Research in Language (1947)

LaBrant, L. (1947, January). Research in language. Elementary English, 24(1), 86-94.

LaBrant confronts the failure of the field of education to implement the then current state of research on language. She calls for ways NCTE could close that gap between research and practice by identifying key areas of language research.

Quoting LaBrant:

A brief consideration will indicate reasons for the considerable gap between the research currently available and the utilization of that research in school programs and methods. (p. 87)

It is not strange, in view of the extensive literature on language, that the teacher tends to fall back upon the textbook as authority, unmindful of the fact that the writer of the text may himself be ignorant of the basis for his study. (pp. 88-89)

I believe that the Council should make two efforts. First, the Council should work with experts in the various fields where language study is being carried on, and publish a series of interpretations or monographs for the class-room teacher who needs information but does not have the time nor the necessary background to read the many basic studies. Second, the Council should undertake some sort of promotion program which will guarantee that text-book makers, teachers, supervisors, and school superintendents know that such materials are not only available, but that their study is imperative. (pp. 89-90)

This is not the time for the teacher of any language to follow the line of least resistance, to teach without the fullest possible knowledge of the implications of his medium. Before we, either as individuals or as a Council, experiment with methods of doing specific things or block out a curriculum, let us spend some time with the best scholars in the various fields of language study to discover what they know, what they believe uncertain and in need of study. Let us go to the best sources, and study the answers thoughtfully. (p. 94)

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