Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teaching and Learning is So Complex I needed to hit Pause.

Teaching and Learning is So Complex I needed to hit Pause.

More Related Discussions
31 1684 Views
Now Playing>> Pause. "I just find it sad that about 40% of kids in third grade can't read at grade level. So-- it must be hard for you guys (generic usage)trying to teach writing (or anything else) when a child has problems using reading as an input mechanism. My research suggests that these kids need to be addressed in kindergarten if remediation is to be successful. I know that this sounds like kind of a downer; but, coffee is where it needs to be discussed." This is a quote from Warren's post on my One Hot Chocolate discussion. I thought this complex issue warranted its own discussion. What do you think teachers? Why, why, why?

Comments (31)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

Now Playing>>
Band: Dave Matthews Band
Record: Crash
Track: Too Much

I am curious, Warren. Where are you getting your info? It's easy to give a kid a test, watch him fail, and say he can't read. But reading is much more complex than that. I am not a reading specialist, but I do have some years behind me in teaching it. Plus, I am a reader. In searching for some answers, I would beware of the standardized test to measure reading. And, of course, beware of the multimillion-dollar reading programs that say, "We can fix your kid." Look towards infantry: The people who are dealing with students (readers) everyday.

Jamie is correct in saying that reading takes place everywhere, so I guess it would be silly to minimize, devalue the act of reading, with a single test. Background knowledge is key to reading. Here's a scenario taken from a great book on reading by Kelly Gallagher, Readicide---I suggest every teacher in the United States should read. What happens when the little dudes in k,1, 2 can't read? In the hope of "fixing" them, we take away other areas of schooling, like science, social studies, writing, and give them more intensive reading instruction. What happens? We are taking away the very subjects that will give them the background knowledge and vocabulary to read. Yes, kids need intervention. But how? Longer school days? Longer school years? Not sure. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY?

Just think: How many times have you complained about not being able to finish a book? Was it because you didn't have enough background knowledge in the subject?

Just a thought.

Gaetan

K Brown's picture

If you are a teacher and haven't read Readicide, go online, find it, get a cup of coffee and read it. Then buy it for your Principal and have them read it.
Look at our world, we are not a culture of literacy. It is our mission of teachers to create a culture of literacy. Share the love of reading and the world it can create with others.
What we value, we spend time and resources on. How can we change our students without first changing ourselves. If we value reading, we read. With, to and for our students.
Please study reading, how it's learned, how it should be taught, but begin with the beginning. What we value.
Just a thought.

susan cimino's picture

I'm a kindergarten teacher. I agree about early intervention. It is so complicated but the additional support is not always there. Also there is the piece about early academics...always the push to take away play. I am exploring program, "tools of the Mind". It values play and developmentally appropriate work for 5 & 6's.

Bruce Deitrick Price's picture
Bruce Deitrick Price
Founder, Improve-Education.org

RE: 40% of third-graders can't read at grade level. That 35-40% figure has held steady ever since Look-say (a/k/a sight-words) was introduced circa 1933. A third of kids find this method impossible almost from day one....But all the phonics experts claim all their kids will learn to read in first grade....So why do teachers continue to use a method that doesn't work? Or why do top educators continue to promote a method that stats indicate isn't very successful? (March is the 55th anniversary of "Why Johnny Can't Read," so I've been writing about it a lot.)

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

Thanks for the post Bruce. Well, I think it has to do with money and how we assess reading. I mean, if so many kids can't read, then what happens after third grade? Do they all drop out? what happens? Do they ever learn to read? Sure they do. Why? Maybe somebody gives them something they actually enjoy reading. Thanks, Bruce.

Sue Bartow's picture
Sue Bartow
Head of McGuffey Foundation School

I'm not at all well-versed in teaching reading but wonder if it can't happen later for some kids? A long time ago I read a book called "School Can Wait." If I remember correctly, the author argued that people would catch up in a matter of months if they started school around the age of 10 rather than earlier. Are there immutable periods of consolidation for learning to read? Powerful windows that cannot be missed? I'm always suspicious of other motives for something like this. While some kids read early and well, can't some kids read later and well?

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

Sue, very interesting. I, myself, hated to read all the way through college. Now, I'm just about finished a master's degree in....English. Can you believe it? My 6th grade english teacher just came to see me do a workshop on how to teach writing. and I hated writing and reading in 6th, 7th, 8th...keep going... However, that doesn't mean I couldn't read. sure, I could read the words, but could I analyze and synthesize and write critically? Not really. I learned to do that later in life and I do have to say that I caught up pretty quickly. So, there might be some validity in the School Can Wait Argument. I think the largest factor in catching up was interest. I was interested, so I worked hard and learned.

Any other learning read personal stories out there?

wendy whitehead's picture

I am an advocate of early intervention. I have taught EIP classes for 1st, 2nd and 5th graders. Experiencing 5th graders who aren't able to read was frustrating and heartbreaking. I asked myself, how could they get so far without reading? No intervention, or perhaps the intervention was ignored or disapproved by the parents. This I've experienced. Parents know and are informed that their child needs extended services or remediation, but ignore the recommendations. Students are placed instead of promoted; slipped through the cracks. There must be enforced remediation even as early as kindergarten. There are children who don't see books until kindergarten. Where is the parental guidance and concern for the child's education? Learning should take place before school, but it doesn't always happen.

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

Big, big, big, big problem in educating kids. Both my wife and I are teachers so my little guy doesn't have a chance. He's been exposed to books since birth. Will it make a difference when he learns to read. of course. However, with the mentality of , "it's the teacher's responsibility to teach my child," I fear for the future. Kids need to know so much more at an early age it's impossible for a teacher to teach them everything they need. We can't expect parents to take the reigns like a teacher would, though. We need to educate parents. Parents need to be in the classroom. They need to "do" what the kids are doing in order to understand it.

Thanks for the post.
Gaetan

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.