WHOLE LANGUAGE LEARNING: SUMMARY AND CRITIQUE OF FOUR ARTICLES
In this article, Walmsley and Adams (1993) conducted a series of interviews with 71 elementary and middle school teachers with a whole language orientation. Most of the teachers were working in schools in upstate New York, but they did represent diverse age groups with differing years of experience. The purpose of the interviews was to discover teachers' concerns about the difficulties involved in using the whole language approach. These concerns involved the facts that whole language instruction was demanding of their time and efforts, that it often alienated them from colleagues using different approaches, that the approach was incompatible with traditional assessment methods, and that their administrators were, at best, luke-warm in their support.
Walmsley and Adams' (1993) discussion of teachers views and concerns was peppered with actual quotations. I most liked this element of the article because it provided a very realistic feeling to the discussion and operated to strengthen the points being made.
At least some of the concerns expressed by teachers have been discussed by other educators. For example, the need for support from administrators and colleagues was addressed by Routman (1991) as well as Walmsley and Walp (1990). Further, the extent to which the approach places demands on teachers' time and effort was discussed by Sarason (1991) who noted that because of this and other factors, it will most likely take a long period of time before the approach is fully accepted.
Extending what has been written in this article is a concern addressed by Fields (1988) who reported that often whole language teachers must also make efforts to help parents feel comfortable with the reform. Similarly, Monson and Pahl (1991) have noted that the efficacy of the approach often involves the teacher not merely learning the methods associated with whole language ...