Seriously, to appreciate and truly derive pleasure from so many things in life, you need to understand them, says Bloom in a recent interview on npr’s TED Radio Hour, a followup to his TED Talk on “What Do We Value Most?“.
I recall my frustration when, while trying hard to align my teaching with student interests, I asked students, “What do you like to do?”. The responses were all the same. Not much, hang out with friends, watch TV. So I rephrased the question to, “What are you interested in?”, and I was even more disappointed with the complete absence of any interests. How could this be? I could write a book the size of a small novel just listing my interests.
This was once again the case when I first started teaching grade 10 computer studies and I was introducing students to Netscape (use the link if you are really young and don’t know about Netscape). I would say, “Look up anything you are interested in. Just type the word in the search box” (we always used Dogpile). But that is where the lesson derailed, because they weren’t interested in anything!
This has plagued me for years, because as a person who does not ever have enough time in the day to pursue all my interests, I cannot imagine having none at all. But is this what I see every day in my school, when day after day students would rather be somewhere else?
I think that we do a really good job as educators to try to engage students, to use differentiated instruction, to give choice, to listen to student voice, and yet we still find so many youth completely disinterested in learning.
I am playing with this issue this morning and I will share some resources that I am using to try to dig deeper and figure out how to address this problem at my school. Please share any thinking you have on this topic.
Handbook of Adolescent Literacy Research – some of the research around how to develop literacy skills in teenagers, including the effects of policy decisions, and the challenges and successes of working with reluctant learners.
Adolescent Literacy Resources – From EduGains
Literacy Key to Keeping Youth out of the Justice System – Reading and writing as a crime prevention strategy.
Promising Practices in Aboriginal Education – So far I have been disappointed in that I have not found any ‘practices’ that are based in research, but I have hope (they do “promise”) that even the existence of this website is a start in the right direction.
Aboriginal Education: Our Moral Imperative to Teach Our Shared Canadian History – A touching letter that many teachers might enjoy reading to help frame their own thinking about our First Nations students.
Literacy Gains: Metacognition Resources – Lots of resources from Literacy Gains as they make Adolescent Literacy a priority.
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.
And if you have access to a library (some of these are not available to the public):
Pirbhai-Illich, F. (2010). Aboriginal students engaging and struggling with critical multiliteracies. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(4), 257-266. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1598/JAAL.54.4.3/abstract
Report for Indian and Northern Affairs
Raham, H. Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, (2009). Best practices in aboriginal education: A literature review and analysis for policy directions. Retrieved from website: http://www.firstpeoplesgroup.com/mnsiurban/PDF/education/Best_Practices_in_Aboriginal_Education-2009.pdf
Van de Kleut, G. (2009). The whiteness of literacy practice in Ontario. Race Ethnicity in Education, 14(5), 699-726.
McKeough, A., Bird, S., Tourigny, E., Romaine, A., Graham, S., Ottmann, J., & Jeary, J. (2008). Storytelling as a foundation to literacy development for aboriginal children: Culturally and developmentally appropriate practices. Canadian Psychology, 40(2), 148-154.
Barnes, R., Josefowitz, N., & Cole, E. (2006). Residential schools impact on aboriginal students’ academic and cognitive development. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 21(1/2), 18-32.
Luke, A., & Luke, C. (2001). Adolescence lost/childhood regained: on early intervention and the emergence of the techno-subject. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 1(1), 91-120.
Zeller-Berkman, S. (2012). Adolescent literacy policy.Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(8), 748-750. doi: 10.1002/JAAL.00090