Category Archives: Essays/Readings

This category describes readings of any kind for either teachers or students.

Reconstructive Memory

“An active process whereby various strategies are used during the process of memory retrieval to rebuild information from memory, filling in missing elements while remembering. It was first differentiated from reproductive memory in 1932 by the English psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886-1969), who studied it with the technique of successive reproduction.

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Resource Room

“A room where students (usually in special education) who need extra help may go during regular class time. The resource room teacher may have special education and/or bilingual credentials and may provide one-on-one instruction or teach a subject to the students as a group.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

To Kill a Mockingbird

“The only novel (1960) by the US writer Harper Lee (1926-2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman and its aftermath are seen through the eyes of Scout, the six-year-old daughter of the white defense lawyer, Atticus Finch. Though clearly innocent, the man is found guilty and is subsequently shot 17 times by prison guards while, it is claimed, he was trying to escape. The editor of a local paper writes a courageous leader comparing the death to ‘the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.’ The common, or northern, mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a noted songbird and mimic, and its range extends from the northern USA to Mexico. It particularly favors suburban habitats, and sometimes sings at night. A film version (1962) was directed by Robert Mulligan, with an Oscar-winning performance by Gregory Peck as Finch.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Term of Art: Essentialism

“A movement that began in the late 1930s and was led by William C. Bagley, a leading teacher educator and educational psychologist at Teachers College, Columbia University. Essentialism emphasized high-quality curriculum for all students, teachers as knowledgeable authorities in the classroom, and strong teaching profession rooted in high-quality teacher education. Bagley and other Essentialists opposed progressive ideas, such as child-centered classrooms and the assertion that problem solving should replace academic subject matter.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.


“Kitsch: A strict dictionary definition describes kitsch as a ‘something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.’ By the 1960s, pop artists were ushering in changed attitudes as they appropriated these once-denigrated mass-produced objects for use in their works. Contemporary artists like Jeff Koons continue to walk a fine line between the good taste of bad taste and outright bad taste.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Language, Learning, and Social Integration

“Verbal communication is the basis for everything that occurs in classrooms, whether this is the delivery of new information or the regulation of behavior. Although language skills are biologically primary, their development in children of the same age can be highly uneven, Further, a significant proportion of children in any class may have developmental language disorders, which may or may not have been formally diagnosed. Such disorders typically impact a student’s success with written or spoken language.”

Ashman, Greg, and Pamela Snow. “Oral Language Competence: How it Relates to Classroom Behavior.” American Educator Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 2019): 37-41.


“(Greek ‘back-timing’) In literature anachronisms may be used deliberately to distance events and to underline a universal sense of verisimilitude and timelessness—to prevent something being ‘dated.’ Shakespeare adopted this device several times. Two classic examples are the references to the clock in Julius Caesar and to billiards in Antony and Cleopatra. Shaw also does it Androcles and the Lion when the Emperor is referred to as ‘The Defender of the Faith.’”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.