Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning

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Stenhouse Publishers, 2004 - Education - 106 pages

In productive classrooms, teachers don't just teach children skills: they build emotionally and relationally healthy learning communities. Teachers create intellectual environments that produce not only technically competent students, but also caring, secure, actively literate human beings.

Choice Words shows how teachers accomplish this using their most powerful teaching tool: language. Throughout, Peter Johnston provides examples of apparently ordinary words, phrases, and uses of language that are pivotal in the orchestration of the classroom. Grounded in a study by accomplished literacy teachers, the book demonstrates how the things we say (and don't say) have surprising consequences for what children learn and for who they become as literate people. Through language, children learn how to become strategic thinkers, not merely learning the literacy strategies. In addition, Johnston examines the complex learning that teachers produce in classrooms that is hard to name and thus is not recognized by tests, by policy-makers, by the general public, and often by teachers themselves, yet is vitally important.

This book will be enlightening for any teacher who wishes to be more conscious of the many ways their language helps children acquire literacy skills and view the world, their peers, and themselves in new ways.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ewyatt - LibraryThing

Choice words was a selection for our professional book club. It focuses on the way teachers interact with students and argues that the language teachers choose impacts students' development as learners and people. It was an interesting read and gave me good food for thought. Read full review

Choice Words

User Review  - sjs10 - Overstock.com

Seems OK I got into the first twenty pages or so. So far I dont see it addressing the situations that I face as an unban high school teacher. Again to this point it seems to be more valuable for ... Read full review

Contents

Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1 The Language of Influence in Teaching
Chapter 2 Noticing and Naming
Chapter 3 Identity
Chapter 4 Agency and Becoming Strategic
Chapter 5 Flexibility and Transfer or Generalizing
Chapter 6 Knowing
Chapter 7 An Evolutionary Democratic Learning Community
Chapter 8 Who Do You Think Youre Talking To?
The Fine Print
Four Fourth Graders
Analysis of Debbie Millers Interaction with the Class and Brendan
References
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Peter Johnston grew up and taught elementary school in New Zealand before coming to the United States to earn his Ph.D. at the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois. At the time his plans did not include staying in the United States let alone getting married and raising a family. He now lives in Albany, New York, with his wife Tina, and a cat left behind by one of his (three) children returning briefly from college.Peter's research and writing spring from his fascination with children's learning and, no less, teachers' teaching. Perversely, he believes that education is not simply about delivering information to children. He thinks it is more about building a just, caring society and that doing so will not detract from our more obviously pragmatic educational goals. In his most recent Stenhouse book,nbsp;Choice Words, he uses his fascination with the relationship between language and learning to show how this works moment to moment in the classroom.A professor at the State University of New York at Albany, Peter and his colleagues Becky Rogers and Cheryl Dozier recently researched their own teaching of beginning teachers innbsp;Critical Literacy/Critical Teaching: Tools for Preparing Responsive Teachers. Knowing Literacy, his most recent book on assessment, arose from his interest in the ways assessment teaching and learning are linked. His research on assessment has given him reason to be skeptical of high-stakes testing because of its effects on teaching and learning.When asked to describe himself as a writer, he says that he "binges." While not recommended, this approach has resulted in some eight books and about fifty research articles, along with occasional awards from professional organizations. Some of this, of course, is accounted for by age. The departure of his youngest daughter into a teacher education program, along with his recent election to the Reading Hall of Fame, asserts his "old fart" status.Beyond his family, research, soccer, singing, and humor sustain him. Failing that, a glass of chardonnay helps.

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