October 13, 2014
In chapter one “Skills and Other Dilemmas of a Progressive Black Educator” there were many important facts brought to light for the readers. These facts were that people acquire new dialect most effectively through interaction with speakers of that dialect, people learn to write by writing in meaningful contexts, teachers are so focused on teaching children fluency when they do not realize the fluency that the students already possess, and skills are best taught through meaningful communication. As an education major, many of these facts came naturally and I understood them. The one that stood out to me was that teachers focus on teaching fluency when in all actuality many children already possess this skill. This was strange to me because we are taught to teach these children fluency when they are young and through their elementary years. Not only are we teaching these skills to the students were are modeling the skills for them also.
In chapter two “The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People Children” there were five main facts that had importance to the readers. These facts are “the culture of power”, a move toward indirect communication, the teacher’s role is to maintain the full attention of the group, the importance of actual writing for real audiences and real purposes, and strong beliefs that all students can learn. All of these facts came as knowledge this far in my career expect for “the culture of power.” The author breaks this down into five aspects of power. These aspects are issues of power are enacted in classrooms, there are codes or rules for participating in power, the rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power, if you are not already a participant in the culture of power being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier, and those with power are frequently least aware of its existence. Teachers and people in general need to be aware of the power they possess and need to be careful of how they use this power.
In chapter three “Language Diversity and Learning” there were five main ideas that held importance. These main ideas were acquiring one language variety and learning another, appreciating linguistic diversity in the classroom, activities for promoting linguistic pluralism, ethnic identity and styles of discourse and the demands of school language. Research shows that it is very important for children to be exposed to different languages at a very young age because young children are more to retrieve this knowledge at a young age. As teachers we need to make this language diversity accessible to students of all ages starting at a young age.
In my research I found two articles that related to evidence on learning a second language and how important reading fluency is to children’s education. According to Horst and Bell, “There is evidence that metalinguistic awareness develops more readily in children who learn a second language (Ben-Zeev, 1977; Bialystok, 1986; Galambos & Goldin-Meadow, 1990) and that it can be activated through classroom activities that invite learners to make L1/L2 comparisons.” This being said it is so important for all students to be exposed to a second language. This exposure should start at a very young age because children are able to make connections with this language that they are able to hold on to and recall. Students who start learning a new language later on in life will have a more difficult time learning this new language than a student who has been exposed to it at a young age. The research also talked about how these students who learn a second language at a young age also can help other students who have not learned the other language. There are certain activities that can happen in the classroom where these students can collaborate to learn the new language. According to Tan, Chen & Lee, “Reading fluency is considered critical in skillful reading in that many reading training tools are developed for improving the fluency.” We as educators and future educators have been taught that reading fluency is key in order for students to be successful in their academic careers. We also need to keep in mind that students come with some sort of fluency level. It is our jobs to find these levels and provide the appropriate tools and materials to aid students in improving their reading fluency.
I have learned quite a bit from the readings and the research that I preformed. Some of the material that I came across was knowledge that I had already acquired from my education in becoming an educator. One piece of knowledge that I will know bring into my own career is that all children come with some level of reading fluency. As a teacher, it is my job to find each student’s reading fluency level and to aid the students to improve their reading fluency. A student’s reading fluency helps students in all subjects, not just reading. If you think about it reading is in all subjects. If students struggle with reading then they are bound to struggle in multiple subjects due to the fact that they lack the necessary reading skills. Another piece of knowledge that I acquired was that students with a second language may help students with only one language learn the second language. These students have acquire and gathered skills that lead them to learning this second language. They can pass along these skills to help aid the other students when learning a second language. There are certain classroom activities that also can help students learn the second language.
Delpit, L. (2006). Other People’s Children. New York: The New Press.
Horst, M., White, J., & Bell, P. (2010). First and second language knowledge in the language classroom. International Journal Of Bilingualism, 14(3), 331-349. doi:10.1177/1367006910367848
Tan, C., Chen, C., & Lee, H. (2013). Using a Paper-based Digital Pen for Supporting English Courses in Regular Classrooms to Improve Reading Fluency. Journal Of Humanities & Arts Computing: A Journal Of Digital Humanities, 7234-246. doi:10.3366/ijhac