References for Intentional Learning; Skills Acquired Through Case Studies of Literacy

Annotated References
Delpit, L. (2003). The skin that we speak: Thoughts on language and culture in the classroom.
New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
A collection of professional voices from the fields of secondary education, collegiate, theoretical, and ethnography analyzing the methods for developing language and literacy for multicultural children in predominant white, American, English standard language culture. Chapter essays by noted individuals presented the relationship of education and language bias with analysis from case studies and classroom observations. The jurisprudence of Ebonics is the focus of this sociolinguistic study of late 20th century legal actions, government spending and personal experience.  Scholars unable to concur on Ebonics as a language or dialect consequently affected racial tensions and legislative actions.

Essays similarly conclude that refusal to acknowledge purpose and meaning of dialect or language leads unconscious racism.  Each scholar focuses on isolated reasons for African American students’ failure and suggests purposeful actions for present day education. Herbert Kohl’s insight moved beyond teacher criticism and examined a multitude of approaches and the outcomes for changes in instruction. Kohl concluded that there could be more instruction on teacher’s language and styles. Teachers should not judge or correct dialect as language misuse, as a result of laziness, poverty, stupidity need of remediation.  Intellect judged on English Standard language has been responsible for social castigation and less remediation is needed if dialectic differences are recognized and integrated purposefully.  Gloria Ladson-Billings criticisms of education were less forgiving of educators. She demands that education change to allow every child to succeed without failure.  This thread holds throughout each essay, children should not be allowed or able to fail.  Differentiated instruction should embrace cultural, linguistic style.

Epelbaum, D. (2007). Multiple Intelligence Assessments give Insight into Reading Comprehension
Difficulties and Potential: A Case Study. International Journal of Learning, 14(5) 243-251. Retrieved from Education Research Complete.
This research questioned how testing students’ reading comprehension with assessments based on standard, isolated linguistic intelligence would compare to an assessment that could be geared towards one of the individual’s other intelligences (as identified by Howard Gardner’s research).  Qualitative Reading Inventories (QRI) does provide data to target specific weaknesses in linguistic intelligence. However, QRI  does not accurately measure student potential or intelligence in other areas.  The focus of this finding looks at the consequences of mislabeling ESL students at a lower level for reading comprehension.  Reading comprehension in the student’s home language is most likely higher than it is in an adopted language and mislabeling students can effect their placement. The research tested if an ESL student can be taught strategies for excelling in reading comprehension practices by utilizing another intelligence (interpersonal and spatial).

Epelbaum relied on body language clues to determine student levels of frustration or comprehension while utilizing literary strategies based on Harvery Daniels.  This is a well organized case for Response to Intervention (RTI). Assessment, diagnosis and a design for progress based on individual needs of a student resulted in small, measureable progress. Only two of Gardner’s intelligences were tested.  This research focused on the results of one student without repetitive practice without recommended applications for a larger body of students.

Grandin, T. (2007). Autism from the Inside: Educational Leadership, 64(5), 29-32. Retrieved from
Education Research Complete.

This article is an autobiographical reflection of autism and specific educational practices that lead autistic students to success. Her status as a university professor, a published author and an industrial designed  sets high expectations.  She explains how autistic children learn based on her own experience and how educators could teach to these strengths. The article is direct and gives simple rules of engagement for educators and their autistic populations.
Grandin’s autism allows her to think in images and associations that are not sequential or linear.  Educator’s should no longer make the mistake of removing pictures from students’ thinking.  They should adjust to the strengths of the individual. Misreading student responses to how educators insist that students learn interferes with learning styles.  Brain research concurs that it is impossible for autistic students to understand nuance or non verbal instruction. It did not benefit Grandin to learn many subjects at the same time.  It in fact would have impeded her ability to learn at her higher level of intelligence.  This concise, simplified research clarified the dangers of not differentiating and should be read by every educator.  While education should have vision, teachers should not be alone in making responsible decisions about what is best practice.

Harvey, S. Ebonics Dictionary. (2009, July 20). Steve Harvey One Man. Retrieved from, (2012, July 8)
This was a four minute clip of a recorded show of a popular stand- up comedian. It was a necessary review for connections to the Ebonics controversy because I live in a region of Vermont where this is nonexistent.  Steve Harvey is renowned for his humorous description of his own Black culture.  His use of Ebonics found appreciation with an audience that was predominantly Black. Cameras panning the audiences’ reactions to his impersonations and descriptions of how Ebonics and its culture are received by White American culture highlighted receptive responses of hysterical laughter and enthusiasm. His routine seems to both embrace cultural and dialectic differences while making light of it being misconstrued. He challenges the view of Ebonics as culture to be disregarded into a culture that is disregarded because it has power and meaning.
Finding humor in an era of contentious debate on the legality of Ebonics takes the edge off of uncertainties about this linguistic culture. This clip was evidently posted and viewed by more than 300,000  ending with “Ebonics is the leading cause of white folks taking accidental ass whoopins’ during hold ups…” and uncontrolled responses of laughter. 

Oboler, E.S. & Gupta, A. (2010). Emerging Theoretical Models of Reading through Authentic
Assessments among Preservice Teachers: Two Case Studies. Reading Matrix: An International
Online Journal, 10(1), 79-95.
Case studies of preservice teachers (PT) conclude that different tools for traditional reading inventories and determining instructional reading level helped establish practices that were intentionally mindful of students’ progress.  Teachers did not use assessment as a final cap on a student’s intelligence but as a means for developing a pathway for continued gain in metacognition.  Teachers were invested in isolating causes of student errors, adjusting teaching practices and addressing cultural factors that confuse learning. Teachers engaged in the separate studies of common assessment were more accepting of allowing others to grade subjectively and offer recommendations for specific reading strategies to match the needs of students. This developed when  50% or more teachers reached similar diagnosis.  When educators in every field of knowledge apply similar reading strategies, the consistency follows the student as he/she attends to the daily schedule.  This study concludes that when schools administer assessments that they believe are meaningful and effective it works when there is a clear objective (data) of how they will be used to inform instructional plans for the student. The purpose of training a school to collect and interpret data is to formulate hypotheses for linking outcomes to inform appropriate instruction.
TEDEd, Lessons Worth Sharing (Producer). (2009). Nina Jablonski breaks the illusion of skin color.
(2009) Retrieved from

The idea behind TED ed is to take the popular TED talks and to build a platform for the classroom use that does not replace classroom learning. It allows students to take lecture as video and view it wherever, whenever.  Members can access differentiated routine tasks such as multiple choice, short answer and deep thinking questions.  Students receive an instant response to their scoring which can allow for recall, retakes.  Students can have their scores and answers shared with their teacher.  Teachers have the ability to edit or exclude segments of the video and the assessment tasks.  They can add  links and ideas of their own to the tasks which is referred to as flipping a classroom. “Flip this video” link can be accessed on every site.
Technology, education and design are the key themes behind the TED acronym. A studio in California became host to an annual conference which promoted the top innovators and motivators of the world.  The requisite was the limit of the speech to eighteen minutes. The free access to these lectures was well received and became popular in my own classroom. 
Access to video removes some of the teacher’s authority and responsibility for presenting a body of knowledge. On one level, it depersonalizes the relationship that students and teachers have removing some of the negative outcomes that come from controlling access to knowledge.  This site encourages collaboration that transcends cultural bias and allows an unstratified community to debate,criticize and engage in all of the meanings available from one simple lecture.  I chose this particular lecture for its relevance to my other references on race and culture.

Robertson, S. (Show Host) (2010, November 15). Ebonics in the Age of Obama. The Ink Spot. Chicago
State University., July 8)
A recap of a recorded episode of a critique of the issues addressed in John Baugh’s recently published book, Beyond Ebonics. Three notable guests argue the necessity of recognizing Ebonics as a language. Points considered include the concerns of encouraging a language that is “dummed down” or less than standard and its short history of necessary usage in North America. It’s roots in Wollof and Gula of West Africa justify patterns of usage and influence on current Ebonics. Debate moved into acknowledging that there is no universal Black culture in America but that regional dialect has universal patterns that are established as language patterns of Ebonics.  Regardless of the points of view all concur that Baugh deserved a positive review of his work.

I needed to hear the debate after reading Delpit’s, The Skin That We Speak. Because the controversy is about language, I needed to find that language being discussed by notable African Americans and not as this issue was examined by major American news broadcasters. Not one critic argued in the language of Ebonics.  All argued in standard English.

Vygotsky, L.S., & Kozulin, A. (2011). The Dynamics of the Schoolchild’s Mental Development in
Relation to Teaching and Learning. Journal of Cognitive Education & Psychology, 10(2), 198-
211. Doi:10.1891/19458959.10.2.198.
Vygotsky’s early 20th century work is referenced by several of the authors who emphasize the necessity of developing literacy skills through ample experiences with conversation and verbal communication. His work is considered a theoretical foundation for backwards design and inquiry based learning. In this research the relationships between the mental development of a child and the learning is more complicated than imagined. In his theoretical Zone of Proximal Development, relative and absolute achievement is separate.  It is possible for students to fail an absolute achievement but to gain significant relative knowledge and achievement.  Therefore a student has accumulated gains in knowledge.  This was especially important to his study of underachieving students and those with several mental disabilities. Tests can not alone expose the possibilities and endless possible outcomes that children do develop. 
ZDP defines those functions that are not mature yet, but are currently in the process of maturation, the functions that will mature tomorrow.  There is an optimal distance and optimal gap between the ideal age and the actual age lead to achievement.  Therefore the process of learning is not purely a mechanical process.  
This research is used in several of the language and linguistic arguments that both validates the usefulness of common assessment and the need to develop intentional practices in the classroom to allow for optimum students achievement at their own individual pace in their own way.  It is mindful of possibility and potential that can be overlooked when education focuses primarily on a given answer on a test.
Witte-Townsend, D. L. & DiGiulio, E. (2004) Something from Nothing: Exploring dimensions of
children’s knowing through the repeated of favourite books, The International Journal of
Children’s Spirituality, 127–142. (Guest Editor: Mark Pike, University of Plymouth, Exmouth,
U.K. Special issue on spirituality, literature and literacy.) Web site:
This is a reflective study of how emergent readers and educators develop continuous relationships with certain pieces of literature.  The experiences of the authors demonstrate reasoning for why emergent readers should reread favorite stories and for the purpose of silences that follow when children digest a story.  They defend that individual progress in a classroom is social, emotional and spiritual. This progress can not and is not documented by standardized testing. In overlooking this development there is a danger in encouraging educators and parents to forget about the value of rereads or silent reflection.
Children stories are crafted in order to strengthen developmental stages of learning. Repetition, print structure, imagery, patterns & predictions are built into the readings for the purpose of rereading.  “Students can’t always articulate the subtleties they sense and they often pick up on overlooked complexity or new pathways” as they read and later when they quietly reflect. This study emphasized the importance of never giving children the impression that there is only one response to a complex issue.
Witte-Townsend, D.L. &  DiGiulio, E. (2006) Light-ness of Being in the Primary Classroom: Inviting
conversations of depth across educational communities, Johnson State College, Vermont,  Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38, (3) 373-389.:
This research advocates for a spiritual and communicative focus in classroom learning. Children and teachers can achieve complex learning if teachers are aware of a child’s depth of being.  The author explores the intuitive and perceptive nature of children and their ability for thoughtful input into their own education.  Her own classroom experiences give evidence to Vygotsky’s theory for lessons that offer variance in pacing, experimental play, modeling and conversation as means for developing meaningful engagements.  An argument for ‘reading for the sake of the beauty of language or the wonder of a new idea,” is pitted against prescript emphasis on mandated standardized testing.  This study suggests that standardization of the 1970s and the present legislation can lead teachers, school systems to neglect important transformation.

Whitney Kaulbach
EDU- 6210- Administration of reading programs
Johnson State College
Professor Darlene Witte Townsend
Summer 2012

1 comment:

wkaulbach said...

Thank you Whitney.
You have a fine writing style and a way of synthesizing your knowledge that I find very meaningful.
Thank you.