Category Archives: 1951

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.

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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 lan- guage 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