Evaluative style in student writing – making one’s voice heard in early school years
Jenny W. Folkeryd
Abstract: According to the “key competencies” formulated in the OECD program Definition and Competencies (DeSeCo), one of the competencies that our students need, is that of being able to act autonomously. This means that in order to become active participants in a society, individuals need to find and let their voices be heard, and in doing so, to reflect upon their own and other people’s values. Writing in school can be seen as one important arena where students have the opportunity to begin to try out their voices. The main purpose of the study presented in this paper is therefore to further develop ways to study, understand and talk about students’ texts in early school years. More specifically the use of evaluative language resources is focused in order to discuss ways that students can expand their repertoire of text-making and making their voices heard. At the same time a meta-language is developed for commenting on student writing in early school years.
The theoretical framework for the study is found within a social semiotic perspective (Halliday 1978), a perspective which provides a well-developed theoretical framework for detailed analyses of different dimensions of meaning-making in students’ texts. More specifically, student texts are discussed from the point of view of the semantic framework Appraisal. Linguistically the investigation thus explores evaluative language resources used in the texts to construct emotion (Affect), judge behaviour in ethical terms (Judgement) and value objects aesthetically (Appreciation) (Martin & White, 2005, Folkeryd 2006).
Data consists of 674 informational and narrative texts written by students in grade 1-3 in two different Swedish schools (students 6-10 years old) at six different occasions . Results show that evaluative resources are used in most of the texts, although to various degrees and of different types, thereby expressing different evaluative styles. These styles range from not using evaluative resources at all, to expressing voice implicitly, to explicitly expressing mostly affect, to using all different types of appraisal resources in a varied way. To summarize, the study provides a nuanced picture of how student voice is expressed in early writing, thus contributing to the discussion of how students develop the skill of acting autonomously and how these issues can be discussed using an evaluative meta-language.
DeSeCo (2005). The definition and selection of key competenxes; Executive summary. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/35070367.pdf
Folkeryd, J. W. (2006). Writing with an attitude : appraisal and student texts in the school subject of Swedish. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis
Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). Language as social semiotic. The social interpretation of language and meaning. London; Edward Arnold.
Martin, J., & White, P. (2005). The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English: Palgrave Macmillan.
The study was carried out within the project Function, content and form in interaction. Students’ text-making in early school years. Financed by the Swedish Research Council.
"Why should we work so much on this novel if we are not going to read it ever again?”: Cinema and collaborative interpretation to enhance students’ interpretative skills.
Abstract: This paper presents a model for literary education, that of Instructional Sequence (IS) (Margallo, 2012), developed in the Spanish context, which aims to approach an issue of controversy in Language Arts: whether reading a novel should be compulsory or not. For some authors, it is counterproductive into forming motivated readers (Argüelles, 2010; Pennac, 1992) while others set the problem not so much in the requirement of reading as in the measures that accompany the reading processes (Chambers, 2011; Myonghee, 2004; Ghosn, 2002). From the latter positions, IS intends to integrate collaborative contexts (van Lier, 2004, Mercer, 2008), formal oral presentations (Vilà, 2011), and the work on genres (Cassany, 2006).
We present an action-research intervention carried on with a group of secondary students (4th graders, 15-16 years old) in Barcelona during ten 50-minute sessions. It is inspired on IS model, exploring the link between literature and cinema and drawing on the concept of “literary theme” (Ambròs i Breu, 2011; Bordons and Díaz-Plaja, 2008). First, students seek for themes in the novel, presented as an expression of Human Mankind’s worries and obsessions along History; also, a process of contrasting the novel with a film not based on the novel fuels students’ effort to go beyond the plot and focus on themes. Finally, a metacognitive process leads to an exposition to an external audience through posts and a short video.
Teacher’s and students’ notes serve to describe and interpret the whole experience, in the form of a case study and through the lens of qualitative research (Tracy, 2013). Students’ oral and written comments and assignments are interpreted in terms of their capacity of uncover hidden symbols as well as possible symbolic links and contrasts between film and novel.
Results show that despite the novel being statutory the students have engaged in the project. Initial questions depicting reluctant attitudes (e.g., the one in the title of this abstract) or simplicity in the judgements give way to more warranted expositions regarding structure, symbolism, and contrast. Some students maintain that while they disliked the novel they enjoyed the IS based on contrasting and interpreting in collaboration.
This suggests that the IS model may serve to focus the debate on the process of joint interpretation with the goal of enhance students’ interpretative skills.
Keywords: literature, joint interpretation, dialogue, cinema, literary theme
Tracy, S. J. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods. Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell
Ambròs, A. and Breu, R. (2011). Cinescola. Barcelona. Graó.
Argüelles, J.D. (2010). Si quieres... lee: Contra la obligación de leer y otras utopías lectoras. Madrid. Fórcola.
Bordons, G. and Díaz-Plaja, A. (2008). Peces: un tema universal como pasarela entre diversas literaturas. Lenguaje y textos, 28, 43-74
Cassany, D. (2006). Tras las líneas: sobre la lectura contemporánea. Barcelona: Anagrama.
Chambers, A. (2011). Tell Me (Children, Reading an& Talk) with The Reading Environment. Woodchester: Thimble Press.
Ghosn, I.K. (2002). Four good reasons to use literature in primary school. ELT Journal, 56(2), 172-179.
Margallo, A.M. (2012). La formació de lectors literaris a través de les seqüències didàctiques en forma de projecte. Articles de Didàctica de la Llengua i de la Literatura, 57, p. 25-40.
Mercer, N. (2008). Talk and the Development of Reasoning and Understanding. Human Development, 51, 90–100 (DOI:10.1159/000113158)
Myonghee, K. (2004). Literature Discussions in Adult L2 Learning. Language and Education, 18(2), 145-166.
Pennac, D. (1992). Comme un roman. París. Éditions Gallimard.
Van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language learning : a sociocultural perspective. Boston: Dordrecht.
Vilà, M. (2011). La competència oral a l´educació obligatòria. Articles de Didàctica de la Llengua i de la Literatura, 55, 69-83.
Who sings during the lesson? 3 views on the "steering group"
Abstract: Chair person/organizer: Luísa Álvares Pereira
Current research highlights the "gaps" between teacher-planning, prescribed task orientation and what students make of them given that their participation is real. Some of these studies show how adapting tasks to weak students has created misunderstandings about their pre-existing knowledge. It seems that the process of targeted differentiation is related to how teachers perceive their students, as if they carry out the lesson with imaginary and predictable learners.
Wanlin (2009, 2011) takes into account the seminal work of Dahllöf and Lundgren (1970) in defining subgroups of learners who act as target students as the steering group, "a group of Pupils in the class that (...) is acting as a reference group for the teachers' pacing the instruction for the Whole class"(p. 4).
What role do students play during the carrying out of the lesson? Which student or group of students do teachers take into consideration when they plan a classroom activity? How do students evolve during classroom interaction? What is the difference between target students and effective students? These issues revolve around the teaching of reading and writing in the L1 French primary classroom in different francophone contexts in Belgium, France and Switzerland.
This symposium will bring together researchers who have worked on issues characterizing the steering group (Wanlin, 2011), or the « archi-élève » (Ronveaux, 2014). Apart from this, the role of the target student in class (Wanlin, 2011), and the relationship between the task difficulty level, and the level of students (Murillo, 2010), the gap between learning potential and expected performance [DPA] (Maurice & Murillo, 2008). Finally, the link between thought, lesson planning and effective teaching (Wanlin, 2009; Ronveaux, Schneuwly & Franck, 2013).
In our study, we compare data on the characteristics of the steering group who guide the teacher, their lesson planning and adjustments in the classroom; In addition, we confront different methods and approaches to try to better characterize the steering group and its impact on student learning in tasks that are suggested.
- Philippe Wanlin: Philippe.Wanlin@unige.ch
- Lara Laflotte: Lara.Laflotte@unige.ch
- Audrey Murillo: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gwenaël Leveuvre: email@example.com
- Christophe Ronveaux: Christophe.Ronveaux@unige.ch
- Orianna Franck: Orianna.Franck@unige.ch
Maurice, J.- J. & Murillo, A. (2008). La distance à la performance attendue : un indicateur des choix de l’enseignant en fonction du potentiel de chaque élève. Revue française de Pédagogie, 162, 67-79.
Murillo, A. (2010). Le choix du niveau de difficulté des tâches scolaires : des marges de manœuvre limitées pour les enseignants. Carrefours de l'éducation, 29, 77-92.
Ronveaux, Chr. (2014). L’archi-élève lecteur entre tâche, activité et performance de lecture. In J.-L. Dufays & B. Daunay (Éd.), Didactique du français langue première : quelle place pour le point de vue des élèves ? (pp. 119-138). Bruxelles : De Boeck.
Ronveaux, Chr. (à paraitre). Former à entrer « par effraction » dans l’album de jeunesse. Corpus, dispositifs du retard et archi-élève. In S. Florey, S. El Harmassi, N. Cordonier & Chr. Ronveaux (Éd.), Enseigner la littérature au début du 21e siècle. Enjeux, pratiques, formation. Bern : Peter Lang. Tapuscrit accepté.
Ronveaux, Chr., Schneuwly, B. & Franck, O. (2013). « Le principe dynamique de l’archi-élève lecteur
dans l’enseignement de textes littéraires ». Contribution présentée au Réseau Education et Formation (REF) du 9 au 11 septembre 2013 à l’Université de Genève. (Thème : Rôle de l’élève en classe de français)
Wanlin, P. (2009). La pensée des enseignants lors de la planification de leur enseignement, Revue française de pédagogie, 166. En ligne : http://rfp.revues.org/1294
Wanlin, P. (2011). Elèves forts ou faibles : qui donne le tempo ? Une analyse de la place des élèves dans les processus de pensée des enseignants (thèse de doctorat). Université de Liège, Belgique.
Bibliography abstract 1
Dahllöf, U. & Lundgren, U. O. (1970). Macro- and micro- approaches combined for curriculum process analysis : a swedish educational field project. Report from the institute of education, 10. Goteborg: University of Goteborg.
Bromme, R. (1987). Teachers’ assessment of student’s difficulties and progress in understanding in the classroom. In J. Calderhead (Ed.), Exploring teachers’ thinking. (p. 125-146). London: Cassell.
Bromme R. (1989). « The "collective student" as the cognitive reference point of teachers’ thinking about their students in the classroom ». In J. Lowyck & C. M. Clark (dir.), Teacher thinking and professional action: studia paedagogica n°9. Leuven: Leuven university Press, p. 209-222.
La Fontaine, J. (1991). Fables. Paris : Gallimard.
Lovay, J.-M. (1996). La négresse et le chef des avalanches. Genève : Zoé.
Bronckart, J.-P., Bain, D., Schneuwly, B., Davaud, C. & Pasquier, A. (1985). Le fonctionnement des discours. Un modèle psychologique et une méthode d’analyse. P. : Delachaux et Niestlé.
Ronveaux Chr., (à paraitre). Construction empirique d’un archi-élève lecteur. In J.-L. Dufays & B. Daunay (Ed.), Didatique du français langue première : quelle place pour le point de vue de l’élève. Bruxelles : De Boeck.
Bibliography abstract 2
Dahllöf, U. S., & Lundgren, U. P. (1970). Macro- and micro- approaches combined for curriculum process analysis: a Swedish educational field project (No. n° 10). Göteborg: University of Göteborg.
Hofer, M. (1981). Schülergruppierungen in Urteil und Verhalten des Lehrers. In M. Hofer (Éd.), Informationsverarbeitung und Entscheidungsverhalten von Lehrern (p. 192 221). München: Urban & Schwarzenberg.
Seidel, T., & Shavelson, R. J. (2007). Teaching Effectiveness Research in the Past Decade: The Role of Theory and Research Design in Disentangling Meta-Analysis Results. Review of Educational Research, 77, 454 499.
Wanlin, P., & Crahay, M. (2012). La pensée des enseignants pendant l’interaction en classe. Education et Didactique, 6(1), 1 39.
Bibliography abstract 3
Murillo, A. (2010). Le niveau de difficulté des tâches scolaires : des marges de manœuvre limitées pour les enseignants. Carrefours de L’éducation, 29, 79–93.
Maurice, J.-J., & Murillo, A. (2008). La Distance à la Performance Attendue : un indicateur des choix de l’enseignant en fonction du potentiel de chaque élève. Revue Française de Pédagogie, 162, 67–80.
Vergnaud, G. (2009). The theory of conceptual fields. Human Development 2009, 52, 83–94.
Lefeuvre, G., Murillo, A. (soumis). Evolution de l’activité d’enseignement au cours de l’année : analyse à partir de la théorie de la conceptualisation dans l’action.
Orianna Franck & Christophe Ronveaux
The aim of this contribution is to study planned and unplanned moments in the teaching sequence of a literary text in the L1 French classroom and thus identify the student or group of learners who guides the teacher in their planning. In their models, Dahlöf and Lundgren (1970) present the notion of "steering group" whereas Bromme (1987, 1989) coined the idea of "collective student". In our study, we observe how this model student is characterised and how s/he changes according to the text that is being taught.
This ongoing research project will develop into a doctoral dissertation topic. Data collection focusses on L1 French teaching sequences in the Swiss French primary classroom context. These sequences were created by using two different literary texts, a fable of J. de La Fontaine and a short story, « La Négresse et le Chef des Avalanches » of J.-M. Lovay. Basically, we compare how a classic text conforming to French literary heritage and scholastic tradition is taught as compared to a lesser-known contemporary text, hardly used as a teaching aid.
Our corpus consists of teacher interviews before and after the lessons, all recorded and transcribed, as well as 60 lessons filmed, transcribed and summarised under the synopsis form. We identify the effect of the literary tradition on the difference between the predicted and unpredicted moments in the lesson. More specifically, we deal with factors operating in the gaps between the lesson plans and what happens in the effective teaching sequence in the classroom. In addition, there is an indirect link to the image of the target student as projected by the teacher when s/he plans a lesson with respect to a real student.
Interview data would help us to reconstruct the image of a model student or the group of model students as hypothesized by the teacher when s/he plans the lesson. We will then compare this model student with real-life students in the classroom, observed during the lessons in L1 French. Based on the classroom observations, we can reconstruct the model student from what we see as prototypical behaviour of real-life students during the lesson.
Philippe Wanlin & Lara Laflotte
The steering group is a subsample of low performing pupils that the teacher uses as a reference point to steer the teaching rhythm (Dahllöf & Lundgren, 1970). Wanlin and Crahay (2012) identified research (1) showing that the steering group’s performance level could vary and (2) casting doubt about the steering group as a reference for teaching. This intervention tries to shed light on this by analyzing the structure of teacher judgment and of classroom interaction.
Participants were five experienced elementary school teachers (French speaking Belgium – pupils’ age between 6 and 8 years). Research methodology combines video recorded classroom observations of 2 lessons (first language) and stimulated recall interviews. Teachers had also to judge their pupils’ behavioral and cognitive qualities on 7 point lickert scales (cf. Hofer, 1981). Observations and interviews were content analyzed to catch the frequencies of verbal interactions (Seidel & Shavelson, 2007) and, of student comprehension difficulties [CD]. Confirmatory factor analysis showed excellent psychometric qualities for both scale and observation grid. Verbal classroom interaction contains three categories: simple interactions [SI], ameliorations [A], and cognitive stimulations [CS]. Judgment’s structure contains two dimensions: leaning capabilities [LC], and classroom behavior [CB].
A cluster analysis based on the factor scores of interaction and judgment, and of students’ comprehension difficulties show that the data contains three pupil profiles. Profile 1 is at the core of classroom interaction (high amount of SI, A and CS) but earn negative LC and CB, and is the most frequently cited for CD. Profile 3 receives the less interactive behavior (SI, A, CS), has the least LC, behave the most negatively and is identified as second in CD. Profile 2 has an intermediate place in classroom interaction and is considered as the most capable (best scores for LC) and is not frequently cited for CD; it also has a positive score for CB. Overall results indicate that profile 1 serves as a reference point for classroom teaching but this depends on the teacher and is not associated with pupils’ gender.
We discuss these results in terms of future research and implications for teacher training.
This paper concerns first-grade teachers’ activity in relation to student activity, during reading lessons. Our analysis relies on data collected in two previous researches (Murillo, 2010; Lefeuvre and Murillo, submitted). A total of 5 French teachers have been observed several times during a school year (4 teachers in 2007 and 1 teacher in 2011). All children have passed tests. Several interviews have also been conducted with the teacher observed in 2011. Our analysis deals with the difficulty level of tasks that teachers present to their students. Is this level of difficulty suited to all students in the class? If not, to which? In other words, which students are the “steering group”? To answer this question, we convene three levels of analysis:
- The teacher-student interaction level. We focus on 1) the type of questions asked to students 2) which students are questioned 3) the percentage of right answers.
- The course level. We focus on the Distance to Expected Performance (Maurice and Murillo, 2008) of each student (tests allows us to say which students are far from the requirements of teachers).
- The year level. We focus on the student progress during the year.
We will show that the characterization of the “steering group” (low, middle or high-achieving students) varies according to the moment of the lesson and the moment of the year.
The choices made by teachers can be explained by three levels of determinants:
- At the student level (progressing, participating…).
- At the class level (maintaining a workable classroom situation given the heterogeneous nature of the class…).
- At the school level (taking into account the reputation of the teacher).
We analyze teachers choices and activity by means of the Theory of Conceptual Fields (Vergnaud, 2009): teachers seem to have developed implicit practical knowledge and skills (schemes) which leads them to adjust the difficulty level of tasks and questions they ask their students, taking into account all of these determinants
Teachers’ self perception and attitude of native language use as a foundation for propagating literacy for Spanish speaking children
Sara S. Garcia
Abstract: This study builds on previous historical and theoretical analysis of language coexistence (MacGregor-Mendoza, 2000; Valdés, 2001;García, 2009, Macias 2014). Language interactions in context and cultural representation with historical educational policies in California affect the way bilinguals use their native language especially for formal learning. Often, the native language is relegated to second-class citizenry (Leopold, 1978;García & Gonzáles, 1986;Valdés, Gonzáles, López García, & Márquez, 2008).
The first two stages of this study include teachers’ self perception and cultural identity linked to Spanish language fluency and academic proficiency. The preliminary stage included six student teachers in a reading methods course that wrote an essay in Spanish based on their memory of learning to write in their native language before they learned to write in English (Duran, 1986;Lea, & Levy, 1999; Carriera, 2007b, 2013). Analysis of their writing samples illustrates perceptions of the native language skills and the struggle to maintain their fluency in advanced reading (literature) and writing (McQuilln, 1998; Ransdell, & Levy, 1999; Carreira, 2007a, 2013). Twenty elementary credentials candidates who self-identify as Spanish English bilinguals comprise the second stage. The emphasis at this stage is on the stress and coping mechanisms produced from normative cognitive, conative and affective feelings developed about what is desirable and preferable in a bilingual cultural identity. Teachers are asked to respond to 2 or 3 open-ended questions inviting them to write about their perception of native language literacy. The use of a Semantic Differential may yield aspect of grounded experiences with cultural aspects linked to the use of Spanish and teachers’ self perceptions and identity (Díaz-Guerrero, 1984, 1986; Wong, 1998, Wong, Wong & Scott, 2006). The open-ended questions will be examined through discourse and narrative analysis. A factor analysis will be used to glean results from the Semantic Differential. Through these measures cultural perceptions related to language use for teaching and professional development may be discerned. These are often covert in the struggle to maintain writing and reading in the native language which are often perceived as less useful for formal use in a society that values English as the dominant language and stifles the development of the first language (Carreira, & Kagan, 2011; Snow, 2011).
A third stage will validate and refine the reliability of a Semantic Differential and generate a Likert Scale with a larger sample of teachers. These analyses identify ways in which academic knowledge in Spanish influences perceptions of native language fluency and use in the professional experience (Parodi, 2008).
Keywords: culture, identity, native language.
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Carreira, M.(2013). The Advanced Speaker: An Overview of the Issues in Heritage Language Teaching. National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA.
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