Carol Jago confirms her place among a select group of classroom teachers whose writing has transformed professional discourse and the teaching of English in our time....My advice to you is to read this book and be grateful for the colleague you find in it.
"It's a crime," Carol Jago declares, "to let any studentswhatever their native abilitiesdrift through the school year without effort, without growth, without goals. Each student is capable of achieving excellence. But it requires a nurturing, vigorous classroom environmentnot the glass ceilings set by even the best of standards-based instruction."
To help current and future high school English teachers create and maintain this kind of environment, Jago has created this groundbreaking book. Beyond Standards offers concrete ways to reconceive what it means to foster excellent performance in the classroom and vivid examples of student work that was motivated by the pursuit of excellence rather than by test scores. Packed with richly detailed classroom anecdotes, it explores the many ways teachers can select books, design lessons, and inspire discussions that can lead all their students to extraordinary achievements, both in the study of literature and in their writing assignments. Included are practical tips on everything from helping students self-edit their writing to "tricking" them into reading a lot more poetry.
Beyond Standards may be seen as a series of storiesor "ethnographic studies"on how to make the work of the high school English class humanly and genuinely important to students so that they will engage in literate activity with the same kind of attention and effort as "real" writers. Under such conditions, Jago asserts, students will learn more and produce more useful and impressive products than any standards document could possibly anticipate.