We Teach English (1951)

LaBrant, L. (1951). We teach English. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

NOTE: Most of LaBrant’s published works were included in professional and research journals. She tended to avoid traditional textbooks as a writer and as a teacher, but she also primarily worked as a practitioner instead of a researcher, thus few extended works.

Below is a review (May, 1951) of We Teach English from The High School Journal, 34(5), 154-155.

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40367787

We Teach English. By Lou LaBrant. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1951. viii-342 pp. $2.75.

Once in a decade or so, a really important professional book is likely to appear. For English teachers, Lou LaBrant’s We Teach English is that book. It will be helpful in educating prospective teachers, but its major appeal should be to experienced teachers. It might be called a philosophical book, although it rests on the solid foundation of a lifetime of experience. LaBrant’s approach to language is scholarly and she ably includes the semantic approaches to the functional teaching of language.

Oral English and its counterpart, listening, so sadly and inexplicably lacking in many present English programs, receive adequate consideration here. The interpretation of literature receives the least emphasis of any aspect of the English curriculum but the stimulation of reading and the place of reading in meeting personal needs is well treated.

In short, this is no “how to teach” book. Rather, it is a book which will cause the reader to re-examine the bases of his teaching methods and the content of his courses. It should assist him to develop English courses suited to the needs of present day high school students. As such, this book belongs in the hands of every English teacher. And, thanks to the publisher’s reasonable price of $2.75, we can afford it.

Dorothy McCuskey


About plthomasedd

P. L. Thomas, Associate Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Sense Publishers), in which he authored the first volume—Challenging Genres: Comics and Graphic Novels (2010). He has served on major committees with NCTE, and has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Ignoring Poverty in the U.S.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Education (Information Age Publishing, 2012) and Parental Choice?: A Critical Reconsideration of Choice and the Debate about Choice (Information Age Publishing, 2010).He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and Ralph Ellison. His scholarly work includes dozens of works in major journals—English Journal, English Education, Souls, Notes on American Literature, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Teaching Writing, and others. His commentaries have been included in Room for Debate (The New York Times), The Answer Sheet (Washington Post), The Guardian (UK), truthout, Education Week, The Daily Censored, OpEdNews, The State (Columbia, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and The Greenville News (Greenville, SC). His work can be followed at the becoming radical (http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/) and @plthomasEdD on twitter. View all posts by plthomasedd

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