Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Never quiet on the literacy front - 3.04 #sol20 Story Challenge

I came across this nugget in a review of U.S. research by Anne Podolsky, Tara Kini, and Linda Darling-Hammond, published in 2019: Teachers' efficacy grows most noticeably in their first few years on the job, yet it's possible for teachers to continue improving into their careers' second and third decades.

In a word: whew.

And yet in multiple words, this growth feels double-edged. For example, one area where I've added expertise in recent years revolves around phonemic awareness and decoding. (There are 'reading wars' continuing to be waged, you may have heard.) So now I know enough to get myself into modicums of trouble. Today, that meant puzzling with a bilingual student over the subtle differences that vowel sounds throw at would-be speakers of English or Spanish or both.

I'm taking the recognition and production of those sounds less for granted than I did about 12 hours ago. Humility can qualify as improvement, right?


  1. Yes indeed it can! I have been learning about phonics and all the other stuff for 11 years now and I continue to discover new stuff to use in the classroom with ESL students. In my opinion we never stop learning!

  2. Never tell you that the English "E" is the Spanish "I"? My brain still has to pause when I hear people spelling.

    1. That confusion totally came up today, multiple times.

  3. two things: I am glad to know I'm still capable of growing and learning. Agreed whew! While I have lots of 'knowledge' about phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding, it always seems like I need to know more.

  4. It's all about the learning! I've become really interested in Dyslexia and the connections between spelling and reading. I went to a great workshop with Mark Weakland that really gave some practical tips. It is an area I want to know more about!

  5. Usually I'm glad that I'm still learning, even as I head into my third decade of teaching - but my truth is much like yours: "now I know enough to get myself into modicums of trouble." Or maybe more than modicums...

  6. I say, definitely--yes.
    It seems like as soon as I think I might really "get" something, a child is in front of me defying all my understanding and pushing me to figure out what learn next.