Friday, September 6, 2013

Belonging to Reading is Essential to Learning

So I read this quote recently and wanted to share it with all of you:
Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. --John Locke
As a teacher, I often try to figure out why my students aren't understanding material.  Not always, but usually I can find something that they haven't done to "tangle" with the material.  Maybe they didn't take notes on a lecture, or try at all on an assignment, or didn't really do the reading if at all. That is when I try to figure out what to make them do to actually tangle with it--just like this quote says.  We have to actually think about what we have learned or we will never have it be ours. And if we can't absorb the knowledge, than we will never learn it.

So what are some techniques that I have used to help students tangle more with the knowledge?

  • Actually take notes on the reading or lecture they were to have done before
  • Asking them questions from the assignment to see what they already know--sometimes this shows them that they don't have it yet at all
  • Supplementary materials...a lot of teachers hate worksheets--and I do to a point.  There is a purpose for worksheets--to give the student extra practice. 
  • Annotating a reading
  • Teaching a fellow student the concept (can only really do this after I know they have at least some of it)
This list is actually one of the reasons I love being at a blended learning school--I have a tool bag of tricks that I could use in a public school but the students don't have time to really learn it.  At my school, they do :) 

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