An English Program Based on Present Needs (1939)

LaBrant, L. (1939, November). An English program based on present needs. The High School Journal, 22(7), 269-271.

LaBrant details the English program at the experimental and progressive The Ohio State University School.

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Quoting LaBrant:

The English program for grades seven to twelve, inclusive, of the Ohio State University High School has been based on several premises generally accepted by the school faculty. Briefly, these are:

That the English curriculum should be an effort on the part of faculty and students to enable the latter to meet their language needs in listening, reading, speaking, and writing as adequately as possible.

That these needs should, in so far as possible, be met when and where they arise.

That both students and faculty should discuss and attempt to analyze these needs.

That consequently language growth and study are to be expected in all phases of school experience.

That some language experiences are developed most satisfactorily in classes in science, mathematics, or social studies.

That not all teachers are, however, equally skilled in assisting with all phases of language experiences, as, for example with personal or creative writing or with leisure reading; and consequently that students need a so-called “English” teacher who will assume certain specialized responsibilities and who will, in addition, study the general language growth of individual students and classes, and see that, as far as possible, adequate and balanced growth takes place.

That all language development should be considered in guiding a child’s work, and that consequently foreign-language experience is not to be separated from experience with the native tongue. (p. 269)

About plthomasedd

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a former column editor/co-editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Brill/Sense Publishers), in which he authored/edited several volumes. He has served on major committees with NCTE, has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Critical Media Literacy and Fake News in Post-Truth America (Brill, 2018), Teaching writing as journey, not destination: Essays exploring what “teaching writing” means (IAP, 2019), and How to end the Reading War and serve the literacy needs of all students: A primer for parents, policy makers, and people who care (IAP, 2020). He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Haruki Murakami. 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 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 radical eyes for equity ( and @plthomasEdD on Twitter. View all posts by plthomasedd

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