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Moravian College Professor Receives James Moffett Award for Classroom Research

Bethlehem, Pa., September 12, 2006— Joseph Shosh, assistant professor of education, and director of the Moravian College M.Ed. Program in Curriculum and Instruction, and Jennifer Wescoe, Freedom High School Teacher of English, were named recipients of the 2006 James Moffett Award for Classroom Research by the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Writing Project.

The collaborative research project, “In the Shadow of the Blast Furnace: Constructing the Digital History of Early 21st Century Bethlehem,” partners tenth grade students at Freedom High School with Moravian College English majors to produce digital living history documentaries. Moffet Award committee chair Michael Moore commented that “As a Committee, we appreciate the community interaction aspect of Dr. Shosh and Ms. Wescoe’s work and we appreciate that students' voices are important in both the classroom and community. We especially like the digital living history documentaries and the connection to the work of James Moffett.”

The NCTE and NWP initiated the Moffet Award in 2000 to honor the career of Harvard University English education professor James Moffet, the author of such seminal works as Teaching the Universe of Discourse and The Universal Schoolhouse.

To explain the project and its connection to Moffet, Shosh noted “Rather than delivering the sanctioned English curriculum with its discrete bits of vocabulary, grammar, and five paragraph essays—what James Moffett would undoubtedly call the ‘particle’ approach—we envision our English classroom as a writing workshop and studio where we mentor one another in the production of digital documentaries to tell our own life stories to an outside audience. Of course, we do a lot of authentic writing along the way—story boards, memos, critiques.” Wescoe adds, “Our students, many of whom live quite literally in the shadow of the blast furnace, must master new technologies to compete in the international marketplace. Fortunately, many are bilingual and most are digital natives—great advantages.”

As recipients of the 2006 Moffet Award, Shosh and Wescoe will address the National Conference of English Education at the 96th annual National Council of Teachers of English convention in Nashville, Tennessee on November 17, 2006.

Shosh graduated summa cum laude from Moravian College, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University. His professional interests (are curriculum negotiation, transactional approaches to teaching and learning, and teacher action research. Shosh's research on teaching Shakespeare recently appeared in English Journal. Prior to joining Moravian's education faculty full-time, Shosh taught both middle school and high school English, supervised English student teachers in New York City, and served as an ethnographer on a research team for the New York Network for School Renewal.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu