Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
We Move too Quickly from Decoding to Critical Thinking
The assumption is made that because our readers can ‘read’ we can move from ‘Learning to Read’ to ‘Reading to Learn’. This is particularly evident in our inquiry based curriculum which focuses on self-directed learning. Unfortunately, our students don’t have the tools to process text. The result for the kids (and the teachers) – frustration, disengagement, and a ‘cut and paste’ mentality.
The development of reading skills goes beyond the mechanics of decoding – getting the words right. Students need to be explicitly taught comprehension strategies so that they can construct meaning, which then frees them for the critical thinking required by truly self-directed inquiry learning.
How to make a start teaching your students to construct meaning:
Take a sentence or a paragraph from a story and model the thinking aloud that you do when you construct meaning ‘as you read’.
- Do this one sentence at a time.
- Use “I think that means...” as a sentence starter.
- Encourage your students to have a go. (“I think that means...” is very safe because you can’t be wrong).
So it could go like this ... “All his life Ben had hated vegetables. I think that means that the boy or the man in the story had never been able to eat vegetables. They made him sick“; or “I think that means that every time this person Ben saw a vegetable he wanted to destroy it.”
Suddenly you have an interesting new window into how your students process sentences....
Monday, November 21, 2011
Around the world millions of children are not getting a proper education because their families are too poor to afford to send them to school. In India, one schoolboy is trying to change that. Babar Ali is a school boy whose remarkable education project is transforming the lives of hundreds of poor children.
At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village.
The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the worst poverty.