The two most widely taught subjects in the United States are English and language arts.
Teaching English and Language Arts
According to the American National Council of Teachers of English, English and language arts are broken up into reading, speaking, writing, viewing and listening.
In the elementary school grades, language arts focus on writing, reading and communication skills. Classes consist of cursive writing, thematic writing, silent reading, vocabulary and syntax. Through these classroom exercises, students develop reading and writing skills as early as possible.
When students enter middle school, English curriculum expands and involves increasingly complicated reading comprehension in the form of essays, fiction and poetry. At this stage, semantics and grammar start to become central to lessons.
Middle school students start to develop writing skills in addition to reading skills. These writing skills may include creative writing, expository writing and poetry. Vocabulary is also a core part of the English curriculum in middle school. At this stage, students are expected to develop a more advanced comprehension of all five language arts.
High school students are required to take English classes in order to develop their analytical skills. High school English classes typically include reading fiction, classic literature and essays. Teachers expect students to analyze, translate and extrapolate key concepts from written material. Classroom discussions revolve around comparing and contrasting elements in the written material such as themes, plots and characters.
In the high school classroom setting proficient writing skills are needed to express viewpoints about the literature that is being read. Students are also often required to submit research papers or essays that contain their personal opinions on the reading material. Again, high school English is considered to be an extensive study course; students utilize the five aforementioned skills and language arts in order to better understand literature, its place in history and its value as a learning tool.
English is also a core component of preparing a student for college material. High school English courses get students ready for the more advanced analytical and research skills that they will be expected to have mastered by the time they reach college.
These skills will serve students throughout their time at university. Not only that, but English serves to help students to get into college in the first place, as it is a core component of college entrance exams such as the SATs.
Grammar and composition is introduced to elementary school students through language arts classes. However, classes that are solely devoted to reading go a long way toward helping students to develop comprehension and analytical skills that will serve them in English studies. Reading classes also help students of all levels achieve a larger vocabulary and the enhanced ability to spell. This is accomplished through a combination of practice, construction and testing. Reading classes incorporate fiction, nonfiction, visual aids and reference materials such as the dictionary and the thesaurus.
As reading skills advance with every grade level, skills increase and help to prepare students for higher grades like high school and middle school English. It is here that they will be able to apply their basic reading skills in order to construct more complex comprehension and analytical extrapolation of literature.
Teaching English and Language Arts Effectiveness
As an English and language arts teacher, there is little doubt that you can see how much influence English and language arts have on a student’s future academic career. Being able to master these basic skills in the younger years helps to ensure that a student will be able to climb the rungs of academic success throughout their entire lives. Of course, being an effective English and language arts teacher requires a certain amount of resources that you may feel are beyond your reach.
To inquire about funding opportunities for teachers of English and language arts, please visit TeacherFunder.com.