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Two faculty members from the Darden College of Education's educational curriculum and instruction department have collaborated to write "Teaching in the Middle School," which was published this month.

Katherine Bucher, associate professor, and Lee Manning, professor, had written a variety of journal articles together on subjects such as using children's literature in the elementary classroom and using fantasy literature in high school English classes. Since they worked so well together, they decided to collaborate on the book.

It was late 1997 when publisher Prentice-Hall contacted Manning about writing another middle school book. Bucher, a former school librarian with a research background, and Manning, known by colleagues as "Mr. Middle School," were a perfect match, according to Bucher.

Manning agrees, noting that Bucher enjoyed doing the research and tracking things down. "If there's something you want, she knows where to find it," he said.

Manning, on the other hand, liked writing the chapters. Their different strengths complemented each other well, the pair agreed.

Prentice-Hall has been so impressed by their collaboration that the publishing company has already commissioned the two authors to write another book that will focus on classroom management. It is expected to be published in 2002.

"Teaching in the Middle School" examines a variety of issues related to middle school children, ages 10-14. One chapter focuses on the differences between a middle school, which is child-centered, and a junior high, which is subject-centered.

The book also explores adolescents' development and growth, as well as the curriculum and organization of the middle school, providing a more in-depth view on effective instruction, teaching methods and assessment. Strategies to manage
young adolescents and their environments are investigated, and the text targets those who aid in the development of these students, including teachers, counselors, parents and community members.

The 340-page book is designed for professors in higher education who teach middle school education/teaching as well as middle school teachers. The authors hope the text will provide an excellent source for in-service and professional development initiatives for both junior high and middle school educators.

"Teaching in the Middle School" will soon have a Web Site to accompany the text -- www.prenhall.com/manning -- a new addition to textbooks published by Prentice-Hall. The site, which will be available in July, will include information on using the book to support college classes, materials from the instructors' guide and links to information available on the Internet to support the topics in the book.

Besides the inclusion of technology, the book also focuses on issues related to diversity, culture and multiculturalism. It showcases photographs taken by Rick Overbaugh, assistant professor of educational curriculum and instruction at Old

Writing books is hardly new to either author -- Manning has written 13 and Bucher, two. Manning joined the university in 1992, while Bucher has been on the faculty for the past 25 years.

For Bucher, who is also the graduate program director for educational curriculum and instruction, the hardest part of writing the book was finding the time to do it and meeting deadlines. But the one thing both authors enjoyed the most was working with each other.

"Working with Lee has made it easy," Bucher said. "We have immediate feedback, and if we have a problem we can work it out."

"I have worked with authors at other universities on past books, and it has been so much easier to write a chapter and simply walk across the hall to give to her for review," added Manning.

This article was posted on: June 13, 2000

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