The Young Need the Old & Vice Versa

My professors taught me that should not take credit for someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or words.  Most English professors encouraged me to avoid using long quotes in my writing because it questioned my credibility as an original writer.  The exception, so they claimed, is when I find a quote where it serves a greater purpose by not paraphrasing.  The following is something I read on Cottonwood Church’s website for their weekly Sunday’s night service called FUSE.

In the world/Church today, there exists a wall of age separation.  Young and Old don’t co-exist, they don’t intermingle, and they attend separate services.  We are fusing the generations, bridging gaps because no generation can exist by itself or on its own.  The Young need the Old– their wisdom and experience and the Old need the Young– their excitement, passion, and raw energy.  We are not separate, but one generation welded together in heart and character.  Basically, we are in this to change the world.  -FUSE
I saw that happen tonight at OCC’s TLC class.  A group of ladies ages 16-50+ gathered under one roof to be nurtured by the Word of God through Lisa Bevere AND to nurture the younger generation.  I wish I would have taken a picture as I saw a “grandmother” embrace and impart her wisdom into a “daughter”.  It’s so easy to live an isolated life in our American culture.  As a whole we value independence, but when is it too much?

Why does our culture live as if we can succeed without “mothers” and “grandmothers” and still be holistic “daughters”?

Senior Seminar Topic

Those of you who have kept up with my blog know that 2010 came with new surprises as I streamlined the categories of my posts due to a very special lady whose passion for education served as a catalyst to begin to discover my own “Spiral of Literacy”.  Her name is Dr. Joan Wink.  Though we have not met face-to-face in person only through Elluminate (Video Conference Type) and cyberspace communication tools, her lectures have stirred up a storm in me.  I have always known that I want to teach language arts especially to ELLs.  Avid reading was a longing tucked within my heart without evidence.  I questioned myself many times why I could just not finish reading a book or devouring literature as many of my colleagues.  Then I met Joan, and her testimony regarding literacy development hit home.  I began to trace my own literacy development.  New questions merged up:  Is there a critical age for literacy development?  What academic/cultural/environmental factors influence a child’s literacy development?  What are the most effective remedial techniques for early age truncated lit development?  What role does bilingual education play in Literacy Development?…and so much more!

We will be writing our own textbook for my TESOL concentration’s Senior Seminar.  Our class is an elite group of individuals drilled in TESOL methodology, language instruction for English learners, and theoretical constructs in the field of second language acquisition.  All of us are either graduating LIBS/TESOL Seniors or Grad students in the TESOL M.A. program.  Each one of the 20 students will write a chapter with their own chosen topic.  We will work on it for the entire semester.  I did not  think twice on my topic.  It is one that will give me ample opportunity to research past investigations, present projects, and future dilemmas in conjuncture with my personal experiences and pedagogical philosophies.  My research topic is “Literacy Development” focusing on early literacy such as K-3.  Ta-Dah!

Thanks Joan!  You know you are at the top of my list for experts to interview 🙂

Skin of Dead Sheep

There is a quote from an American drama critic and author that states:

Part of the American myth is that people who are handed the skin of a dead sheep at graduating time think that it will keep their minds alive forever. (John Mason Brown 1900-1969)

This quote made me ponder on how this myth falls into the minds of many other institutions here in America.  For example, many church goers believe that their once-a-week church service routine will keep their relationship with God alive.  They are handed a “skin” of biblical principles every week, but it is only to help them learn how to nourish and care for their own skin.  It is not the purpose of the teacher or the preacher to take the spot of Wisdom.  Wisdom and knowledge are two distinct friends.  Knowledge is knowing.  Wisdom is applying what we know.  Graduation time comes for many across the schools of America from preschool graduation to doctorate levels.  A paper is handed into the hands of the achiever, but wisdom is calling out at every corner when he or she is faced with the opportunity to apply such knowledge.  Wisdom must be sought.

Col 1:9-10 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man.

I read in a commentary that the word most used in the Bible for wisdom was “hokmah” which in Hebrew means skill.  My husband has knowledge in fence building, but he also possess the skill of installing them.  When someone else passes their understanding of things to us, in essence they are making us more knowledgeable.  But that knowledge does not make us wise.  A skin of a dead sheep is no longer viable.  It serves other purposes once it is detached from it’s living organism.  Knowledge does not keep us alive on its own.  We must seek to apply it.

Have You Been Hiding Under Someone Else’s Skin?

Is It Fair?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary one of the definitions of FAIR is to be  marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.

As a teacher, I have always been told that I must treat my students the same if I want to be fair.  With controversial issues such as English-Only vs Dual Immersion or other EL programs, assessment by the previous statements becomes a problem.  How can I treat all my students the same if one of them has a lower reading level, lower CELDT score, or even a higher IQ?

My Health instructor said this statement at the end of our final on Monday:

“If you want to be fair then you have to treat students different.”

Huh?  He continued his lecture by reminding us that requiring a student to perform just like the rest of the students even when it is not physically possible for him or her is unfair (prejudice).  However, we do ask students to successfully produce quality academic writing and reading assignments when they don not have the knowledge, the foundation, or even the language.  I’m still reflecting on my stance on this statement.  I’m trying to clarify what is truly means and what it encompasses.

What do you think about the above statement?

A Final Wink

I’d like to end today’s portion of my final for my EDMS 4100 class with a few quotes.

“There is, nevertheless, the most important reason to stay: Every year you have a chance to fall in love again – with your students and with teaching. To remember why you decided that the classroom was where you belonged. To remember how much that one special teacher influenced your life. To remember the magic in your classroom when your students could do it with out you. Every day for a teacher is one of infinite challenge. No day is the same as the one before. No class is the same as the one that just left. You are not always a model of perfection and rarely everyone’s favorite teacher; however, you have the time and opportunity to try to be one of the best.” By Linda Kovaric.

“Not Everything that Matters is Measurable and Not Everything that is Measurable Matters.”

Book title by Ian Bache

“Education is Radically about Love.” By Paulo Freire

“We will all have a fear of power at some point of our lives.” Joan Wink in Elluminate discussion of Buttercup

“The bent given by education will determine all that follows.” Socrates, The Republic, Book IV

“For he who would learn to command well must, as men say, first of all learn to obey.” Aristotle, Politics, Book VII

“To possess all the world of knowledge and lose one’s own self is as awful a fate in education as in religion.” John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum

“What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone.” L. S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” cited byPastor Susan Young (quote from Harry Truman)

“Literacy is dangerous and has always been so regarded.  It naturally breaks down barriers of time, space, and culture.  It threatens one’s original identity by broadening it through vicarious experiencing and the incorporation of somebody else’s heart and ethos.” Joan Wink in ALER, Nov. 2009

This was my final wink at Dr. Wink’s assignments, but I assure you that it will not be the end of this project.  I will not shut my eyes to the unfamiliar.  I will learn, unlearn and relearn with eyes wide open.  You see, the Cyberspace Yellow Folder Project started with an assignment, developed as  reflective cycle, and will continue as a personal pursue to document learning in the area of education. Dr. Wink has turned my world upside down as she bombarded my life in these 5 weeks with so many resources and strategies.  She said to us, “Critical Pedagogy is not something we do.  We live Critical Pedagogy.”  This is true.  I see it in her eyes as they sparkle when talking about Vygotsky and her personal stories in education.  I hear it in the words of my colleagues as we shared on Blackboard the progress of our learning.  And I read it in her writing as it provokes me to reflect (the Reflective Cycle manner).  I am not swayed by what surrounds me or by all that I read.  All this makes me stronger as I develop my stance in this world as an educator, a learner, and an agent of change.  Thanks!

Are you learning with eyes wide opened?

One of Those People

We were asked to filled the following statement for the end of our EDMS 4100 course:

First, completing my Spiral of Literacy was my best moment in class because it unfolded one of my lifelong desires, to ignite my heart in finding the joy of reading. I helped make it my best moment by not giving up even when I felt I was just not meant to be “one of those people” who read for pleasure.  It was my exposure to others’ spirals of literacy that allowed me to understand that some are born into the beautiful world of word and others create their world at different ages.  I’ve started one for me and for my niece and nephews.

Second, the first few days after our first class meeting was my worst moment in class because I felt I had made a mistake by taking three courses in a winter session and because I felt a surge of information overload. I could have made it better by structuring my schedule to allow moments of rest.  I could have done several things, but that feeling made me reflect and evolve my old way of facing such feeling.  Before, I would have stressed till the end.  This time around, at the end of the course, I learned to own my learning at my own pace.

I am still not “one of those people” who is an avid reader.  I am one of the many people who discovered the power of education in their late years and have taken action to pursue it for the rest of their life.

What about you?

Skilled Skim Reader

As I was re-writing my Spiral of Literacy assignment, the title of this post popped into my head when I was confessing that I had a difficult time finishing an entire book.  I read enough to make it through and get an A in the class.  This happened all the way through college.  I loved school.  I loved learning.  I just did not value my own learning.  I missed out on all those other details I was not tested on. I missed out on the personal “aha” moments we tend to have when we embrace the unfamiliar and all of a sudden Vygotsky’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) becomes a reality in the midst of capturing words.  Vygotsky’s ZPD shares the reality of many children in schools who are asked to make connections in another language without the links.  Those of us who are not physic savvy may feel lost in the Quantum Theory and the numerical attributes associated with the physics electricity formula for Equivalent Resistance:

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

How could we not understand?  It has all the symbols in our language.  I mean EVERYONE knows the symbols (the letter R, the + sign, the numbers, etc).  Still, to decode the combination of these familiar symbols, we need to have some fundamental knowledge.  Someone needs to help us understand what each symbol represents and how the combination applies in the world of physics.  R= the amount of resistance, and the numbers represent each added variant resistance.

Vygotsky’s ZPD states that optimal learning occurs when the students are offered new information that is approximately close to their zone of learning (new but close enough to stretch and reach out for it to connect).  Steve Krashen shares this concept with his comprehensible input and i+1 idea.  We learn using our past experiences and connecting with the unfamiliar to make interlocking chains of information that helps us connect to the next level.  It’s not a horizontal or vertical chain, but a central and extend out in all directions.  Learning is not up or down, left or right.  Learning is holistic whether we like it or not.  I understand I cannot skim through life because I will miss out on precious links that interconnect me with the unfamiliar.

How about you?  Have you gone through life skim reading what surrounds you and missing out in your personal “aha” moments?

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

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