Use this page to post stuff of interest to folks interested in language and literacy or  learning & teaching language and literacy.


4 Responses to LLEd

  1. Ashley says:

    So, this is not restricted to LLED, but I couldn’t figure out how to post this to everyone. I’m lying awake at 4:40 in the morning because my allergies won’t let me sleep, and I’m thinking about our class today. I find myself having more questions for you all (surprise! lol). So here are my questions that I think we should seriously consider.

    Are you the kind of student you want your students to be?

    If the answer is yes–why? What do you do as a student that you want your students to imitate? Why do you want them to engage in those kinds of activities? How can you get your students to follow in your footsteps?

    If the answer is no–why? What do you do that that would make you cringe if you saw it reflected in your own students? What would it take for you to be the kind of student you want your students to be? How can you make that happen in your classroom?

    This might be an interesting thing to think about in your journal, because I think it will help you synthesize your teaching. My answer would go something like this:

    I think I am definitely the kind of student I want my students to be. I am constantly grooming my course material, looking for things that I think are interesting, and ways that I can get the most out of a class. Sometimes, that even means conferencing with the teacher to work on an alternate assignment that I find more interesting, but just as relevant.

    Some people may think that makes me a suck-up, and that is really troubling to me. I know that their school has cultured them into thinking that way, and it makes my heart break because they are missing out on an enormous world of possibilities.

    I don’t work harder to suck up. I don’t really care what the teacher thinks of me. In fact, I’ve been in several classes where I have actually been penalized for “not following instructions” when I followed my own questions. As annoying as that is, I still would not have done the assignment differently. I know that what I uncovered filled the assignment to overflowing. I know that I went above and beyond what was asked of me. Plus, isn’t my education about me, anyway?

    I want my students to take this kind of initiative over their own learning. I really do believe that when you let students pursue their own questions, and reward them for going the distance, they will rise to the occasion. I think students try to slide by with as little work as possible because they are honestly bored and find the material irrelevant. I’ve definitely been in classes where my intellectual curiosity was squelched to the point where I gave up trying. I completely disengaged and did the minimum work required. The class was no longer worth my valuable time.

    So that being said, my teaching pedagogy can be summed up in one word: relevance. Not my relevance, but my students’ relevance. If I start every lesson with the question, “What is relevant to you in this material?” than I think I’m off to a good start. If the answer is unanimously, “nothing” and they can back up their answers with strong, persuasive arguments–good! Even then I have accomplished something. They have developed enough self-awareness to evaluate their own goals in life, decided what they need to do to get there, and presented a persuasive argument! THAT EVEN FALLS UNDER THE ENGLISH/LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS! I can check off the standard that says, “write a persuasive essay” and “engage in critical thinking and analysis.” Then I can tear up my plans for that day, take the kids out for coffee, and conduct a very Socratic conversation in which we discuss what IS relevant. And I’d count that day a success.

    • Marisa says:

      Hey Ashley!
      I think you pose great questions for all of us as teachers to think about. There are definitely things that I like about myself as a student that I hope my students have or I help them gain. I enjoyed reading your post especially how you ended it. Relevance is so important because throughout some classes I always wonder, How is that related to what I am going to be doing? Sometimes there isn’t an answer to that because I see no relevance. I feel that students are more engaged in things that they can relate to and understand. If students are really engaged on one subject or activity then incorporate into a number of lessons so they can keep developing their knowledge and you can still teach them new lessons. With this mindset you will go far in teaching.

  2. Jared Blumer says:

    Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice
    – A great resource for all disciplines. Provides great lessons for elementary and secondary education as well as interviews and essays on pedagogy.

  3. Awesome resources for English teachers who intend to empower young writers!

    Write Away! A Friendly Guide for Teenage Writers, by Peter Stillman


    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg


    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott


    The New Well-Tempered Sentence: a Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon


    Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O’Connor


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