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The holiday divinity and fudge are just about gone, and the heart-warming Christmas movies seem to have been replaced by weight-loss commercials. I’ve made more than my share of New Year’s resolutions, and rarely have I stuck to the calorie-counting, mile-running regimens that I have planned.
This year, rather than set some lofty goals that I will most likely fail to achieve, I plan to stop trying to find who or what is to blame for the problems with education today. Instead I want to purposefully do everything I can to effect positive changes for my students, get to know them better as individuals, and connect their learning to content that they find valuable and relevant to their own lives.
Rather than focusing on text reading this month, let’s turn our attention to one of the critical components of language necessary for comprehension: vocabulary.
In the digital age, we have the world at our fingertips. However, nothing truly compares to experiencing something firsthand. If experience is the best teacher, then there is a strong rationale for field trips.
Year after year, I struggled with students who claimed to hate reading. They didn’t like to read. They told me so, over and over again. I have a stock response: “You know, every time you say that an English teacher cries.”
At the end of October, I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties. IDA meetings, over the past three decades, are where I’ve obtained my real education.
It takes time for research to be translated into practice, particularly when it comes to textbooks. For example, it was nearly 20 years ago when U.S. math educators examined the textbooks and instructional practices of highly successful countries around the world, only to determine what we already knew.
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