Friday, April 13, 2007
Just for kicks, I looked up the definitions of "literacy" and "literate." Amongst the definitions was one that said: "having knowledge or skill in a specified field." I think this is the definition we are all getting at when we talk about students having various literacies. And I think it's an excellent point. I don't know how often I've read a student’s paper only to be educated about something I was completely unfamiliar with. For example, don't hang me for saying this... I was sheltered as a child, one of my students wrote his research paper about The Doors. It was really fascinating, all the mystery surrounding Jim Morrison's life. I remember it vividly because the student was so rapped up in this group, that his paper turned out really well. Not only was it good for him because my excitement boosted his esteem and made him the expert, but it was also really good for me because I learned something new that I might never have had contact with otherwise. It's exciting when you think of writing as a collaboration of knowledge among a group of "writers." I think it's important to see our students as people who are intelligent in specific areas. I would consider myself intelligent, but ask me to multiply a simple problem like 9 X 6 and you'll see me look really stupid! Yes, REALLY stupid! We all have something to bring to the table and we must look for those things in our students. I think making connections with what students are knowledgeable about, especially in the beginning will give them the confidence and assurance they need to tackle new "mountains." (I really like Chaz's analogy.) Instead of thinking about all we can teach our students, let’s start thinking about what they can teach us. Then maybe more collaborative, relaxed effort will take place and so much more will be accomplished! I feel like smoking a peace pipe now.