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Balancing the Curriculum in the English Language Arts: Exploring the Components of Effective Teaching and Learning.
What Are Effective Schools Doing?

Arthur N. Applebee


The past several decades have been a period of sharp debate about the nature of effective curriculum and instruction, for the curriculum as a whole as well as for the teaching of the English Language arts. Calls for a return to the “basics,” to a traditional liberal arts curriculum, to the classical works of Western civilization, and to direct instruction have echoed against calls for contemporary relevance, content reflecting the contributions of minorities and of women, process- oriented approaches, and student centered classroom. These calls have been intertwined with a national movement toward more rigorous, and more uniform, standards for curriculum, assessment, and teacher preparation. These debates are far from over, but this chapter describes the dimensions of an emerging consensus about many of the most important components of effective curriculum and instruction. The discussion is organized around changing perceptions of three components of effective contexts for teaching and learning- the teacher, the student, and the curriculum- and the metaphors that govern how these components interact in teaching and learning.

* Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, 2nd Ed., 2003, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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