Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools, 5th edition

Published by Pearson (May 26, 2010) © 2011

  • Rhoda S. Maxwell
  • Mary Meiser
  • Katherine S. McKnight

  • Hardcover, paperback or looseleaf edition
  • Affordable rental option for select titles
  • Free shipping on looseleafs and traditional textbooks
  • NEW! Includes Internet sources at the end of each chapter to make the material relevant and to give students additional resources for reflection.
  • NEW! Poses reflective questions when appropriate in each chapter to prompt students to think about, and absorb key content.
  • Provides lesson and unit curriculum examples–full lesson plans, classroom organization ideas, and instructional strategies–to manifest current English language arts theory and pedagogy.
  • Offers a summative graphic organizer of the material in each chapter that shows readers clearly the differences and similarities between traditional and contemporary classroom classrooms.
  • Provides a flexible approach that allows instructors to follow their own course structure and instructional design.
  • Internet sources at the end of each chapter make the material relevant and give students additional resources for reflection.
  • Reflective questions appear when appropriate in each chapter, prompting students to reflect on, and absorb key content.
  • Web sites particularly useful for English teachers are included.
  • New chapter on media literacy (Chapter 9).
  • The order of the chapters has been revised to ensure a logical flow. For example:
    o Chapter 1, Becoming a Teacher, is a combination of Chapters 1 and 2 from the previous edition, reorganized to welcome readers to the profession and to ask them to think about themselves and their teaching in specific ways.          o Chapter 2, a revision of the previous Chapter 3, examines the curriculum and lesson planning design topics and introduces evaluation and assessment, which is further developed in a later chapter.
    o The use of both oral and written language is addressed in Chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 3, Language: Teaching About Spelling, Grammar, Mechanics, and Vocabulary is a combination of Chapter 4 and 7 from the fourth edition. It offers techniques for the teaching of grammar, mechanics and vocabulary and is packed with rich examples. Chapter 4, Oral Language, the Forgotten Language Art, builds on the strong presentation of the previous edition, but also examines the use of improvisation.o The new Chapter 5, Teaching Writing, combines Chapters 6 and 7 from the fourth edition and digs deeply into process writing and how novice teachers can create an effective and challenging writing program for their students.
    o Chapter 6, Writing and Evaluating Research Papers, focuses on appropriate methods for teaching research and research writing.o Chapter 12, Your Starting Role: Student Teaching and Beyond, takes readers through student teaching experiences, complete with actual material from former student teachers–emails, student teaching logs, and more. Included are scenarios and experiences that provide readers opportunities to explore problems they might face in the classroom.
    o Additions to the literature chapters include strategies for conducting a good class discussion on literature, criteria for selecting “good” books for adolescent readers, student units, Web sites for teachers, and reflection activities. These chapters also emphasize multicultural literature and young adult literature, without neglecting the classics.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Becoming an English Teacher

Drawn to Teaching

            What Makes an Effective English Teacher?

Understanding Adolescents

            Adolescent Traits

            Development Stages of Adolescents

            Students at Risk

            Varying Sources of Student Alienation

Motivating students to learn

            What Teachers Can Do

            Helping Students to Learn

            Setting up the Classroom To Motivate Students

            What do I do When I Don’t Have My Own Classroom

            Building Classroom Communities


Chapter 2: The Theoretical and Pedagogical Foundations of Teaching English

A Philosophy Shaping What We Do and When We Do It

Developing Classroom Curriculum

            From Goals to Outcomes

            Textbooks, Trade Books, and Software

Developing Classroom Teaching Plans

            Variables Within Our Grasp

Planning Well: Principles and Practice

            Instructional Unit:  “In Constant Search of Perfection: Benjamin Franklin”

            Questions For the Benjamin Franklin Unit: Analysis and Decision-Making


Chapter 3: Language: Teaching About Spelling, Grammar, Mechanics, and Vocabulary

The Importance of Language Study

Language Characteristics

Acquiring Our Native Language

Acquiring English as a Second Language

Non-Native Speakers of English

Understanding ELL students’ errors

Recognizing and Working with “Smart Errors”

Errors and Grades

General Suggestions and Guidelines for Teaching English Language Learners in   the English Language Arts Classroom

Classroom Language and English Language Learners

Grouping Students

Using Peer Partners

Ensuring Effective Learning

Providing experience with Written Language

Language Variation: American Dialects

            Understanding Linguistic Diversity in Our Schools

            Dialect, Identity, and Linguistic Competence

            African American English

            Native American Language

            Hispanic English

Achievement Among Minority Students

Language, Culture, and Identity: Julie of the Wolves

What does a contemporary look like when students are learning about Literature?<</H2>


Chapter Four: Oral Language: The Neglected Language Arts

Basic Principles

            Teacher Talk, Student Talk

            Talk and Cultural Differences

            Talk and Gender Equity

            Listening: Not the Same as Hearing

            Speaking: More than Just Talk

Improving Discussion Questions

            Personal Response, Small Group, Large Group

            Student Responsibility in Classroom Discussion

            Talking About Literature

            Building Class Cohesion through Stories

            Instructional Unit

            Instructional Unit

            Speaking formally: Teaching “The” Speech

            Informal Classroom Drama

            Evaluating Oral Language Activities

The Contemporary English language classroom: Oral Language


Chapter 5: Teaching Writing

Background of Teaching Composition

Research on Writing

Writing Process

Stages in the Writing Process

            Discovery Stage

            Drafting Stage

            Revising Stage

            Editing Stage

            Publishing Student Writing

Classroom Climate

The Teacher’s Role

Improving Writing Skills

            Understanding and Improving Sentence Structure

Specific Areas to Address in Mini-Lessons

            Understanding and Improving Punctuations


            Quotation Marks


            Daily Oral Language

Improving Spelling and Vocabulary


Writing For a Variety of Purposes

Types of Writing Assignments

Journal Writing

            Personal Response Journals

Writing Short Stories

            Round Robin Stories

            Developing Characters

            Story Strips

            Personal Narratives and Writing Stories

Writing Poetry

            Five Liners

            Diamond shape Poem

            Concrete poem

            Preposition poem

            Mood Poems

            Found Poems

            Bio poem

            Terse verse

Exploring an Instructional Unit

            Family Pressures

Writing in our Everyday Lives

Teaching Persuasion

Teaching Classifying

Lifelong Skills

The Contemporary English Classroom: Writing


Chapter 6: Writing and Evaluating Research Papers

Research Writing in the Context of Composition

A Method of Teaching Students How to Write Longer Papers

            Preliminary Work

            Selecting Topics

            Prior Knowledge

            Developing Questions

The I-Search Paper

            Locating Sources

            Evaluating Quality on the Net

            The Internet as a Reference Source

            Taking Notes on References

            Guidelines for the Research Process

            Developing Plans for Including Longer Papers

Instructional Unit

Research Skills/Debate

            A Research Assignment for a Paper on Careers

A Process to Teaching the Importance of Sources

Creating a Research Assignment

Additional Resources for Teaching Research

The Contemporary English Classroom: Writing and Evaluating Research Papers


Chapter 7: Selecting Literature

Objectives For Teaching Literature

Canonical Literature

            Balancing Literature Selections

            Making Choices

Organizing Literature Study

Instructional Unit

            Mexican Culture

Organizing Around A Theme

Reading Levels

Young Adult Literature

World Literature

            Thematic Approach

            Studying One Culture

Literature By Women

Multicultural Literature

            Native American Literature

            Hispanic Literature

            African American Literature

            Asian American Literature

            Readers and Literature

Recommended Books By or About People Of Color

            Selections for a Unit on Family Relationships

            Selections for Coming of Age or Developing a Sense of Self

            Selections for a Theme of Courage

            Selections for a Unit Focusing on Women and Women Writers


Stereotypes: The Root of Aggressive Behavior

The Contemporary English Classroom: Selecting Literature


Chapter 8: Teaching Literature

Reading Literature

Background of Literature Study

            Focus of Literary Study

Reader Response Theory

Implementing the Response Theory

            Using Factual Information

            Writing Responses

            Using Responses

Other Ways in Which to Respond to Literature

Literature circles


Formal Analyses

Prereading Activities

Reading Activities

Teaching Shakespeare

            Romeo and Juliet

            Small Group Work

            Writing Assignments Given to Students

Teaching Short Stories

            Short Stories Activities

Teaching Poetry

            Activities for Teaching Poetry

            Poetry Resources

Teaching Language in Literature Study

Vocabulary Study in Reading


            Words in Context

            Testing Vocabulary

Sharing Books

            Book Talks

            Interest Grouping

            Student Critiques

            Reading in Class

The Contemporary English Classroom: Teaching Literature


Chapter 9: Media Literacy: Technology, Media, and the Language Arts

What is Media Literacy?

Forms of Media for Literacy Learning


            Magazines and Print Media




            Videos and DVDs

            Video Games

Creating Media Literacy

            What’s a “Wiki” and How Can It Be Used in a Classroom?

            What is a “Ning” and How Can I Use it in the Classroom?

            What is a “Blog” and How Can I Use it in the Classroom?


The Contemporary English Classrooom: Media Literacy


Chapter 10: Evaluating English Language Arts

Evaluating English Language Arts

State and District Writing Assignments

Authentic Assessment

Purpose of Evaluation

Evaluating Literature

Constructing Tests

Writing Test Questions

Evaluating Writing

Evaluation by Levels

            Level 1

            Level 2

            Level 3

Methods of Evaluation

            Impression Grading

            Holistic Grading

            Analytic Scales


Self Evaluation

Evaluation of Oral Language

Evaluation of Units

            Portfolio Evaluation

            Content of Portfolios

            Evaluating Portfolios

            Biographies: Evaluating a Student Paper

The Future of Assessment

The Contemporary English Classroom: Teaching Literature



Chapter 11: Developing Units

Units as a Tool for Integrating the English Language Arts

Organizing Around a Theme

Beginning to Plan

            Teaching and Learning in Groups

            Including Writing Activities

Components of a Unit

            Important Points to Remember

Units Developed Around One Major Literature Selection

            Instructional Unit: Finding My Voice     

            Instructional Unit: To Kill A Mockingbird

            Instructional Unit: The Scarlet Letter

Developing Writing Activities for More Than One Novel

            Instructional Unit: Four-Week Literature Unit

A Literature Unit with Multigenres of Literature

            Instructional Unit: Families in Literature

            Selecting Books

Comprehensive Thematic Units

            Instructional Unit: Heroes

            Instructional Unit: Heroism

            Reading List

Interdisciplinary Units

            Instructional Unit: Tracing One’s Roots

            Instructional Unit: Historical Homes

            Instructional Unit: Literature of Conflict: Societal and Personal

            Developing your own instructional unit

The Contemporary English Classroom: Unit Planning



Chapter 12: Your Starting Role: Student Teaching and Beyond

The Community, the School District, the School

You and Your Cooperating Teacher: The CT

You and Your University Supervisor

The School Universe

            Your Colleagues

Changes, Planned and Otherwise

            Temporary Chaos: Schedules   

            Just Chaos

Teachers Workloads

Daily Challenges

            The Kids

            Classroom Management

            Curriculum and Instruction

            Assigning Work                                               

            Planning for Absentees

The Extra-Curriculars

Working With Parents

            Preparing For Conferences

            Talking with Parents and Guardians

Sharing with Students

Making the Most of Student Teaching

Thoughts, Advice, and Support From a Vet

Final Thoughts


Katherine McKnight is an associate professor and associate department chair of secondary education at National-Louis University. She also serves as an onsite professional development consultant for the National Council of Teachers of English. She began her career as a literacy educator over 20 years ago and taught high school English for over ten years. Her recent books have focused on using improvisation in the classroom, teaching writing in grades 6-12, and teaching the classics in the inclusive classroom.

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