ERIC Number: ED364861
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Whole Language as an Ecological Phenomenon: On Sustaining the Agonies of Innovative Language Arts Practices.
Field, James C.; Jardine, David W.
In the area of language instruction, a network of ecological relationships exists among the teacher, the child, and the text--the sustaining and nurturing of these relationships is at the heart of whole language instruction. Moreover, this network of relationships falls prey to neither of the unsustainable extremities of "gericentrism" (appealing to the authority of age, convention, or tradition) and "pedocentrism" (child-centered pedagogy). This notion of "ecological relationships" can be used as a metaphor to make possible a different reading of some controversies in the area of whole language instruction. Whole language is an attempt to reconnect language with the vitality of children's (and adults's) lives, experiences and imagination, and to reconnect this vitality to the grander texts and textures of the Earth. What whole language has to offer, and what it is up against, links up to deep-seated philosophical and epistemological and cultural tides and currents that must be unearthed if the living interconnections that have made whole language so attractive are to be nurtured. Whole language opens up the risk-laden task of paying attention to what is needed specifically, with this task of writing, and that moment of reading. Whole language makes teachers' lives more difficult and risk-laden, and makes their relations with language and with children more vibrant and full, more painful and more joyful. Whole language instruction, at its heart, is an attentiveness to signs of teachers' deep engagement with language. (Contains 24 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Ecological Paradigm
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (43rd, Charleston, SC, December 1-4, 1993).