Windows on Learning: Resources for Basic Skills Education

Teaching Pre-collegiate English: Case Studies

"English" is a big umbrella, and English courses cover a wide and important range of knowledge and abilities that are perhaps best captured in the notion of "literacy." As it is understood today, literacy is not simply a matter of mechanics and rules (though it matters that students know where to put a comma), but of developing the capacity and confidence to navigate the world through the confident use of language. The cases featured here illustrate different approaches to this goal.



When Capable Students Fail: The Academic Sustainability Gap

In this site, Katie Hern, an English instructor at Chabot College, presents the interrelated and overlapping themes that have emerged to explain the gap between students' ability and sustainability, and what teachers might do to close that gap.

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The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

See how a learning community helped Shirley Kahlert and Beverly DiSalvo combine an ESL grammar class and a developmental writing class to improve their students' literacy skills at Merced College.

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Helping Students Read Difficult Text

David Reynolds considers the different elements that combine to make a text "difficult" and explores various strategies for teaching rich, complex text to his students in an Introduction to Communication Skills class at West Hills College.

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Documenting and Guiding the Convergence of Technology, Teaching, and Learning

Learn about the experience of students and teachers at City College of San Francisco who worked together in English classrooms, in labs, and on Web sites to share knowledge and refine successful teaching-learning practices.

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A Glimpse into a Reading Apprenticeship Classroom

Explore how Nancy Ybarra of Los Medanos College incorporates Reading Apprenticeship strategies to move her students from apprentice to more accomplished readers.

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Asking Their Own Questions: ESL Students Take Charge of Their Reading

Annie Agard uses poetry to guide students in a low-level ESL class at Laney College toward more resourcefulness as they face vocabulary challenges and more active engagement with the texts, so that, ultimately, they develop the skills they need to deal with English texts in a more independent way.

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Powerful Uses of Technology in Developmental English

Denise Ezell uses technology to improve the writing skills of students in a class three levels below freshman compostion at Glendale Community College.

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The Power of the Pursuit: How Teacher Inquiry Leads to Intentional Learning

Lydia Alvarez, Suzanne Crawford and Lynn Serwin of Cerritos College demonstrate how inquiry into their individual basic skills writing classrooms helped them articulate a common problem: how to motivate students to make their writing more authentic, engaging, and effective.

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The Full E-mersion: Electronic-Based Pedagogy in Developmental Composition

The English Division at Glendale Community College has undertaken an in-depth evaluation, revision, and implementation of an advanced electronic pedagogy for its developmental composition program. This site contains two major strands: Making the Literacy Visible and Making the Learning Visible.

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This electronic portfolio was created using the KEEP Toolkit, developed at the
Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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