Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reflections on Strategies for Reading and Writing

Sitting on the bank of a river, my first impression of the water is how it moves along in what appears to be a uniform and unchanging pace. Whether one was found on the surface of the stream or riding the bottom, whether one was in the heart of the river or riding the shoreline, there was but one speed for which we were aware of. But knowing how it really is, the waters swirl with varying currents, anything but constant and perpetual. I would imagine that there was a time when it was assumed that everyone read and write at the same pace, placing demand on the learner to keep pace that was set by their teacher. Sink or swim. One pace. One expectation. One size fits all. Regardless of what we “see” at the surface, the river is a churning current of liquid, always changing, always altering its true shape and mass. It is multidimensional in the truest form, and can never be mastered for its simplicity.
The world of education is an amazing place, one filled with new experiences in ways that exceed my imagination. The past two weeks have deepened my passion for learning new ways to help those who struggle with reading and writing, knowing that once they learn to use some of these new techniques, they will strengthen their capacity to learn. These practices add a new perspective to classroom learning, helping both strugglers and achievers to improve upon their skills.
Much like the river for which I hold great respect, my classroom is never one dimensional in nature. Using the variety of instructional strategies provided to me, I play an important role in a student’s development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. The works of Tovani, Buehl and others have a proven track record of success, and these will be instrumental in how I work with young people in education. These strategies are there for the taking, but if they aren’t used, they cannot be further developed or enhanced to their total capability. It requires responsibility and accountability on my end, to open up that tool box and look for more than just a hammer and screwdriver. I have a wealth of specialized tools at my disposal and each of these was created with a purpose. It is more than understanding the content of what I am teaching, but also appreciating the tools which can chisel a unique flavor of charismatic character.
Monitoring my progress requires ongoing reflection of personal and professional practices, always looking for ways to improve upon individual skill sets. Written reflection represents that “day with the ducks” and assures that I stay the course of my true potential. It is thinking aloud about my wonderings, evaluating myself, and then identifying ways to grow as a professional. This is the road on which my journey now continues, one with curves to maneuver around and potholes to avoid, but best of all, my toolbox grows in dimensional depth and fortitude.

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