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Cultural Reflections takes the best from a writing process approach and adds a social dimension, demonstrating how to make cultural criticism the driving force in the high school English curriculum. Students carry different baggage than we did when we were in school- what engaged students thirty years ago does not engage them today. Cultural Reflections acknowledges those differences and addresses them in ways that make sense to teachers and keep students interested.
Gaughan's work is that of a master teacher, continually developing his craft, drawing insight from his students, and featuring them in his accounts. From him, readers will learn about the importance of names and naming, not only for their students but also for themselves. They will learn new ways to think about language and the racist, sexist, and political assumptions that sometimes underlie the words we use. And they will see how teaching thematically removes the curricular constraints imposed by chronological approaches to literature. The book will help broaden teachers' notions of what constitutes legitimate texts to include not only young adult and contemporary multicultural texts, but audio and video texts as well.
Preservice and inservice English teachers will find in Cultural Reflections a compelling vision for rethinking what "English" is or can be. Tom Romano writes in the foreword, "After reading it, you might revise your teaching. You might take charge in a new way."[via]