ERIC Number: ED336724
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-May
Reference Count: N/A
Out from between a Rock and a Hard Place: Whole Language in Tennessee.
Hatch, J. Amos
The Whole Language Pilot Project in Tennessee was designed to respect teachers' judgments, to assume that their current practices are effective given the circumstances in which they work, and to offer whole language principles and practices as alternatives for teachers' consideration. The major vehicle for helping teachers understand whole language possibilities was a series of monthly teleconferences broadcast over satellite television during the 1989-90 school year. Participation in the pilot project was voluntary, and 40 schools chose to sign on as pilot schools. Faculties from other schools also viewed the broadcasts, bringing the total number of educators participating in the year-long project to over 1,300. The project's approach concerning basals was to help teachers conceptualize a continuum of possible uses for their basals, then to encourage them to reflect on the outcomes they desire and to select from possible uses based on what they wish to accomplish. The project suggested to teachers that there are many advantages to moving in the direction of using more flexible (rather than structured) classroom time and a wide variety of options for grouping children. The project offered teachers a broadened perspective on skills instruction and evaluation that attempted to balance principles of whole language with concerns for skill mastery. A continuum of strategies (incidental teaching, unit teaching, strategic teaching and direct teaching) was presented to teachers. Teachers were encouraged to make active decisions based on their best professional judgment about what was taught, when, and how. Treating whole language learning among professional educators as a transaction rather than as a one-way transmission reduces the chances of placing teachers between a rock and a hard place. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association (36th, Las Vegas, NV, May 6-10, 1991).