4. What is your reaction to the descriptions on pages 6-11 of “Solutions That Don’t Solve the Problem”? Do some of these reflect or contradict your own experience?
In the section on pages 9 and 10, the authors described ways where teachers taught content without requiring the students to read. I think of how many times I have done or seen this happen possibly out of frustration when the students won’t read the material. When the authors state that “perpetuating students’ dependence on teachers denies them opportunities and success…” this is reflected in the students that I teach in my ABE class. The students arrive in my class and depend on me to provide information and yet, they do not hang on to it throughout the course. It becomes a difficult challenge to have them find information within a reading or support their ideas with quotes. It will be great to get them to the point of independence in their reading so that they can become successful not only for the GED content, but for life itself.
6. What questions and reactions do you have regarding the definition of reading that begins this chapter?
I believe that this is the definition that is common but in the Preface, Lakeisha summed it up well by saying, “When you read, there should be a little voice in your head like a storyteller is saying it. And if there’s not, then you’re just looking at the words.” There is so much more to reading than being able to figure out the words and of course, that does not mean you will automatically comprehend the word.
Tswoger, I, too, am guilty of having summarized content in PowerPoint lectures to make sure that students understood the material they were reading in the textbook. I realize now that even though these students were graduate students, they could have benefited from the reading apprenticeship approach.
Tswoger, Kathleen and others,
Ditto. I am guilty too! I was very good at summarizing the content for my students. That is why I am so excited about learning more about the Reading Apprenticeship approach.
I have spent so much time preparing PowerPoint lectures as well. I re-packaged the material in shorter bits and had something to reference on the screen instead of in the textbooks. I generally sent them to the textbooks as a follow-up, but students seemed to get lost, or overwhelmed with too much in front of them. At least that's what I thought. I'm also looking forward to other ways to get students more independent and ready for the transition into the "credit" side of our community college. I have been working mainly with the ELL, level C and D students.
Barbara, I enjoyed your comments. One thing that has helped me to make students more independent is to have them take turns presenting a journal article or a chapter in a textbook to the rest of the class. Their in-depth reading increases immensely when they are the ones creating the PowerPoint presentations. While that is not the main approach of the Reading Apprenticeship program, it might be a strong motivator for students to participate. I do remember two students coming to me in desperation because they could not understand the journal article they were supposed to present to the class. I asked them to point out specific passages that were confusing, and we discussed them in depth. With proper training in Reading Apprenticeship, I could have probably capitalized on that moment as a genuine reading instruction occasion. A similar process might work with intermediate to advanced English language learners by having two students present and lead the discussion of a short reading.
I loved how page 13 talked about seeing students "as powerful resources that can be tapped in a learning environment that is safe, respectful, and collaborative. The examples of second language learners, skills in using search engines, persistence with video games, and being intuitive about other's mood s and behaviors really allows us to think about our students as what they contribute as opposed to what they don't.
Personally, I'm struggling a little with the four categories - social dimension, cognitive dimension, personal dimension and knowledge - building dimension. When I read further about ideas for how to implement in these dimensions in the classroom, some aspects of the categories kept running together for me. The categories kept converging and didn't stay in their own boxes. So I was thrilled to read at the end of chapter 2 that " the fact that the dimensions overlap in our approach is an important part of the picture we want to illustrate. Areas of classroom life overlap, activitiesserve multiple purposes, etc."
I'm really enjoying the book and the discussions. The basketball example was perfect!
Sylvia, Thanks for sharing your own reading comprehension challenges. I had the same experience!
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I found "Students as Untapped Resources" very interesting, and it definitely supported the information on page 32 around developing reader confidence. "The skills, strategies, and knowledge students bring to making sense of such daily reading as notes from friends or parents, websites, movie and music reviews, song lyrics, and electronic manuals are valuable resources teachers need to invite into the classroom." I really liked how the book goes on to emphasize that students just need to be convinced that they already have experience in working with many types of text. This then gives them the confidence to delve into alternative types of texts that they may never have considered.
I believe that confidence in one's abilities makes all of the difference! I guess that goes back to Dweck's information that was mentioned previously around fixed vs. growth mindsets.
Teresa, You have zeroed in on the thing that has most struck me about the Reading Apprenticeship process. I have been trying to change my practice so that I do not explain things to the students I am working with. Instead, I want the students to work together with a partner or a small group to help each other figure things out when they run into problems understanding. Of course, I am still available, but it is not the same as my explaining everything to make sure they understand. I've been changing my practice and it has been a fascinating adventure the last few weeks of my class during the last semester, and I can't wait to start up again later this month.
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There is a math teacher article "Never say anything a kid can say," by Steven C. Reinhart. In it he says... "My definition of a good teacher has since changed from "one who explains things so well that students understand" to "one who gets students to explain things so well that they can be understood.""
Yes we teach adults, not kids, but this is a mantra that I continue to carry with me and use to evaluate my own practice. I think that it is reflective of the RA process. Yes teachers can guide and provide their own input/experience/knowledge, but I think the most powerful learning comes when students share together their own reading strategies/understandings/methods/etc. and are supportive of each other as readers/learners. They need to be invited to have that opportunity to take ownership of their own learning and successfully access the content knowledge in the material themselves. What can be more powerful than that? So much more than us "saying" it to them.
I have found this exceedingly difficult but a great experience as well.
Thanks for this, Jennette! I love the quote you shared. This has become my main goal.
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I have to agree with you and Susan regarding the quote by Reinhart. I believe it is right on the target and exactly the goal of the standards today. Thank you so much for sharing it with the community.
What a great quote! When I think about my own learning and interpreting of complex text or tasks, I am not successful in my mind until I understand it well enough to explain it to someone else. As a teacher, this is a constant struggle and an area where we want to help too soon instead of guiding and listening to our students. This quote has helped me in beginning to understand the RA process and how it would look in a classroom.
This is very timely for me. Last night I had two instances in math class where students asked a question about a problem, so I had them reread the problem carefully and tell me what it asked and what they were planning to do, and when they got stuck, they kept thinking and--just in the split second before I was going to step in--suddenly they had it! And it's so much better to be the student who figured it out yourself than the one who did it after the teacher told you what to do! It really makes me think that I need to work on my wait time though--if I gave students more time to think, would more of them get that lightbulb moment with less of my assistance? And I need to be more careful to have them actually explain their answers rather than just say them...
Rachel, Thanks for this. What a fabulous anecdote from your class! I think it was not only your wait time, which was very important, of course, but it was also the questions you asked which refocused the student on the problem. Your question got the student to return to the text and read the problem again, this time more carefully. Rereading of text is what we want students to do when they are stuck. Asking probing questions about what the student understands and doesn't understand is also going to be helpful. What a great light bulb moment for all of us as teachers!
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