I am teaching Content Area Reading Instruction, an online Master’s level course this semester (Spring 2017), and to get the conversation started, I have assigned my students the task of responding to a “Question of the Week”. I have always been one to put myself in my students’ shoes. I try not to require them to do any assignment that is not conducive to their learning and application, as well as I should be able to answer the same questions that I challenge my students to answer. I will share each week’s question here, and share my feedback, thoughts, and ideas after each week. Stay tuned, and visit often for updates. Subscribe to updates from my blog so that you do not miss out!
Week 2 Question (We did an introductory activity in Week 1): What do you think we need to be doing more of in order to teach literacy in a 21st century world?
As educators who are teaching millennials, we must find a way to connect with them (regardless if we are a millennial). The students are frequently being told that they are not good writers, readers, and communicators. This might be true to a certain extent, but in order to improve student literacy skills, we must find a way to translate the communication skills that they DO have into “traditional” literacy skills. If students are constantly told they have poor literacy and communication skills, they become disengaged.
We must start connecting the digital literacies, and technological tools and applications that they use to teach the traditional skills that we are striving for them to master. They must understand the difference between academic language, and language used for socializing. It is essential that we need to teach students to use technology for learning and academic purposes. The students have an excellent grasp on using technology for social communication and entertainment, but it does not translate into the classroom environment. More teacher educators need to understand, appreciate, and respect what students bring to the classroom. Educators should then use their students’ prior knowledge and understanding into lesson and curriculum planning.
Finally, the effort should also be made to enhance students’ curriculum with relevancy and innovation. The exposure to technology and creativity presented to students on a day to day basis outside of school often gets left at the door of classrooms, when it fact, it should be welcomed. Unfortunately, due to a culture of standardized testing our students are graduating from school systems, without being challenged to critically and creatively think. Literacy for the 21st-century requires a translation of traditional language.
Week 3 Question: In your opinion, what makes one an effective literacy teacher/educator?
(Response will be posted on Feb. 5th)