teacher to have personal conferences with all pupils during
the class period, and additional opportunities are necessary.

A conscientious teacher will devise ways of studying the writing
of her pupils often. She will have to be ingenious if she has a max-
imum load of 150 pupils. Preferably, a teacher will handle at least
one composition for every child every week; practically, one every
two weeks may tax her time and strength. Yet "short short" com-
positions may be written in class in ten or fifteen minutes and can be
read and marked quickly. With plans differing for various classes,
the papers of one class are not overwhelming and can be returned
the next day. These save time for pupils, too, and facilitate their
efforts, for pupils often waste time in procrastination..

Questions, based on the language of the literature lesson, requiring
a discussion in a few sentences of clear expository writing may be
used for written practice. This practice is especially good if used at
the beginning of the period in the time often wasted while the teacher
is busy in administrative detail. For older pupils the pr6cis is a
valuable aid for improving skill in writing as well as in understanding
of reading matter.

However, compositions should not be used as busy work nor as
.a method of mastering subject matter. If only exercise in handwrit-
ing is wanted, the pupil should be given material to copy and should
understand the purpose of his work. Writing should not be used for


The length of a composition is not necessarily a virtue. A teacher
may use a measure of length to give a general idea of what may be
expected, but, as a rule, she should not set a specific limitation in
number of words or pages. For instance, she may say, "You will want
to write about a page and a half on this topic." The individual's
ability and purpose as well as the material itself will affect the
length, style, and type of composition. Experience and the real in-
terests of the boys and girls furnish the best material and increase
their chances for success.
Practical writing. Business letters, friendly letters, social notes,
reports of various kinds, records, explanations and directions, tele-
grams, and answers to questions on forms are typical examples of
written communication in everyday life. The school should provide
instruction in the accepted types and sufficient experience with
them that the pupils are equipped for the actual situations of their
present lives as well as familiarized with language tools they will
need in later life. They need practice in addressing envelopes. An
economical way is to have the pupil mark off an envelope-shaped
rectangle on the back of each practice letter and address it.

Term papers and research themes are highly developed types
suitable for advanced pupils in the final courses of high school
English and have values of several kinds. They are especially valu-
able when they are done in correlation with another subject such
as science or social studies. For example, the writing process is
meaningful to the boy who has something definite to write in his
science course or in a scholarship contest. Footnotes and bibliog-
raphies should be used with research papers.

Explanation and instruction without illustration and practice
are almost valueless, and practice gains in value as it serves the
immediate needs of the pupils.1 The teacher adds momentum to
learning when she helps an individual write something he has to
write at the particular time, like a letter of thanks for a gift he has
just received, or when she takes advantage of class interests and
situations. Pupils are likely to use clear language and careful style

SSee the Preface to Tressler, English in Action, Course Three and same,
Course Four.



when they are writing a letter to get information needed to solve
a class problem under consideration. Motivation is sometimes a
serious problem for an English teacher, especially in the junior high
school. She often finds eager interest and real desire for improve-
ment when the pupils see practical values in their English assign-
ments and activities.

The adopted language text for each grade from seven to twelve
has excellent instructional material and suggestions for assignments.
For each textbook there is a teacher's manual with additional help.
Creative writing. Creative expression is the translation of ex-
perience into words.2 Much of a pupil's writing may be in the field
of the creative. This does not mean that he must deal with aesthetic,
highly artistic, or poetic material, but that he shall use his own
experiences, actual and imaginative, with emphasis on the inter-
pretation of these experiences.

The teacher has several specific objectives in mind in stimulating
creative expression. Among these are: (1) to help pupils recognize
the value of their own experience, (2) to increase the range of the
pupils' experience, (3) to improve the quality of pupils' experience
by encouraging more discriminating observation, (4) to aid pupils
to fit words to the details, and (5) to help pupils discover suitable
forms for the transfer of experience to others. This type of writing
has value in offering emotional release. As important as any other
reason for giving opportunity for creative writing is the fact that it
gives many children genuine satisfaction and pleasure.

Creative expression is often a natural outgrowth of the study of
literature; again it may result from language study; and it may be
an outgrowth of the pupils' own experience and initiative. It may
take many forms. Both the literature and language texts and the
accompanying manuals have suggestions and guidance for the inex-

'For a discussion of creative writing see Chapter IX in An Experience
Curriculum in English, a monograph of the National Council of Teachers of
English, 1935, Wilbur Hatfield, Chairman. It can be secured from the Na-
tional Council of Teachers of English, Chicago 21, Illinois, or D. Appleton-
Century Company, Incorporated, New York. The National Council makes a
special price to members. Every teacher of English will find value in mem-
bership in the Council.

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perienced teacher. Additional ways of developing creative expression
will occur to the experienced teacher.
Suggestions for teaching composition. Many plans have been
carried out successfully with various groups of children. A teacher
may find suggestions in manuals and textbooks, in The English
Journal, by talking with other teachers, by working out original ideas,
and by cooperative planning with the pupils. These should increase in
difficulty and in standards of effectiveness as the pupils advance
in years and grades.
Here is a suggested plan for helping seventh graders. A new
teacher will do well to analyze it, listing from five to ten of the
elements leading to its success which can be applied to different
assignments and situations. For example, color appeal is used with
excellent effect. Since youngsters of this age cannot be hurried, this
plan will require nearly two weeks. Consequently, only one or two
such composition projects can be undertaken during a semester.
Similar plans can be made for narration and exposition, and the tech-
niques used here for developing basic skills are just as useful for
work without pictures as with them.

A Plan for a Descriptive Paragraph

I. Present several pictures in color of different seasons. Have
each pupil bring one similar picture that he especially likes.
II. Take one picture from your collection and study it with the
A. Suitable title
B. Topic sentence
C. Main objects
D. Color words
E. Sound words
F. Words that appeal to the sense of feeling
G. Ending sentence

III. Have each pupil study his picture in the same way.
IV. Have each pupil write paragraph in pencil.


V. Have, each pupil strike out five or more commonplace or
general words and use dictionary to find more expressive

VI. Have each pupil proofread this first pencil copy watching

A. Arrangement of paragraph
B. Partial statements
C. Run-on sentences
I). Short, choppy sentences
E. End punctuation
F. Capital letters at the beginning of every sentence
G. Use of one interrogative or one exclamatory sentence
II. Use of the inverted order, probably once
I. Misspelled words
VII. Have each pupil put his corrected paragraph in ink.
VIII. Divide class into groups of four or five and let them read
each other's paragraphs.
IX. Have the best paragraph from each group read before the
class. (Teacher may ask such questions as these as each is
read: Did you notice any particularly expressive word or
words in John's paragraph? What words did Mary use that
appealed to our sense of feeling?)
X. Use the final products for a bulletin display. It will furnish
interest and pleasure for some time.
Criteria for good writing. The teacher, of course, has in mind
aims and standards for good writing. Probably the best way to de-
velop these with the pupils is to have the class set up criteria for their
own work. This is well worth the class period or two required. Using
the vocabulary and style of the grade level is important. Items in a
junior high list may be something like:
1. We will write our compositions in good form. That means
that we will copy them in ink, will keep margins and will


indent for paragraphs, will space our words and lines
attractively, and will write legibly and neatly.3

2. We will be careful to spell words correctly and to punc-
tuate as accurately as possible.
3. We will have a variety of sentences and use interesting
words to say exactly what we mean.
4. We will be sincere and mean what we write. We will try
to think of something worth writing.
One senior high school has worked out the following criteria for
written composition. The list is not designed to be dictated to the
pupils but to be used as a guide to teachers as they help their classes
set up their standards. When a class has agreed on its standards,
they are put in suitable form, and then each member makes a copy
for his notebook.
The requirement that papers be handed in unfolded is more im-
portant to the English teacher than she may realize. It is economical
of time and eyesight, as a teacher learns in handling hundreds of
papers year after year.
There should be frank teaching of the relative value of form and
of content.4 The fact should be recognized that form is not the primary
aim. If a pupil has a serious handicap in any of the mechanics, he
may be advised to write rapidly for his first draft, keeping his at-
tention on what he has to say. Then he must learn to be a careful
proofreader and must make a corrected copy to hand in to his teacher.
It is too bad that every pupil has not developed habits of correctness
to aid and speed his work. If some have not, the teacher must plan
especially to help them.

For an excellent example of the technique of putting criteria into chil-
dren's words see pp. 44-46, Bulletin 28, A Teacher's Guide in the Social Studies,
State Department of Education, Tallahassee, Florida. Note the likeness of
idea in the similarly numbered items of the standards for the high school
grades and for the junior high grades.
SSee p. 9, Teaching of English in Wartime, a pamphlet publication of the
National Council of Teachers of English.


What is a Good Composition?
1. A composition should be neat in appearance, written in
ink on one side of regular composition paper, with pu-
pil's name in upper right-hand corner and the title on
the first line with a vacant line below it. The title should
not be underlined nor put in quotation marks unless it is
a direct quotation, and should not have a period after it.
The paper should be handed in unfolded.
2. The title should be short, appropriate, and interest-
arousing. A specific title is better than a general topic.
Ex. Fire on a Circus Train instead of An Early Memory;
or Neighborhood Theater instead of How I Earned My
First Money.
3. A good composition begins immediately without general-
ization or wordy sentences. Ex. "In our attic at home ..."
or "It was my father's turn to have the bridge com-
mittee." (not "Everyone has had an embarrassing mo-
ment.") "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to
Jericho and fell among thieves" is an excellent example
of direct beginning.
4. The ending should be climactic and brief, the high point
reached with increasing suspense and finished with a
carefully planned sentence or paragraph giving a con-
clusive effect. Ex. "In a small city like the one I come
from, people, like elephants, never forget-but oh, how I
wish they would!"
5. The mechanics of writing should be correct or at least
show a sincere attempt at correctness and improvement:
spelling, ordinary punctuation and capitalization, agree-
ment of pronouns and verbs, and sentence structure.
6. There should be some use of figurative language, ex-
pressive words, concrete expressions, and other evidence
of keenness of observation and active thinking.
7. Paragraphing should be handled carefully for unity,
coherence, and proportion, since paragraphing indicates


clearness of thinking and judgment in selecting material.
As a whole, the theme should show effective organization
and some skill in transitions.
8. A good composition is interesting to read. Originality
of idea or expression and various other qualities are
desirable of course; every child should learn at least to
express simple things in a way to cause interest.
One way. English departments in most high schools have worked
out ways to assure regular, cumulative work in composition. One
senior high school in Florida does it by means of a regularly
scheduled department test. It is announced in advance so that pupils
will be sure to have their pens. At the beginning of the period the
teacher lists a variety of topics (not titles) giving opportunity to
different types of pupils, and the pupil selects a topic and writes
on it. Most pupils complete their compositions in the period, but
occasionally one has to come back later to finish. The list used for
one class in October, 1944, was:
Improvements at High School this year
Etiquette for thumbers
Compulsory military training
An exciting football game
A plan to prevent inflation
The postman
An over-seas package
What a surprise!
SThe hurricane

Spelling is a language function of great importance. Writing is
,dependent on it, and it is an element of successful reading. Habits of
correctness in spelling save time for people throughout their lives. It
would be important for the school to give instruction in spelling if
for no other reason than public opinion, for to the public inadequacy
in spelling indicates failure in education.
However, in most junior and senior high schools there is no special


time allowance for spelling, and it must be taught in the English
class. This is probably as it should be. Certainly spelling is an integral
part of all English work. Many teachers attack the teaching of spell-
ing systematically. They use a few minutes every day, or two or three
days a week. New words are introduced one day, probably Monday;
they are taught again another day; and at the end of a week the
pupils are tested.

Spelling can be learned. A spelling weakness is not inherited.
Spelling can be learned. There are various techniques, and the use of
a variety of these will insure reaching every child. Hearing words
(audial), seeing them (visual), and writing them (kinesthetic) are
approaches used by all teachers. Having pupils say the words aloud
is helpful too; they should pronounce a word both as a whole and in
separate syllables. Many high school pupils do not recognize sounds
or else do not know how to represent the sounds in letters. If listened
to attentively, the pronunciation of during should prevent the writ-
ing of during, and tragedy, of tradegy. A short experiment of giving
a list of words-words as simple as open, offer, prefer, begin, inter-
fere, interpret-and asking that the accented syllables be marked
will prove a similar situation in regard to accents. Practice of this
sort has to be given to a senior high school class before it can be
taught the rule for doubling final consonants.

The first step, a part of the introduction of a word, is to make
sure that the meaning is known and is clear. Pupils should explain
or define and should use words in sentences. This part of the lesson
is also good oral practice, for it includes practice in speaking simply
and clearly, in explaining and defining, in group discussion and
sharing, and in listening. It also gives practice in putting ideas into
words quickly; in drawing conclusions by adding to known elements;
in seeing relationships; and in using imagination and creative thought
as the pupils make up sentences to illustrate meanings. Thus practice
of several language arts is economical of time.

In junior high school probably words of the spelling lesson should
first be taught directly, even though many are words the pupils have
been taught before. The diagnostic approach is usually more appeal-
ing to senior high classes. If words are given orally, checked carefully,


and corrected carefully, the pupil knows which words he needs to
study; he should also notice the ones he is not sure of. The able speller
will share the part of the lesson which gives advance instruction, but
he will be freed from the tedium of unnecessary drill. A wise teacher
will plan the spelling lesson with care, to provide the greatest value
to every individual.
Aids in teaching spelling. There is help for the teacher in the
adopted spelling texts, if the pupils are ready for them as a result of
their study in the elementary school. The texts are: Using Words for
the seventh and eighth grades and Spelling in Everyday Life for
the ninth and for older pupils who may need special work. If the
lessons or certain words seem inappropriate or too hard for certain
groups, the teacher may apply to other words chosen for the group
the methods suggested in the text.
In many, perhaps all, schools, grade or class lists should be made
to fit special needs. The list may be made either as a definitely
planned cooperative class project or from errors occurring in written
work of the pupils. The Tressler language texts supply the beginning
of a list, especially Junior English in Action, Book Three.5 In addi-
tion, many teachers recommend a personal list kept by each pupil
in his own notebook. In this section he records the words he has
written incorrectly in any of his work. From year to year some of
the words on the grade list may be duplicated (all right, their, too),
and many other variants (success, successfully, unsuccessfully;
choose, chose, chosen, choosing). From three to four hundred words
a year make a workable list. A semester list of two hundred useful
words, chosen because they present common spelling difficulty, will
include examples of helpful spelling rules and exceptions, of the use
of prefixes and suffixes, and of words often confused because of
meaning or similarity of appearance. The alert teacher will find in
the list possibilities for varying instruction.
Learning such lists should be cumulative. One test should not
complete the study, but words should be reviewed and tested again
and again. If the grade periods are of six weeks, about twenty new

5 See the word list on p. 460 in Tressler, Junior English in Action, Book


words can be presented in each of the first four, and there is time for
review and testing. The year list would have 360 words. In a nine
weeks' period, five weeks can be used for new words, with time left
for review, and 400 words make the list.
Words studied in English classes should be those used generally
in ordinary communication, such as believe, receive, nickel, truly,
writing, doesn't. Teachers of other subjects have opportunities and
the obligation to teach spelling, meaning, and use of words peculiar
to subject matter. For example, perpendicular and equation are
mathematical terms; osmosis, specific gravity, and valence are words
of science. In no other field is absolute accuracy of spelling as vital
*as in dealing with chemicals; the difference between ene and ine or
between dichloride and bichloride may be a matter of life and death.
Ways of helping pupils. Different sorts of exercises should be
used in the study of words. Some are: pronouncing, dividing into
syllables, alphabetizing, defining, using in sentences, breaking into
word parts (prefixes, bases, suffixes), identifying and using as dif-
ferent parts of speech, listing and using derived forms, comparing
with homonyms and antonyms, clearing up confusion with other
words similar in some way, marking with diacritical marks, studying
derivations, and doing other related dictionary work.
New ways should be used in the upper grades to present old
troublemakers. For instance, a teacher may write familiar words on
the board with blanks at the trouble spots: rec-ve, sep-rate, begi-
ing, famil-r. Some memory devices may help. Associating the second
s in dessert with a second helping, thinking of a capitol with a dome
(o), and remembering that one uses a pen to write a letter on sta-
tionery have helped many people. However, the teacher should avoid
any devices that confuse. With younger children and those of limited
ability, she must be as clear and direct as possible.
Individual conferences with poor spellers may be effective.
Thoughtful questions and key words carefully selected to distinguish
specific weaknesses, as of hearing, observation, and pronunciation,
may help teacher and pupil locate causes of difficulty. Poor hand-
writing may contribute considerably to poor spelling. Most important
is a pupil's attitude: does he care whether he spells correctly? The


teacher will almost always find that the pupil's incompetence has
created in him an attitude of defeat that has to be broken down first
of all. Praise for a little success may start him forward. Copying
many times is futile as a corrective measure, for repetition without
attention is useless and wasteful. Copying four or five times is better
if the word is pronounced and observed carefully, checked against a
visual image, and then used in a sentence or two.

Ways to arouse interest in spelling. Oral spelling can still offer
as much excitement and pleasure as it did in the old days when
district spelling matches took the place of athletic meets. It offers
chances for competition between pupils and classes, for a pupil's
competing with himself in his own progress, and for developing group
feeling and pride in the progress of his class. The bulletin board may
be used to display correct papers, papers of the ones making the
most improvement in a specified time, or the best work of each row,
table, or section of a class. Names can be put on the blackboard or
in the school paper of pupils to be commended.

Other ways to interest children are: spelling matches and varia-
tions of the old plan used in the time of James Russell Lowell of
moving up in a line; challenges to spell against other grades or
groups; an assembly spelling program, with representatives from all
homerooms or English classes, given with dramatic flourish; city com-
petitions ending in public programs in auditoriums or on the radio
(even cities as large as Chicago and New York have had these). En-
thusiastic pupils and teachers can devise ways to encourage an in-
terest in spelling. Of course, there are dangers to be avoided: the
clever child should never be exploited nor the poor speller humiliated;
spelling must not become the chief interest of the English classes;
practice in oral spelling must not be over-emphasized; always the use
of correct spelling must be emphasized; and time must not be spent
on spelling to the neglect of other language arts.

Attitudes. Probably the most important factor for success in
spelling is the pupil's attitude. A desire to spell correctly, an ap-
preciation of exactness, a willingness to spend the extra moment
necessary to see that letters are in the right places, and a habit of
carefulness begun with the earliest use of written words and regularly


maintained-these are the teacher's aids for developing good spellers.
Spelling is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It should aid
a person in written expression. If insistence on accuracy in spelling
interferes with creative writing, adjustment should be made in favor
of the creative. Developing habits of careful proofreading and cor-
recting may be the best way of work for a certain type of pupil.
Consistency in standards is essential. Accepting work with incor-
rect spelling in it undermines the pupil's belief that correct spelling
is worth the effort of achievement. To be truly effective, the entire
teacher corps must insist on correct spelling.


One mark of an educated person is the habit of using correct
language with ease. The importance of helping pupils to develop cor-
rect language usage warrants considerable time and effort in school.
The English teacher is responsible for giving instruction and prac-
tice, and every teacher shares the responsibility of insisting on a high
standard in all oral and written usages of language.6
The language texts have instructional material with exercises for
drill. These along with opportunities for practice in the many uses
of language the school day offers should be enough for a child in a
normal situation.
Some teachers wish further drill and use workbooks. There is a
danger that workbooks may become mere "busy work." It is not
enough for pupils to fill in blanks or underline words. These short
answers may have a deteriorating effect on sentence sense. If work-
books are used, exercises should be selected according to the real needs
of the particular pupils and in relation to their language lessons. The
exercises should be used for oral practice, with sentences read in full,
for the easy use of correct language comes from hearing the correct
form until it sounds right.

SAn Experience Curriculum in English (National Council of Teachers of
English) has an excellent discussion of usage dealing with standards, sugges-
tions for classroom procedures, and placements of forms to be mastered and of
errors to be eliminated. There is also a helpful chapter on "Instrumental


It is advisable for every secondary teacher to read the section on
language skills in A Guide to Teaching in the Intermediate Grades.7
She will find some suggestions applicable to work with older pupils,
and she will understand the preparation her pupils have had before
coming to her.

As children grow older, knowledge of why forms are corrected
will help them in their choice of words. Planning definite goals and
minimum requirements for each grade may be necessary because of
teacher turnover, but the soundest plan would be to keep cumulative
records of the errors, expressions, and growth of individual pupils. A
child does not master English grammar in a year; yet repetition year
after year dulls his interest. A gradual increase of facts of grammar
brings increasing understanding of its principles. As adolescents grow
in ability to observe abstract relationship and to generalize, grammar
becomes more and more meaningful.

In studying usage, pupils should be helped to understand the prin-
ciples of grammar and language rather than be allowed to memorize
rules. Only grammar learned in use is practical for use. English
teachers will find it helpful to keep abreast of the times in the field
of English grammar and the teaching of grammar.8


An' increasing recognition of the importance of the right word
spoken with the right accent and tone is leading to increasing em-
phasis on oral English. This emphasis is consistent with the shift
from subject matter to individual needs as a starting point for educa-
tional experience. Since oral expression constitutes a larger part of
most people's language activities than written expression, the acquir-
ing of oral language skills should not be left to chance. The wide-
spread use of the telephone, radio, and the public address system
together with the increasing use of such democratic procedures as
group discussions, conferences, and public forums emphasizes the

'This is Bulletin No. 47 and may be secured from the State Department
of Education, Tallahassee, Florida.
Especially stimulating is Charles C. Fries, American English Grammar.


need for training in voice control, enunciation, pronunciation, speech
patterns, grammatical usage, and vocabulary.

Out-of-school hours provide many opportunities for the practice
of principles presented by direct instruction in the classroom.
Throughout the school program speech is functioning; every class-
room or school activity affords training in good speech habits. Seeing
that pupils use language well is a responsibility of the whole teacher
corps. The recitation may offer excellent training in speaking, but too
often a question-and-answer period in a classroom is a two-party
conversation between a teacher and a pupil, with the rest of the
class at rest. The pupil speaks low, indistinctly, ineffectively, and
to the teacher only. The most commonly used method of teachers to
overcome this bad situation is to repeat the gist of the pupil's re-
marks. This is better than no sharing with the class, but it is far from
the ideal situation in which the class is an interested group, with
each pupil talking to the whole group and speaking to be heard by
every member of the group.-A method that works fairly well is to
have the shy, gentle-voiced child keep in view a pupil in a distant
part of the room. When Emily makes Bill hear in the opposite corner,
the others hear too. Habits of thinking before speaking, of having
definite ideas, and of choosing words to express exact meanings
prevent many speech faults. Mumbling often indicates vague thinking.

The language texts have instruction and assignments in various
oral skills. These should not be used as a continuous unit, though they
appear in one section of the text, and seldom should be chosen as the
first activity of the school year. Experienced teachers prefer to plan
for oral English activities to be carried along throughout the year,
for growth in speaking facility is slow and gradual like writing skill.
Introduced at intervals, oral assignments add variety to the English
activities and gain in cumulative effect.

Memory work affords effective speech practice. In his repetition
and interpretation of words and thoughts of others, a pupil is free to
pay attention to details of utterance, and through this experience
with memorized material he gains ease in handling words and thoughts
beyond his own. Dramatic experience, both reading and acting, has
similar values. Many teachers find choral reading helpful. Verse-


speaking choirs are affording practice and pleasure to many young

Oral reading is a valuable language art. On many occasions pupils
have to read aloud, and too often their reading does not bring credit
to their school. Leaders of clubs like the 4H and Future Farmers
often have need for excellence in oral reading when they present
papers at public programs or over the radio. Practically all radio
programs require the reading of scripts. Church and Sunday school
call for reading of the Bible or selected material. A club secretary
who writes and reads minutes well gives valuable service. Oral read-
ing has real social significance. The schools have no poorer advertise-
ments than poor speech habits and ineffective oral reading.

Many schools have special classes in speech.10 For these there are
two or three main purposes, and in different schools they serve dif-
ferent needs. They may be set up for pupils who like and excel in pub-
lic speaking and dramatics; they may be intended for remedial work
for pupils with definite speech handicaps; and they may be planned
for any pupils who desire to develop ease and facility in ordinary oral
skills. These are usually elective courses and as such usually serve only
a small number of the pupils of the school. Pupils with serious speech
disorders need the help of a speech specialist." Whenever possible,
county school systems should make provision for these children. Most
pupils can be helped to improve oral expression in regular English
classes where attention is called to oral language problems and where
improvement is commended.


High school boys and girls should be encouraged to read widely
on a variety of subjects and in a variety of forms of expression. Some

Teachers need to give attention to the recent emphasis on speech. The
1946 adoptions in English for grades 7 and 8 are especially helpful in this
See section 32 on p. 41 of Florida School Bulletin, Vol IV, No. 8 (April
15, 1942).
"Read Chapter XXI, "Corrective Work in Speech", pp. 272-274 in An
Experience Curriculum in English, National Council of Teachers of English.
This chapter lists speech difficulties which are dangerous for teachers with-
out special training to tamper with and gives help by listing specific dif-
ficulties not requiring specialists.


of this reading should grow out of experiences in the science classes;
some out of experiences in the social studies classes; and some out of
experiences in the English classes. All of it should contribute to the
pupil's deepening insight into some problem, situation, or fact of
life. All of it should enable the pupil to discuss more intelligently, to
observe more accurately, and to enjoy more deeply than he would do
if he were not guided into a wealth of meaningful reading experiences.
For example, if the class has been studying Shakespeare's Julius
Caesar, interest in the basic conflicts of the play may lead the pupils
back to the great biographies of the principal characters, to such con-
temporary interpretations as Masefield's Pompey the Great, to a
study of the modern counterparts of Julius Caesar, to the history of
drama, to Shakespeare himself, or to a host of other topics. The im-
portant thing for the English teacher in this case is not so much to
assign and require any specific reference as to have available, if at
all possible, a variety of pertinent materials within the reading
ability of the pupils and then to give them time to read the materials
and to discuss them. For broad reading is more than assigned parallel
reading, important as that may be. It must include newspapers and
periodicals as well as books.

A teacher must have a clear understanding of the purposes of
broad reading and must use appropriate techniques to accomplish
them. She will understand that she has to begin with the pupil where
he is in his tastes and abilities and try to develop in him an enjoyment
of increasingly mature matter. Study of the reading tastes of junior
high school pupils shows that animal stories and mysteries rank first
in popularity, with interests increasing with the years to include
suitably written scientific material, biographies and books of actual
experiences, historical fiction, and technical books in fields in which
individuals have special interests. At the same time the teacher must
recognize that individual differences in reading interests exist among
boys and girls in every grade.

To insure broad reading the teacher must see that a variety of
interesting books, newspapers, and magazines, are available for read-
ing. Then she must provide time either in the schedule or by shorten-
ing the amount of homework so that pupils will have the time to read.


In the third place she must so direct broad reading that it becomes
meaningful to the pupils and they value it.
Book reports. The technique most commonly used by teachers to
measure broad reading is the book report. This can be a good tech-
nique and has value both to the pupil who reads the book and to the
others who share his report. Often, however, the reports are stereo-
typed and tiresome, and the experience for the majority of the class
is deadly dull. Some junior high teachers have success with reports
by having two or three scheduled for almost every day-one fiction,
one non-fiction. In three minutes the reviewer tries to give to the
class an honest impression of what the book is about and what it is
like. He does not tell the story. Each class member has a notebook
section "Books I Want to Read". From the review each one decides
whether to add this book, with the author's name, to his list.

Reports on books may be written. Set questions and forms should
be" avoided unless the teacher has worked out for herself an unusually
effective outline which strengthens real reading values. Short reviews,
not much more than annotations with an added statement of personal
reaction, signed by the reader and written neatly on small cards, can
be used on a bulletin board in a classroom or in a corridor and be
helpful to other pupils in their choice of books. For seventh and eighth
graders, the comments may be written on small pieces of colored con-
struction paper, folded, and made to simulate little books. These
brief comments have advertising possibilities for teachers and li-
brarians and are open to many variations. The first requirement to be
insisted on in these brief reviews is sincerity.

It is not necessary for the teacher to require a written or oral
report for every book read. In fact, many books should be read with-
out the necessity of making a report. Opportunities to engage in dis-
cussion of topics relating to books will often bring forth a vital spon-
taneous response that is conducive to growth. It does seem necessary
to keep a reading record for every pupil, however. Ideally, a reading
record would be cumulative from the early grades. In most junior or


senior high schools where the cards can be passed from teacher to
teacher easily, the record should cover the span of the pupil's ex-
perience in that school. At least the teacher can keep a card for the
year. This handy record is of great help to the teacher in her attempt
to guide reading. Too little reading, too little variety, and too little
evidence of growth are points to watch. Perhaps most dangerous of
all is too long a list, for excessive reading is often a sign of poor per-
sonal adjustment.

There are many ways to provide for sharing experiences in con-
nection with books. Dramatizations, simulated radio programs, and
sales talks use reading as a basis for practice in oral English. Reviews
and articles are forms of written composition. In posters and display
materials there are opportunities for the artistic. From the reading of
historical books, fiction and non-fiction, can come oral reports and
discussions of the greatest interest on how people of different periods
lived. Whatever activity is used, it should not seem artificial and
should not put emphasis on the reporting rather than the reading.
The amount of broad reading differs with individual pupils, and
so does the number of books required or suggested. The teacher must
keep in mind that reading takes time, and the school must make
provision for it in its total planning.


Teaching reading of the work or study type is a responsibility
English shares with other fields. Whenever the subject matter of a
school course requires reading, the teacher of the course has an ob-
ligation to her pupils to help them master the reading techniques
involved in the particular assignments. Mathematics problems, scien-
tific material, chapters in a social studies text, magazine articles on
scientific or economic questions-all require special techniques. Tech-
nical vocabulary problems belong to the special areas, for words alone
have little meaning and are best learned in connection with facts and


concepts.12 Teachers are beginning to understand that reading skills
cannot be mastered completely in the elementary school but that they
are part of the pupil's developing abilities and require the attention
of all secondary teachers.

Many reading skills are used and should be developed in the work
of the English class. In every day's lesson there is use for one or more
of the general purposes for reading for comprehension: (1) skimming,
(2) general understanding, (3) predicting outcomes, (4) following
directions, (5) noting details, (6) generalizing or forming an opinion,
and (7) organizing for recall. Reading stories, essays, poems, and
plays and studying chapters and explanatory material give training
in these skills. The teacher should be aware of the reading processes
involved and should observe pupils to find any cases needing special
help. The language texts have helpful chapters for teaching pupils to
locate material in books and magazines and in libraries.

The senior high school must take special responsibility for the
more nearly adult abilities of evaluating and organizing. Outlining
and paragraphing become essential in the eleventh and twelfth grades
as the pupils have to handle lengthy and involved material. Outlining
and paragraphing should not be made ends in themselves. They should
be developed in relation with meaningful content and experiences.

A practical way to teach paragraphing is to have pupils find or
make topic sentences or noun topics, or both, for suitable material
they are reading. John Muir's "A Wind-storm in the Forests" and
John Burrough's "Birch Browsings" in Literature and Life, Book
Three, furnish excellent material for practice. The work on the topic or

SA discussion on developing reading skills in content subjects, an analysis
of reading difficulties in these subjects and suggestions for improvement are
given on pp. 29-35 in Bulletin 47, State Department of Education, A Guide to
Teaching in the Intermediate Grades. Every teacher in the secondary schools
should study carefully the article on "Instruction in Reading" (in fact, the
whole language arts section) in Bulletin 47. It is expected that every English
teacher knows this material. She will find it beneficial to review it occasion-
ally. The principles involved in teaching reading in the secondary grades are
the same as those in the intermediate; the work differs in difficulty and
range. The high school teacher continues the work begun in the elementary
school but uses reading more as a means for reaching other aims than as an
aim in itself.
Teachers will find especially helpful Luella B. Cole, The Teacher's Hand-
book of Technical Vocabulary. Public School Publishing Company, 1940.


topic sentences not only serves the purpose of instruction in organiza-
tion but really enhances the reader's enjoyment by making him pay
attention to details and share the experiences more fully. In Literature
and Life, Book Three, there is good material for this practice in the
modern essays. Julian Huxley's "The Physical Environment of Man"
uses topic sentences well, as do one or two others, and William McFee's
"Sailing Day" is excellent for making noun topics. It is also excellent
as an example of organization by the changing physical point of view
as the author moves from place to place. For classes using magazines
like the Reader's Digest and Scholastic the teacher should be always
on the watch for articles suitable for study as examples of excellence
in organization. Many pupils profit from the use of good magazines,
and where the teacher finds their use acceptable, she can achieve many
worthwhile aims through them. Where differentiating material and
assignments are a problem, magazines are particularly useful. They
can supplement or substitute for literary selections which are un-
suitable for some or all of the pupils in the class.

The English teacher is always interested in words and word study.
Vocabulary has become a topic of so much current interest that she
will have no difficulty in finding reference material and study helps
when she wishes them.18 Growth in reading is dependent upon
growth in active and passive vocabulary.

Some boys and girls come to high school without having mastered
work-type reading skills well enough to read the subject content with
understanding.14 Remedial reading classes are formed in some schools,

She will wish to examine the free materials provided by the Merriam-
Webster Company. The approach used by Dr. Stella Center and Miss Gladys
Persons in their reading textbooks and in the Reader's Digest school section
is sound and appeals to both pupil and teacher. It is more satisfying than the
old stock technique when a person did not know the meaning of a word: Look
it up in the dictionary. Instead, the reader tries to understand the word from
the content and uses all the word clues at his command; looking it up is a
last resort and verifying step. In Experiences in Reading and Thinking and
Practices in Reading and Thinking, the vocabulary exercises are often set up
as phrases rather than as separate words. Though these books are not state
adopted, tenth and eleventh grade teachers of English will want a classroom
set if possible, and if not, a personal copy of each at least.
14 See p. 177 in Bulletin No. 10, A Guide to a Functional Program in the
Secondary School. Chapter Six, "Language Arts," includes a discussion of
work-type reading, pp. 171-182.


but in most others these pupils are carried along in regular classes.
Many of these pupils become discouraged and drop out of-school.
How best to serve them while at the same time serving the best in-
terests of the other pupils is one of the schools' greatest problems.
Perhaps in some schools, reading specialists working in adequately
equipped reading clinics will be the answer. In other schools, the
answer must rest almost wholly with the English teacher. Realizing
that the school of today is a "reading" school and that today's world
requires considerable reading, the English teacher must work to im-
prove the reading skills of all of her pupils.


Equal in importance to language as means of communication for
citizens in carrying on their practical activities in a democracy is
literature. For literature, more than any other subject matter of the
schools, holds in store the treasure of the world's best thoughts and
ideals. These ideas, however old in their origins, are always new in
contemporary thinking. They assist the adolescent to develop insight
into the meaning of contemporary thought. Teachers, however, must
-select literature suited to the needs of their pupils. The enduring
heritage-of America and all great countries and ages-has values
too significant to be ignored or cast aside lightly.15 Along with a con-
siderable amount of current literature, the high school English courses
should continue to deal with memorable literature of the past, and
must not sacrifice satisfactory experiences with notable writings for
hastily conceived "practical" substitutions.
Values to be sought in a study of literature. Since literature
deals with human problems and personalities, it has much to offer
the high school pupil in his attempts to understand himself and to
work out harmonious relationships with other people.16 It expresses -
and interprets the principles of democracy, and by this expression

1' At the beginning of Chapter Two of Bulletin No. 10, A Guide to a Func-
tional Program in the Secondary Schools, State Department of Education, is
to be found a quotation from Dr. Charles A. Beard's The Unique Function of
Education in American Democracy. While applying to education as a whole,
the concept has a clear application to literature.
"For a helpful discussion, read pp. 182-195 in Bulletin No. 10, State
Department of Education, Tallahassee, Florida.


it assists him to develoqp.nappreciation.of. dm rati living. It is
filled with the spirit of freedom. It has a contribution to make to a
generation whose lives have been affected by war. Throughout Eng-
lish and American literature runs the theme of the significance of the
individual.17 Literature has a great potentiality for service as a means
for developing understanding of races and cultures. It can both
arouse interest and develop understanding of other nations. It can
develop, also, understanding and appreciation of the many races and
cultures in the United States. For the individual, it can contribute
to the development of perspective and balance and can afford en-
riching vicarious experience. As valid as any other value of lit~ra-
ture is its contribution to wholesome leisure and recreation; if it fos-
ters a true love for reading, it opens to young-penple.a.resource for
t imulati.n, solace, anqd geuine enjpyment-throughaut-4ll of life.
The teacher should work to make the pupils' experiences in litera-
ture develop these values for them.
The teacher and the teaching of literature. To insure that liter-
ature shall develop such values as the foregoing in young people, the
teacher must find genuine enjoyment in it herself; she must under-
stand young people of the ages she is teaching; and she must use
those teaching methods which will lead her pupils to genuine enjoy-
ment of literature. First of all the teacher must realize that pupils
cannot read with satisfaction pieces of literature above their reading
level. In any grade there are some pupils retarded in reading as much
as three grades. In all probability such pupils probably will not enjoy
Treasure Island and can make neither head nor tail of Julius Caesar,
if left to read it alone. What to do with these pupils is a major prob-
lem. The secondary teacher sometimes grows impatient and blames
the elementary school. The teacher who is concerned for the growth
of her pupils will seek constructive ways of meeting their reading
problems. Among other things she will:

Teachers will find helpful Pre-Induction Needs in Language Communica-
tion and Reading. This is a mimeographed manual for teachers of English,
prepared jointly by the National Council of Teachers of English, The United
States Office of Education, and the Civilian Pre-Induction Training Branch,
Industrial Personnel Divsion, Headquarters, Army Service Forces. Copies
were sent in 1944 to high school principals. Though planned for a special
situation, it has sound principles and suggestions which will aid the English
teacher in evaluating her aims and techniques.


1. Find and make available enjoyable reading material hav-
ing literary value that is within the reading ability of
her pupils.
2. Read aloud for sheer enjoyment literary material that
is suitable to their social maturity, regardless of their
reading ability.
3. Encourage dramatization of significant selections of
literary value.
4. Seek every means, including reading clinics, to develop
increasing skills in reading.
5. Provide a range of reading material to meet the varying
tastes and development of the group.

Choice of material for study. The adopted texts have a variety
and sufficiency of material, in most situations, for intensive studyY.
From this material the teacher has the opportunity to choose the
selections that offer greatest value and pleasure to her classes. There
are no certain selections that must be studied; the most suitable and
valuable should be chosen. In a course that must include writing,
spelling, language study, and general or broad reading, all the
material cannot be studied intensively.
Not only wise choice but also helpful organization makes the selec-
tions meaningful to pupils. When a story or poem relates to a general
topic under consideration, it offers, in most cases, greater value to
the pupil than it does if presented alone. A nature unit in American
literature using poetry and prose from all periods may increase the
pupil's pleasure in Freneau's honeysuckle, Thoreau's Walden Pond,
Muir's enjoyment of a storm in the forest, Sandburg's fog, and Mil-
lay's ecstasy in autumn. After such a study, a class thoroughly enjoys
a visit to a place of scenic beauty and shows a most gratifying re-
ceptiveness and appreciation. As pupils in a senior class grapple with
the ideas stirred in them by Tennyson's expressions of doubt in "In

s Scott, Foresman and Company provides a handbook, Teaching Literature,
by Miles and Povley. This one handbook goes with the four books of the
Literature and Life Series; some of the material will be helpful for the
seventh and eighth grade teachers, too. Several chapters deal with general
aspects of teaching literature, such as teaching reading to high school pupils,
adjusting to individual differences, planning reviews, and measuring achieve-


Memoriam," they are eager to read other selections dealing with life,
death, and immortality; and Raleigh's "The Conclusion," Steven-
son's "Requiem," Meredith's "Juggling Jerry," Kipling's "When
Earth's Last Picture is Painted," Henley's "A Late Lark Twitters,"
Browning's "Prospice," and other poems become more than simple
lyrics. The authors of the junior high textbooks have recognized this
advantage by arranging the selections according to unifying ideas.
Often the topical arrangement opens the way for discussion of
certain motion pictures, radio programs, magazine articles, news
items, or cartoons. Funnies often have a way of fitting logically into
class discussions. Since these current forms are part of the great
body of literature and have a tremendous influence, they require the
attention of the English class. The motion picture provides entertain-
ment for more people than the novel or the regular drama. The radio
commentator is taking the place of the newspaper editor in molding
thought. The magazine article has superseded the essay in furnishing
reading enjoyment. Therefore, the English teacher, if she hopes to
have a beneficial influence on the literary taste of her pupils, must
know and deal with the popular contemporary forms literature is

Methods of teaching literature. The old analytical process of
dealing with a masterpiece seems to be gone. A Shakespearean play
or a long narrative poem like "The Idylls of the King" offers more
to a class in two weeks than it does in a prolonged study. What to do
with "The Lady of the, Lake", for example, is often a problem to a
ninth grade teacher. Some classes are not ready to profit from it at
all; in that case, it is best to omit it. Most pupils will enjoy it if the
teacher, a good reader, reads it aloud to them, clearing up the general
meaning as she goes and making plain the main plot movement. It
contains many vocabulary difficulties and many interrupting ideas
because of its nature as poetry, but these must be passed over quickly.
Many classes have relished it, have voluntarily entered into activities
that have made the poem alive to them, have developed respect for
Scotland and Scottish life, and afterwards have recalled with'pleasure
"The Lady of the Lake."

As a rule, As You Like It seems misplaced in the tenth grade. Un-

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A play comes to life in a classroom when pupils read in character. Here
is a favorite scene from MACBETH.


less it has especial value for a class, other material of greater value
should be substituted. Almost without exception twelfth grade pupils
find Macbeth full of meaning. To them it is a perfect representation
of the way of all selfish conquerors; they need no teacher to suggest a
parallel between Macbeth and Hitler or Napoleon. Alert junior high
boys and girls find Julius Caesar equally meaningful. It appeals to
their growing interest in government and at the same time has a little
touch of "cops and robbers". The teacher must keep in mind that
Shakespeare is not sacred as Shakespeare; his value to the youth of
today lies in his wisdom as his ideas bear upon puzzling situations
similar to those of today and clarify those situations.

In the study of great authors, language must be used as a vehicle
for ideas, not as words or constructions to be studied. No longer, if
there ever was such a practice, is poetry parsed or analyzed as gram-
mar. Precis writing is a different process, for writing a precis or
summary is a way to get thought, to see thought relationships, and to
express thoughts with precise meaning. While the precis is an excel-
lent experience for improving skill in composition, it is primarily a
means for improving exactness of thinking and can be used to great
advantage in the study of literature.

Associating life with literature is a vital aspect of teaching liter-
ature. Apparently, Silas Marner has been taught occasionally with-
out a direct application to life. At least, English teachers have been
criticized for continuing the study of such an old piece of writing
dealing with a distant age and locale. Successful English teachers
usually find, however, that Silas Marner deals with so many life prob-
lems that it is difficult to find a piece of contemporary writing suit-
able to substitute for it. Fundamental problems of human relation-
ships are easier for young people to discuss when they are in connec-
tion with Godfrey, Eppie, Silas, and William Dane, rather than
themselves. Pupils enjoy poems dealing with right and wrong, with
life and death, and with the origin and destiny of man because they
open for impersonal discussion questions that have been personally
disturbing. The time element is important. Teachers must not be-
come so engrossed in the teaching of literature that they neglect the
other vital experiences in the language arts.


Youth's evaluation of literature. The scattering of American
young people over the face of the earth in war activities has provided
occasion for them to evaluate their school experiences and has given
opportunity through letters for them to state these evaluations. Re-
ferences to the values of literature have frequently astonished even
English teachers. From England and from Scotland have come post-
cards and picture folders with comments to the effect that the Lake
Country was just as beautiful as Wordsworth thought it was. A boy
wrote from an isolated spot that now he knew why John Kieran read
Shakespeare in the trenches in the First World War. From a Pacific
Island a boy wrote his mother that his English teacher hadn't been
crazy after all when she had talked about Emerson, for the "old
boy really had a lot on the beam." A letter from a private first class
in Africa stated: "I'm soon going to be a corporal; and when I am,
I'm going to remember Chaucer's Parson, that first he wrought and
afterward he taught." By opening up sources for relief from bore-
dom, for various avenues to pleasure, for appreciation of beauty, for
understanding of human problems, for guidance and solace, for
courage and inspiration, the English teacher may serve her pupils
well. The important thing is that she must develop these resources
for all the boys and girls whom she teaches.

More and more the necessity for an adequate school library is being
understood, and the library, no longer just a place to keep books, is
being used as an active instructional resource. Teachers are growing
in ability to use it wisely, and in pupils there is an increase of in-
terest and appreciation.
The State Department of Education is assisting in the develop-
ment of school libraries in Florida. It helps make books available.19
Bulletin 27, State Adopted Library Books for Florida Schools, 1942,
115 p., 35 cents and its subsequent supplementary lists are aids to
schools beginning a library program, as is Florida School Bulletin,
Vol. VI, No. 3, Library Manual for Florida Schools (Dec. 1943).

See the Florida School Bulletin, Vol. IV, No. 9, (May 1, 1942), State
Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in Elementary and Secondary Schools, p. 10,
for the application of textbook funds to library buying.


Plans are under way for a new library bulletin which will offer ad-
ditional service. The Department also provides a library consultant.
She will help with special problems through correspondence, and
arrangements can be made with her for local visits.
In every language test from grade seven through twelve there is
a library unit, with a little additional help for the teacher in the
teacher's manual. To be of most help to her pupils in their broad
reading, the teacher needs to be well acquainted with her school
library and with any local libraries accessible to her pupils.

Experience is a good teacher. Working year after year with young
people, books, and materials of various sorts helps a person know
what not to do as well as good things to do. Here are some suggestions
based on the experience of many successful teachers.
Using textbooks. A good textbook is probably the teacher's
greatest ally and best friend. The books adopted for the state are
good ones, with so much material and such variety that they can be
adapted to all situations if the teacher selects the materials and activ-
ities most useful and suitable for her pupils. No teacher should be
simply a "book teacher," dividing the total number of pages by the
number of months or days and planning to cover the pages. While
the literature texts may lend themselves to a first-to-last order, the
language texts definitely do not. They offer material in many phases
of language work but not in the order the teacher will wish to use it.
Therefore the teacher must be thoroughly familiar with both the books
and the pupils and must make her lesson plans accordingly, keeping
in mind as a guide the major aims of the teaching of English and the
important needs of young people. Many teachers prefer to select the
literature in accordance with the needs of their groups also.
Beginning a school year. It would be most inadvisable for a new
teacher, or a teacher with children new to her, before she can even
call pupils by name, to start the year's work with the oral or social
type activities in Part I of the language texts, unless she is exception-
ally skillful in developing rapport immediately. Pupils come to the
opening of school ready for work-work that seems like work and in


which they can see evidence of results quickly. They want to learn a
good deal the first week. This eagerness for learning, the good teacher
will capitalize on. She will offer something new and definite which
appeals to them as worthwhile. She sets her standards for the year
at this time. Teachers of experience like to start with definite ma-
terial, but not with review. They like vocabulary study, literature
new to the pupils, spelling, and written composition. If oral work is
assigned, it must be definite, every pupil must have a chance to take
part, and the teacher must keep a record. Spelling is especially satis-
factory if a list for the new grade is started, because spelling can be
checked easily and accurately and a child can show definite
A seventh grade teacher offers the following plan for starting the
new year. It is particularly good in a junior high which gets its pupils
from several elementary schools. It is applicable to any grade but is
definitely appropriate for the seventh. Certainly it ought not to be
used in every grade every year.

The Autobiographical Letter
At the first full recitation period I dictate a personal
letter that I have composed. I use my home address, to be
personal. In the salutation after Dear each pupil writes
his own name or nickname. In the letter I am careful to
include an account of my own life when I was the pupils' age
and a picture of my family at present.
This is good to start the term with for a number of
reasons: (1) dictation is valuable and requires careful atten-
tion; (2) it gets down to business at once; (3) it gives the
class a better model for work throughout the year; (4) it
gives the pupils a feeling of being acquainted with me; (5)
it furnishes them help with their assignment, to write an
answer to me. They usually respond willingly and frankly,
and from their answers I gain information about their cir-
cumstances and personalities to help me plan further work.
Short compositions on summer reading or favorite reading, vaca-
tion experiences, oral or written introductions of themselves or of


classmates based on class interviews, along with the definite work
such as spelling, help class and teacher get acquainted with each
other. Dictation is a good activity to use for diagnosing weaknesses
in skills, for setting up standards for writing, for setting a pattern
for classroom behavior, and for training in listening. Superior twelfth
graders may be challenged to feel that there is still much for them
to learn if the teacher has on the board for the first meeting lists of
words commonly used but often mispronounced. They enjoy the
pronunciation drill, and they like what they learn. The list may have
words like almond, salmon, cement, theater, advertisement, why,
white, statistics, chic, envelope, quay, hors d'oeuvre, superfluous, err
and error, window, pretty, drowned, did you?, and many more.
There are so many vital and necessary kinds of experiences to
give pupils in English that it seems almost wicked to waste the first
few days of school and by so doing encourage undesirable attitudes
and careless habits. The first week is just as important as the last.
Making assignments. Even in an extended school day with super-
vised study time, some assigned activity work to do outside of the
classroom is desirable. This time, for all subjects, probably should be
about a half hour for seventh graders and should increase gradually
to about two hours for twelfth graders.
The amount of homework assigned should be determined after
the teacher knows whether the pupils are working after school, what
their physical condition is, and what conditions for study prevail at
home. Homework is a problem of the whole faculty and needs care-
ful, cooperative planning. The outside work should be such that the
pupil can do it successfully and should not be drudgery. Whatever
the assigned work is, the pupil should understand its purpose and its
purposefulness. Repeated drill without attention and purpose is
practically worthless. Reading, radio, motion pictures, and many
other forms of enrichment of English require time outside of class
and yet are part of the English curriculum.

In making assignments the teacher must be clear. Understanding
the task is necessary for the pupils' success. Far too many tears
have been shed by conscientious children as a result of a teacher's
vagueness in explaining what is expected and how the child should


go about it. Often a teacher does not take time in class for clear
explanation and demonstration. She tries to make an assignment as
the bell rings. Unless assiini'mir,:lt are made well, it is unfair to expect
pupils to do the work.
Keeping an attractive classroom. Sometimes a young man comes
back to his high school to visit the teacher, sits down in his old chair,
looks contentedly around, and says, "This room looks just the way I
remembered it; it's just like home." Or a young woman, home on a
vacation from college or a job says, "I just love this room." Then the
teacher is more than repaid for the extra time she spent watering a
few potted plants and arranging flowers, seeing that the bulletin
boards were bright and meaningful, selecting pictures to suit a certain
group of boys and girls, getting a new bright blotter when some one
spilled ink on the old one, and attending to the little over-time details
that give the room an attractive, comfortable atmosphere. No matter
how drab the schoolroom, there are inexpensive ways for a teacher to
make it an inviting place for work. There is probably even greater joy
if the pupils themselves share in keeping the room attractive.

Colorful pictures from magazines of animals, airplanes, or chil-
dren, used as a border at the top of the blackboard, brighten a junior
high classroom. Tinted pictures of famous places, such as a series
of national interest of Washington, have values in addition to bright-
ness. Senior high pupils enjoy appropriate pictures properly hung.
Cheerful colors along with a teacher's pleasant, sympathetic disposi-
tion help pupils in their progress and growth. Plants add a living
touch. Window boxes, if allowed, must be safely installed. Florida
has many plants that enjoy growing in a classroom all winter -
sansevieria, peperomia, philodendron, pothos, and a few ferns and
need about one watering a week. Philodendron and sweet potatoes
grow in water and require even less attention. In attractive contain-
ers two or three of these (but not too many) improve the appearance
of a room. A little furniture polish helps, and so sometimes does a bit
of fresh paint or varnish on shelves or a table. Of course good taste is
necessary and must be insisted on when the arrangement of the room
is an enthusiastic pupil project.

Orderliness is of greatest importance. Furniture should be ar-

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Bulletin boards are functional equipment. Dis plays add interest as well
as color. Here illustrations of lines from the Romantic poets are either
original art work or cuttings from magazines
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ranged in the best way for light, movement, efficiency, and appear-
ance and should be kept in order. On the teacher's desk there should
be less rather than more; the drawers are to hold miscellaneous papers,
books, and things. Shelves and tables should be neat. Magazines can
be kept in piles and books in rows. Unless extra materials are kept
in order, a classroom is better left plain and unadorned. Orderliness
aids efficiency and is a quality to be developed in pupils in every
possible way in both physical and mental processes.
Many teachers in their zeal and enthusiasm for the lesson become
oblivious of physical conditions. Light and air cannot be taken for
granted. Light meters would reveal astonishing facts about school-
rooms. There should be window shades that work, and the shades
should be adjusted throughout the day. Draperies and ruffled cur-
tains are not always suitable for schoolrooms, for they may affect
light and catch dust. People work to advantage in proper conditions
of light, air, and temperature.

In most schools janitorial service is not sufficient to keep the
rooms really clean. Training in housekeeping is good for pupils, and
keeping the room clean, neat, and attractive is a fine undertaking
for homeroom or class groups. Under guidance pupils will do a good
job and will develop pride in their work. Besides dusting, wiping
blackboards (for this a slightly oiled cloth is excellent), straighten-
ing books and chairs, they may arrange bulletin board and poster
displays. Change of committee personnel gives varied experiences and
fosters appreciation of the various activities involved in making the
classroom a pleasant and suitable place to live during the school day.

English and the community. From the beginning of the American
public school, English has offered one of the points of contact between
the school and the community. The Friday afternoon program, made
up mostly of recitation and declamations, and the old time spelling
meet took their places along with the singing school as prime enter-
tainment. Later the school play became a high point in community
interest. Little theater groups show a carry-over of interest begun by
the study of the drama. Parents notice and often read their children's
books, even textbooks, and occasionally a child has to pay a library
fine because his father or mother hasn't finished reading a book


soon enough for him to return it on time. Standards of correctness
of speech at school may have an effect on speech at the family table.
Pupils write school news to be published in local papers or in the
school papers. Lately the radio has opened a new field, and school
groups are being heard on the air. Always the school and the com-
munity have been part and parcel of each other.
Now more than ever an awareness of mutual possibilities is grow-
ing. The public seems to be turning to the school more and more for
services it wants, and teachers are beginning to sense the wonderful
potentialities of their own regions for instructional materials. The
dignity of the neighborhood is making itself felt in study projects,
in creative writing, and in reading. Less and less is education set
apart in isolation, bounded by school walls and bells. Instead, between
the school and the community there is coming to be a relationship
more like a tide flowing in and out from one to the other.
The teacher of English who is aware of this relationship, who is
willing to give of herself for service in the community, and who is
alert to hear the timorous knocking of a new movement will be one to
help open the door. What is it that a particular community needs t
Classes for illiterate adults who need to learn how to read and write T
Motion pictures in a little community which can share the pleasure
of the movie only if it is shown in a school house ? Books for adults or
for summer reading during the months the school doors are locked ?
Lectures to be sponsored that will contribute to understanding of
world affairs and enlargement of interests? Book reviews, radio
guides, movie reviews-oral or printed in a local paper? Some kind
of English instruction the people of a certain community feel a need
There is no chart nor guide at present, but the same principle that
improves education for school children can be of service. What are the
purposes of the language arts and what are the needs of these in-
dividuals ? If the school provides for the people something the people
desire, there will be no need for a campaign to extend the school pro-
gram into the community; then stopping the extended school program
would be a hard task.


As the teacher begins to make plans for her particular grade, she
should study first the objectives to be realized through experiences
in English throughout the high school years. She should understand
the significance of written and oral English, of literature and broad
reading. She should work with other teachers in planning the total
program of the school. When she has done those things, she will be
able better to see her grade and her work in relation to the total field
of English. That is important. In order to assist each teacher at every
grade level, the following information is given. All starred textbooks
will be continued in use but no longer will be subject to purchase by
the state after July 1, 1946.

The work of the seventh grade in English continues and enlarges
upon the experiences the pupils have had in the elementary school.
The teacher needs to know about these experiences and their purposes.
State Adopted Textbooks
Language: Junior Units in English, Paul, Kincheole, Ramsey,
Lyons and Carnahan $ .72
Literature: Setting the Sails, Neville and Payne
Rand McNally and Company $ 1.11
Literature: Excursions in Fact and Fancy, Wellons,
McTurnan, Smith, Abney
Laidlaw Bros.
Remedial Reading: Flying the Printways, Carol Hovious
(Grades 7-9) D. C. Heath and Company $ .99
Character Education: The High Trail, Starbuck
World Book Company $ .72
Handwriting: Progressive Course in Handwriting, Graves
W. S. Benson and Company $.0616


Spelling: Using Words, Billington,
Silver Burdett Company $ .36
*Dictionary: Winston's Simplified Dictionary,
Intermediate Edition
The John C. Winston Company $ 1.00
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictionary,
The American Book Company
Explanations are given in the Florida School Bulletin, Vol. IV,
No. 9 (May 1, 1942), State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in
Elementary and Secondary School, in regard to the number of books
needed and their intended use. Particular attention should be given
to the use of the literature books. Teachers should examine the two
literature books and choose for systematic instruction the text suited
to the majority of the class. Most teachers will want to request, in
addition, a few copies of the other text, about a third of the enroll-
ment, to supplement and give the necessary variety of material for
meeting the needs of the whole class.
Adequate instructional material is provided in these texts for
training pupils in the basic language skills. Supplementary material
is desirable and much may be secured with textbook funds if books
are requisitioned judiciously and if children are encouraged to take
care of and prolong the life of the state books. Communities are
usually glad to cooperate in building up and maintaining good school
libraries and in furnishing other supplementary materials.
The important responsibility of the English teacher is to select
wisely the textbook lessons to use. Not all the textbook material can
be used. She must base her selection on the aims of English instruc-
tion and the specific needs of her pupils.
Relative mastery can be expected of only a few things in the
seventh grade. In grammar, while more difficult constructions may
be introduced and used, mastery should be insisted on for a few basic
ones. Every child at the end of the seventh grade should be expected
to know the simple sentence. He should be able to recognize it; he
should use beginning capitals and correct end punctuation; and he
should always write it correctly.
* Not continued in adoption.


The following is a suggested plan of organization for teaching
grammar in the seventh grade. It builds on what the child learned in
the elementary school, limits the work by emphasizing a little at a
time, and handles no topic exhaustively. The grammar work of the
first six weeks includes the simple sentence and the kinds of simple
sentences as to use. In the next six weeks the pupil should learn sub-
jects and predicates, both simple and compound. Next he begins learn-
ing to recognize parts of speech, learning in the third six weeks com-
mon and proper nouns and personal pronouns used as subjects and
objects. He will probably have to continue work on pronouns during
the fourth six weeks, have adjectives as direct modifiers, and learn
the main uses of verbs as action words or helpers. In the fifth six
weeks he meets adverbs and prepositions, and in the last six weeks
conjunctions and interjections. The teacher also introduces posses-
sion and number in this last period.
Along with this work in grammar in each six weeks' term he has
some experience with literature, reads at least a book or two for broad
reading, has spelling regularly, and has some practice in composition
both written and oral. General discussions of these fields have been
given in section two of this bulletin.

The work of the eighth grade builds upon the experiences of
previous grades and extends and broadens them.' Since the teacher
needs to know what these experiences have been, she will want to
study the suggestions for the seventh grade in this bulletin and
"Instruction in Language Arts" in Bulletin 47, A Guide to Teaching
in the Intermediate Grades. If possible, she will secure each pupil's
reading record for the seventh grade and his score on whatever tests
he has taken, especially those on reading skills and comprehension.
State Adopted Textbooks
Language: Junior Units in English, Paul, Kincheole, Ramsey,
Lyons and Carnahan $ .75

SSee the discussion of English at the junior high level on pp. 22 and 23
of Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 8 (April 15, 1942), Programs of Study
in Florida Secondary Schools.


Literature: Exploring New Fields, Neville and Payne
Rand McNally and Company $ 1.14
Literature: Your World in Prose and Verse, Wellons,
McTurnan, Smith, Abney
Laidlaw Bros.
Remedial Reading: Flying the Printways, Hovious
D. C. Heath Company (Grades 7-9) $ .99
Character Education: Actions Speak, Starbuck
World Book Company $ .72
Handwriting: Progressive Course in Handwriting, Graves
W. S. Benson and Company $.0616
Spelling: Using Words, Billington
Silver Burdett Company $ .36
*Dictionary: Winston's Simplified Dictionary,
Intermediate Edition
The John Winston Company $ 1.00
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictionary,
The American Book Company
Explanations are given in Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 9
(May 1, 1942) State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in Elementary
Schools in regard to the number of books needed and their in-
tended use. Particular attention should be given to the use of the
two literature books. Teachers should examine the books and choose for
systematic instruction the text suited to the majority of the class.
Most teachers will want to request, in addition, a few copies of the
other text, about a third of the enrollment, to supplement and give
the 'necessary variety of material for meeting the needs of the whole
class. Adequate instructional material is provided in these texts for
training in the basic language skills. Supplementary material is de-
sirable, and much may be secured with textbook funds if books are
requisitioned judiciously and if children are trained to take care of
and prolong the life of state books. There are worthwhile values in
having pupils cover their books.
To select and use material wisely is an important responsibility
of the English teacher. Not all of the textbook material can be used
* Not continued in adoption.


by every pupil or class. The teacher must base her selection on (1)
the aims of instruction in English and (2) the specific needs of her

Additional language skills to be developed in the eighth grade
should build upon those taught in the seventh grade. In order to
insure continuity and cumulative development, the eighth grade
teacher should understand what the seventh grade teacher has tried
to accomplish and what the pupils have actually learned. Wherever
gaps occur, she should strengthen the work of the seventh grade. She
should provide adequate experiences also for learning a few additional
skills appropriate to the maturity of eighth grade children. Con-
structions of greater difficulty may be introduced and used, of course,
but relative mastery of certain basic ones should be insisted on.
Every eighth grade pupil should know the simple and the compound
sentence. He should recognize, should capitalize and punctuate cor-
rectly, and should always write these two kinds of sentences correctly.

If the plan suggested for the seventh grade for relative mastery
of grammar has been used, the following plan will be good in the
eighth grade. The first six weeks will include a review of the parts
of speech and sentence sense, with a study of sentences as to use and
form. An enterprising teacher will find ways to avoid dull repetition.
In the eighth grade interest can be stimulated in the study of the
sentence by having pupils cut groups of words from magazines,
especially from colored ads. Some of these will be sentences and some
will not. Among the sentences there will be examples of various kinds.
The pupils mount these on stiff paper, and on the back classify them.
These can be used over and over in a variety of ways, including a
grab box, and finally as bulletin displays continue to stimulate in-
terest in sentences. Part of the second six weeks may be needed for
the study of punctuation and capitalization arising from the sentence
study, and there will be time for case and number of nouns. The
study of nouns will continue into the third six weeks and lead into
the study of pronouns their kinds, person, number, case, and ante-
cedents. In nouns students should try to master the possessive case,
especially its form.

Verbs come in the fourth six weeks, with explanation of the kinds,


transitive and intransitive, and emphasis on conjugation. The fifth
six weeks period introduces adjectives and adverbs-in the form of
words, phrases, and clauses-and paves the way for the relative
mastery ot the complex sentence in the ninth grade. Many teachers
find that a little more work in diagraming is advantageous at this
point. Diagraming seems to have a masculine appeal and often clari-
fies grammatical difficulties, especially for boys. It adds variety in
the spring term. The teacher must keep in mind the fact that dia-
graming is a means, not an end in itself. The time allotment for gram-
mar in the last six weeks will be needed for continuation of work not
completed and for review, and for a study of words homonyms,
synonyms, and antonyms if there is time for new work.
Along with this study of grammar in each six weeks term there
must be some experience with literature, at least a book or two of
broad reading, spelling, and written and oral composition. General
discussions of these fields are given in the first part of this section.


English in the ninth grade continues to build upon the founda-
tions laid in previous years. The teacher of ninth graders, in planning
her work, must understand the pupils' previous experiences. She will
want to study the suggestions for the seventh and eighth grades in
this bulletin and "Instruction in the Language Arts" in Bulletin 47;
she will try to secure her pupils' previous reading records and test
scores. She will also wish to be acquainted with the senior high school
courses, for her pupils are looking toward them.

State Adopted Textbooks
Language: Junior English in Action, Book III, Tressler
D. C. Heath and Company $ .87
Literature: Literature and Life, Book I,
Scott, Foresman and Company $ 1.23
Literature: Broadening Horizons, Neville Payne
Rand, McNally and Company
Remedial Reading: Flying the Printways, Hovious
(Grades 7-9) D. C. Heath and Company $ .99


Character Education: Real Persons, Starbuck
World Book Company $ .72
Spelling: Spelling in Everyday Life, Steadman and Bixler
(Grades 9-12) Turner E. Smith and Co. $ .33
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictonary,
American Book Company
Explanations are given in Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 9
(May 1, 1942), State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in.Elementary
and Secondary Schools, in regard to the number of books needed
and their intended use. There are teacher's manuals for most texts.
Particular attention should be given to the use of the two literature
books. Teachers should examine the books and choose for systematic
instruction the text suited to the majority of the class. Most teachers
will want to request, in addition, a few copies of the other text, about
a third of the enrollment, to supplement and give the necessary
variety of material for meeting the needs of the whole class. By
judicious requisitioning and insistence on careful handling of books
by pupils, text book funds can be saved to use for buying supple-
mentary books for school libraries or classrooms. There are worthwhile
values in having pupils cover their books.
In the texts there is more material than can be used. An important
responsibility of the teacher is to select wisely, basing her selections
on the aims of instruction in English and the specific needs of her
pupils. If in the seventh and eighth grades pupils have attained to
relative mastery a few of basic understandings, the ninth grade
teacher can add a few more, and the pupil will be adequately prepared
for work in the senior high school.
How much and what grammar to teach is a problem. If the simple
and compound sentences have been learned with a relative degree of
mastery pupils are ready to learn the complex sentence. After a re-
view of parts of speech for recognition (Tressler pp. 280-295), the
class is ready for sentence elements (the first part of section two),
to be followed by sentences according to use and according to form.
This material may form the basis of the work in grammar for a se-
mester. If this study of grammar is done along with paragraphing
and letter-writing, it will be more meaningful.


In the second semester the material in sections four, five, six, and
seven on nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and preposi-
tions should be taught with the emphasis on good usage. This study
of usage should carry over into both written and oral expression.
Tressler offers other practical material to be used as writing and
speaking show the need for it.

In each six weeks the pupil should have experience with literature,
broad reading, spelling, grammar and usage, and oral and written
composition. General discussions of these fields are given in the first
part of this section.

Ninth graders may be interested in projects requiring a little more
time and prolonged effort than they were capable of profiting from
previously. Composition projects over fairly extended periods cul-
minating in oral reports and written displays may stimulate them.
Biographical writing is not usually desirable at this age. Instead,
objective interests are better and the varied interests found in an
average class tend to enlarge the outlook and experience of all class
members. The variety of subject matter adds interest, and other values
result from sharing of information and enthusiasm. Such a project
growing out of individual interests or hobbies may be a high point
in a pupil's educational experience.


In most schools the tenth grade work begins with diagnosis, es-
pecially when the senior high school operates separately or takes in
pupils from outlying districts. Diagnostic tests, rightly handled, can
be a strong motivating force for good work. From a study of records
and test scores from junior high and from diagnostic exercises given
early in the term, the teacher plans the language program for the
year. While she is learning about her pupils, she need not waste time,
for there are certain basic skills that she knows she will have to work
on. If the pupils are in a new situation and no provision is made
through homeroom or other classes, an orientation unit may be a
real contribution to the pupils.


State Adopted Textbooks
Language: English in Action, Course II, Tressler
D. C. Heath and Company $ .87
Literature: Literature and Life, Book II
Scott, Foresman and Company $ 1.35
Literature: Heritage of the World's Literature, Cross and
Cross, The MacMillan Company
Remedial Reading: Flying the Printways, Hovious
D. C. Heath and Co. (Grades 10-12) $ .99
Spelling: Spelling in Everyday Life, Steadmen and Bixler
Turner E. Smith and Co. (Grades 9-12) $ .33
Speech: The Speech Arts, Craig
The MacMillan Co. (Grades 10-12) $ 1.29
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictionary,
The American Book Company
Explanations are given in Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 9
(May 1, 1942), State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in Elementary
and Secondary Schools in regard to the number of books needed and
their intended use. The world literature book can be used in a twelfth
grade elective course in world literature; or an agreement can be
made among tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade teachers for sharing
the book as a supplementary text with each class using appropriate
sections. There are teacher's manuals for most texts. By judicious
requisitioning and insistence upon careful handling of books by
pupils, textbook funds can be saved to use for school libraries or
class-rooms. Having pupils cover their books may serve several
valuable purposes.
In using textbooks the teacher has the responsibility of selecting,
in view of the basic aims of instruction in English, from the more
than sufficient material that material which will best serve the pupils.
Making good selections and plans calls for serious consideration. Since
it is easy to get lost in the mazes of grammar, literature, oral composi-
tion, reading, or any other phase of language study, the teacher must
keep in mind proper balance and proportion. She will gain in the
study of grammar if she makes it functional for usage. Usage tests


at regular intervals should aid in limiting the study of grammar to
functional uses. There should be provision for regular instruction in
spelling at the end of the school year, tenth graders should be able
to express their ideas clearly and fairly in a written paragraph or
two, reaching a reasonable standard of correctness as to appearance,
handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and sentence construction. They
should be able to read printed matter of average difficulty to get
thought accurately and should be able to read aloud well enough to
hold the attention of their fellow students.
The more proficient the pupil is in the fundamental language
uses, the more time he will have for advanced work in literature,
composition, and reading. The range of differences within a class
makes the teacher's work difficult.
In literature the short stories make a good starting point, with
only those used from which the class can profit. Sometimes others
may be substituted or added. Silas Marner is usually a pleasure, and
some pupils enjoy selections from Travels with a Donkey. This work
in prose is often as much literature as there is time for in the first
semester. In the second semester the teacher again selects to suit the
class from the stories in verse, The Idylls of the King, She Stoops to
Conquer, and the short plays. She may substitute for or omit As
You Like It, and she may add appropriate selections at any point. If
very little of this material is suitable to the maturity, reading ex-
periences, and interests of the class, other reading should be made
available. Perhaps Following Printed Trails may be used as a class
or group text. A magazine like Scholastic or the Reader's Digest may
serve the purpose of reading instruction. If so, the teacher should in-
troduce poems through class programs, memory work, or even dicta-
tion, and should bring in stories and literary selections occasionally.
Every pupil should have a chance to share in the literary heritage
as far as he is able. The outside reading requirements should be
flexible, adjusted to reading ability, with the aim for pupils to
find pleasure in reading.


The importance of the eleventh grade course in English cannot
be over estimated. Since it may be a terminal course for some pupils,
it is the time for complete mastery of the fundamental language skills
which have been discussed for grade ten, and for developing these
skills further to suit the needs of developing personalities. It is also
the year when the literary heritage is presented in a way organized
to make clear the distinctive American ideas and ideals and to give
perspective to the development of American concepts.
State Adopted Textbooks
Language: English in Action, Course III, Tressler
D. C. Heath and Company $ .81
Literature: Literature and Life, Book III
Scott, Foresman and Company $ 1.41
Literature: Heritage of World's Literature, Cross and Cross
The MacMillan Company
Remedial Reading: Following Printed Trails, Hovious
(Grades 10-12) C. D. Heath and Co. $ .99
Spelling: Spelling in Everyday Life, Steadman and Bixler
Turner E. Smith and Company $ .33
Speech: The Speech Arts, Craig
The MacMillan Company $ 1.29
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictionary,
The American Book Company
Explanations as to number of books needed and their intended
use are given in Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 9 (May 1, 1942),
State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in Elementary and Secondary
Schools. The world literature book can be used in a twelfth grade
elective course in world literature; or an agreement can be made
among tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade teachers for sharing the
book as a supplementary text with each class using appropriate
sections. There are teachers' manuals for most texts. By judicious
requisitioning and by insistence upon careful handling of books by
pupils, textbook funds can be saved to use for school or classroom
libraries. Having pupils cover their books may serve several valuable


Again the problem faces the teacher of selecting material and of
organizing it to be most meaningful to the pupils. Pointing the study
of grammar toward good usage, having reviews and tests on usage
regularly, and checking the application of this study to the pupils'
writing and speaking are ways to keep this side of English instruc-
tion functional. Since the grammar for the most common errors in-
volving verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs should have been
mastered already, it should be possible for this course to emphasize
rhetorical effectiveness. If pupils have not attained to this mastery,
the teacher should begin with them where they are. The two faults
that bring a question to a teacher's mind are the sentence fragment
and the comma fault. The teacher, knowing that these occur in repu-
table current writing, may make such a provision as this: a pupil is
allowed to use these constructions in his compositions if he marks
them and uses an appropriate footnote, such as "I know this is a
sentence fragment." Then the teacher knows that their use is not
from ignorance and is free to consider their effectiveness. Regular
work in spelling must be provided for, and so must regular work in
composition. Considerable experience in composition, both written
and oral, can be given effectively in connection with the study of
literature. In this grade the precis begins to show its value.

The responsibility of the public school to give boys and girls a
significant introduction to the American literary heritage is not
questioned. Every pupil has been adding to his acquaintance with
this throughout his years at school. Now he has matured to the degree
that American literature takes on meaning for him when it is present-
ed in a systematic organization. Two ways of organization are easily
apparent. The chronological order used by the text has many merits.
If cross references are used and additional material is given to tie
together past and present, this order may be most effective. Another
organization that has proved workable is arrangement by ideas. This
has advantages, too, especially where the problems of tourist pupils
do not have to be considered. Putting stress on ideas reduces the
emphasis on poets' lives or literary types and increases the pupils'
understanding of the meaning of selections. It also overcomes preju-
dices which some pupils may have developed against certain forms,
such as poems or plays. The best plan probably results from the use of


the chonological arrangement of the text, clarified and enriched by
stress on ideas.
Colonial writing, for instance, is meager and dull, but colorful later
writing about colonial times gives life to the period. Study of life and
writings of the early days of the nation may lead into a study of the
pioneer life of the community. In one school this culminated in a
pioneer exhibit. In connection with it were held joint class programs.
Programs and displays differed from year to year but were always
interesting. Such exhibits and programs offer possibilities for com-
munity participation and interest.
Every pupil should know by heart certain poems and prose selec-
tions. Many of these are memorized in American history classes; others
belong naturally to the English course. Surely every boy and girl in
the United States, besides knowing a few pieces of famous historical
prose, should be able to sing the words of the three beautiful stanzas
of "The Star Spangled Banner." In a course in the literature of the
United States of America there is ever so much that is vital and
alive, ever so much that expresses the feelings and ideals of the pupils
themselves. The teacher's role is that of interpreter and guide.

As pupils become more advanced in school, the need grows for
more opportunities for specialization. In view of this fact, English is
not required by the State Department for graduation.2 However,
most seniors take English either from requirement or desire. To
serve best these young people the senior program should be differ-
entiated whenever it is practicable.
A few pupils may need remedial work in the fundamentals. Some
need training in use and discrimination for current and popular forms
of communication. Some will profit from the study of English litera-
ture. There is an error in the belief that the literature is only for the
pupils planning to go to college. The course has even more value,

2Teachers of advanced pupils should study pp. 30-35 of Florida School
Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 8 (April 15, 1942), Programs of Study in Florida
Secondary Schools. Here is found a clear presentation of the philosophy and
plan for senior high school requirements.


perhaps, for pupils not planning college work. If it is taught for its
values as a strong English course, it can serve both groups simultane-
ously. Electives such as business English, speech, journalism, and
dramatics may sometimes be substituted for the fourth year of
English.3 A general English course may offer much for a section in
a school where it can serve the needs of the group better than a
literature course. It may be possible to work out variation of material
for sub-groups within a class.
For any of these substitutions, the year's work should be based
on a careful analysis of the strength and weaknesses of each pupil
and of his vocational and personal needs. Pupils are not to elect
courses indiscriminately. The year's work should be planned by teach-
ers who understand young people of this grade level.
State Adopted Textbooks
Language: English in Action, Course IV, Tressler
D. C. Heath and Company $ .90
Literature: Literature and Life, Book IV
Scott, Foresman and Company $ 1.50
Literature: Heritage of World's Literature, Cross and Cross
The MacMillan Company
Remedial Reading: Following Printed Trails, Hovious
D. C. Heath and Co. (Grades 10-12) $ .99
Spelling: Spelling in Everyday Life, Steadman and Bixler
Turner E. Smith and Company $ .33
Speech: The Speech Arts, Craig
The MacMillan Company $ 1.29
Dictionary: Webster's Students Dictionary,
The American Book Company
Explanations as to the number of books needed and their intended
use are given in Florida School Bulletin Vol. IV, No. 9 (May 1, 1942),
State Adopted Free Textbooks for Use in Elementary and Secondary
Schools. The world literature book can be used in a twelfth grade

SShort discussions of these electives are given in An Experience Curriculum
in English, National Council of Teachers of English, 211 W. 68 St., Chicago 21,


elective course in world literature; or an agreement can be made
among tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade teachers for sharing the
book as a supplementary text with each class using appropriate
sections. There are teacher's manuals for most texts. By judicious
requisitioning and insistence on careful handling of books by pupils,
textbooks funds can sometimes be saved to use for school or class-
room libraries. Having pupils cover their books may serve several
worthwhile purposes.
More than ever, selecting material and organizing it effectively
present problems to the senior English teacher. The guiding prin-
ciples are needs of pupil and aims for instruction in English. The
standards of relative mastery of basic skills are similar to those of the
tenth and eleventh grades but more exacting. Regular assignments,
reviews, and tests in usage, spelling, and composition both insure and
limit to these branches of language study their fair proportion of
time. The twelfth grade teacher feels a great responsibility for her
pupils' ability and ease in fundamental language activities.

The study of English literature may be dull and dead, or it may
be live and stimulating. The teacher is the deciding factor. To be alive,
old literature must be related to today's living. The writings of the
past have much to say to thinking young people when these young
people see in them truths, principles, and opinions applicable to
problems of the present. Selections in the literature book serve as
points of departure for alert classes. Later writings on similar sub-
jects are compared, opposing opinions are considered, and individuals
learn to make their own judgments rather than to accept print as
fact. They learn to respect what is true and wise, no matter when it
was written, and to detect falseness and unsound thinking.

In this course pupils get a long range view of many present forms
of literature. The experiences centered on Shakespeare invite a class
to go on with a study of drama through the chief developments along
the way to the motion picture. They can see the ways in which the
movie is as closely related to the Shakespearean play as to contem-
porary stage drama. Richardson and Fielding open the way to a study
of the novel. Tracing the development of the novel through the years,
with the main classes of romantic, realistic, and Gothic, opens doors


to many possibilities for reading and for a study of individual reading
habits and preferences. As they study poetry for ideas, pupils are
often surprised to find that a poet of the past has expressed their
feelings exactly.

In teaching English literature a teacher realizes that there are no
musts. No pupil has to like Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Conrad, or
Shaw. Among the great, if he can read with comprehension, there are
authors he will enjoy. It is the teacher's business and privilege to
open to him riches that he can enjoy the rest of his life.
In most senior English classes one or more term papers or long
compositions are written. These may vary from literary studies, re-
search themes on varied subjects, booklets on hobbies or vocations,
to personal writings such as autobiographies. All these have many
values. The choice comes from circumstances. In all cases the teacher
should have the pupils share in setting up the aims for the project.
Among the objectives to be sought are the ability to do some research,
to organize findings, and to record ideas clearly, interestingly, and

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