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Two faculty members in the Darden College of Education have collaborated to write "Teaching in the Middle School," which was published in June.

Katherine Bucher, associate professor of educational curriculum and instruction, and Lee Manning professor of educational curriculum and instruction, 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.

In late 1997, publisher Prentice-Hall contacted Manning about writing a middle school book. Bucher, a former school librarian with a research background, and Manning, known as "Mr. Middle School," says Bucher, were a perfect match.

Bucher enjoys doing the research and tracking things down. "If there's something you want, she knows where to find it," said Manning. "Kathy can bring the copy alive, so it's not dry and dull."

Manning enjoys writing the chapters. Their different strengths complement each other well, the pair agrees.
Prentice-Hall has been so impressed by their collaboration, that the publishing company has already commissioned the authors to write another book. That work will focus on classroom management and is expected to be published in 2002.

"Teaching in the Middle School" focuses on 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.

Adolescents' development and growth are explored, 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 adolescents, such as teachers, counselors, parents and community members.

The book is designed for professors in higher education who teach middle school education/teaching as well as people who teach in middle schools. 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.

The 340-page book 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 content on using the book to support college classes, materials from the instructor's 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 Dominion.

Writing books is not new to either author - Bucher has written two and Manning has written 13. 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 the 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: May 23, 2000

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