Mirror Images: Teaching Writing in Black and White

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9780435088217: Mirror Images: Teaching Writing in Black and White

In the midwestern suburb of Webster Groves, Missouri, a team of middle and high school teachers-all female, all but one White-refused to accept the chronic underachievement of African-American student writers. Mirror Images is their story. Through six years of action research, they realized that instead of trying to "fix" the kids, they needed to "fix" some other things: their teaching methods, the ambiance of their classrooms, and their own cultural awareness.

The teachers' journey is one of self-reflection, painful at times, as they question, hypothesize, act, analyze results, and ultimately change. Hand-in-hand with their changes, readers follow the story of Antwuan, James, and Damon: students who were seemingly disengaged from their classrooms, curriculum, and teacher. They change, too, becoming involved, active, guiding forces in their English classes.

Mirror Images offers no recipes, no quick-fix solutions. Instead, it presents rich classroom experiences and a process that will help readers see their own hard-to-reach students with new eyes. Along with principles for good writing instruction, the authors explain key strategies for success with dozens of their own lessons and projects. Classroom teachers, as well as instructional and staff development leaders, who want to get beyond the standard advice on cultural sensitivity and students "at risk" must read this book. Readers will be challenged as well as inspired by this view into real classrooms, through mirrors of race, class, gender-and self.

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About the Author:

Nancy Carson earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education with majors in Spanish and English form the University of Missouri, Columbia. She received her Master's in Teaching from Webster University. Nancy began teaching in the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles, Missouri. After three years, she took time out to raise her children. However, through volunteer work, she remained actively involved in the education process. In 1981 she returned to teaching at the Hixon Middle School and Webster Groves High School. She taught Spanish, journalism, and creative writing. She serves as the director of the writing project. She has introduced the action research project to organizations such as the NCTE, the National Staff Development Council, and the Missouri teachers in Washington, University City, Kirkwood, Valley Park, and at Webster University. Nancy has co-authored several articles, including "Improving Writing of At-Risk Students with a Focus on African-American Males: A Collaborative Action Research Project," in Breadloaf News (Carson, Tabscott, and Krater-Thomas 1991). Two of her lessons appeared in Hear You, Hear Me! (Webster Groves Writing Project 1992).

Joan Krater earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Webster University in 1963. She began teaching at a Webster Groves junior high school. She remained there for thirteen years, when she moved to Hixson. She earned her master's degree in secondary education with a major in social studies at Indiana University in 1971. She subsequently taught English. For three different years, Joan wrote and directed federal grant programs under Title VII, then Title VI aimed at lessening the effects of segregation. She also wrote a grant to establish the Gateway Writing Project. Joan was a consultant for the Shawnee Mission School district (in Kansas) during the summers of 1981 through 1983. Joan spearheaded her district's holistic assessment of writing in 1985. She led the project until her sabbatical in 1989-90. During her sabbatical, Joan was an intern at the Regional consortium for Educational Technology. Later Joan took on a dual role of teaching gifted students and serving as the technology resource for Hixson. She has authored and co-authored several articles on the teaching of writing previously under the name Joan Krater Tomas. She retired from classroom teaching in the spring of 1993.

Jane Zeni has worked at every level of students from preshcool through doctoral candidates. Her home base since 1977 has been the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she has taught preservice English education, composition, and graduate writing courses. She serves as the director of Gateway Writing Project, She has led many summer institutes and inservice workshops and serves as consultant to action researchers. Jane was born in New York City and earned a bachelor's at Harvard and a master's at the University of Pennsylvania in literature. In 1969 she joined six teachers who were planning an alternative school in Philadelphia. A year later she moved to Santa Fe and taught at the Pueblo Indian day schools. Later she taught secondary English at St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe. Jane earned her master's degree in curriculum at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Later in St. Louis, she received her Ed.D. at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, in 1985. Her dissertation, an action research project involving computers, led to the book WritingLands (NCTE 1990).

Review:

“[This book] demonstrates that teacher change and reflection can positively affect student achievement.”–Language Arts

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Nancy Cason; Joan Krater; Jane Zeni
Published by Heinemann (1994)
ISBN 10: 0435088211 ISBN 13: 9780435088217
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Cason, Nancy, Krater, Joan, Zeni, Jane
Published by Heinemann (1994)
ISBN 10: 0435088211 ISBN 13: 9780435088217
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