Who is Doc Steele?
And how does his curriculum improve knowledge?
Dr. Richard Steele
University of Texas (UTPA)
Wright State University
University of Texas (UTPA)
With a Master’s Degree (4.0 GPA) from Wright State University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas Pan American, Dr. Steele has taught in numerous settings, including public schools, private schools, juvenile detention centers and universities, since 1977. He is also a military veteran with 10 years of active duty.
On a more personal note, he is a devoted Christian with 27 home-schooled grandchildren. Though the curriculum is written by someone with very conservative views, these personal views and beliefs have not been thrust upon you or your children within this curriculum, as this is not within Doc Steele’s purview.
Dr. Steele has awarded nearly 6,000 college credit hours in English courses. During his first year as a dual enrollment English instructor, he noticed that his students were struggling to master the extremely difficult materials. This led him to create complete texts of stories and novels they would be using in class, enhancing their understanding by providing extensively annotated texts with things like (1) embedded definitions of challenging vocabulary, (2) explanations of historical references, (3) discussion of British customs, (4) explication of foreign locales/landmarks mentioned in the text, and (5) introductions of important historical persons mentioned in the texts. He has now annotated several dozen classic and major novels, including: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and My Antonia by Willa Cather.
As a teacher, he quickly noticed that many students were trying to take shortcuts rather than legitimately absorbing the difficult material by multiple re-readings and hours of study. To prevent this, he developed assessment materials that make it impossible for them to take shortcuts. The challenging assessment materials he developed insured thorough study of the materials and complete, detailed understanding as demonstrated by short essay response questions. The students quickly learned that “watching the movie” and relying on Shmoop notes, etc. were sure to result in a very low failing grade. He has also developed a foolproof method of insuring the students truly absorb all challenging new vocabulary and assimilate that vocabulary into their usable word-bank.
The Doc Steele Process
Our curriculum offers a full range of English & Language Arts activities and assignments, including a strong emphasis on reading, vocabulary acquisition, and writing assignments. It includes reader-responses, narratives, various types of essays, quiz assessments and researched-writing assignments.
In addition to the Prentice Hall stories and lessons, each grade-level also features an original Young Adult novel, written by Doc Steele over the years to inspire interest in reading in his students from varying backgrounds. Testing materials to insure completion and comprehension are included with each novel. Each grade level also features a classic full-text novel with annotations, including very extensive testing/retesting materials to foster understanding and vocabulary acquisition. Students will encounter and test on the same words over and over in these language-rich classics, thus greatly improving their vocabulary.
Parents need to know that the verbal half of the SAT test is nothing more than a huge, extremely challenging vocabulary test. Your child’s strongly ingrained mastery of that extensive vocabulary will save you many thousands of dollars in college tuition. Bear in mind that 95% of what drives scholarships is the SAT score.
Teachers, colleagues, and students alike praise the tried and true philosophy of Doc Steele
“Dr. Steele was my Seventh Grade Reading teacher, a mentor and a true inspiration to me. His patience and knowledge are only surpassed by his kindness, strength of character, and love for God. He loves to read, write, and learn, and always strives to make the quest for knowledge an exciting adventure for his students.”
English Teacher, McAllen, TX
“Dr. Steele taught me so much more than English. He taught me dignity, discipline and, most importantly, that I could achieve more than I thought capable. And for that, I thank him.”