Discussion Question: What Is English?
(Chapters Five through Eight)
Consider the questions and issues that Elbow raises about teaching theory. Do
you think the Symposium would be better served if we read a good novel
instead of What Is English?
Elbow raises the debate between form and content. Does
he resolve the debate? If so,
how? If he does not resolve
the debate to your satisfaction, what position would you take on this issue?
What is your attitude (as a student or a teacher) toward pop quizzes? Multiple
choice questions on tests? Worsheets? What
purpose do assessment tools serve? What
purpose do these discussion questions serve?
You have many years of being in a classroom. Write
a personal experience essay describing a successful classroom experience.
Has the use of “theory jargon” left you excluded from class discussions? If
so, what did you do?
How does Elbow define a reflection paper? How
do you define it? Do you enjoy
writing reflection papers?
Re-read the first paragraph on page 117. Do
you dare to respond to it?
Read the vignette on pages 123-124. What
do you think of the teacher’s behavior?
Choose any passage in these chapters and write a reflection paper on the
The new DPA regulations (or guidelines) suggest that our English Education
major should include a “Language Arts” option. A
major in Language Arts would have to demonstrate proficiency in journalism
speech, composition, and literature. If
you are an education major, would you consider taking an addition class
or two of journalism and speech so that you could obtain the Language Arts
How do you feel about teaching alternative texts (TV, radio, video, movies,
internet) in high school or college?
Do you agree or disagree with the last full paragraph on page 100?
How comfortable are you with your knowledge and use of grammar? How
did you learn grammar?
Read item six on page 114. Are
English teachers expected to do too much inside and outside of the classroom?
For you, what is the “center” of English?
How can a paradigm for teaching writing be a paradigm for teaching English?