One thing I have really learned throughout this entire student teaching experience is the importance of word choice. (And no, I’m not referring to helping my students express themselves clearly through their writing, ha! Though that could definitely be a whole other post on it’s own.) See, I have a very strong personality and I enter the classroom set on what I want and what I want my students to walk away with. Again, I have high expectations for ALL of my students.
With that said, I’ve learned quickly I can probably be overwhelming/intimidating for others with varying teaching styles. (Again, reminiscent of previous posts where I’m the new, young, naive teacher.) I greatly value the impact that new literacies can have on the English classroom and am excited to jump right in and have my students engaged with these literacies. I’m not saying I’m 100% confident every time, but my feeling is that if I don’t approach the lesson that way, then I am not going to learn, and see, and push myself (and my students) to recognize what works well and what needs to be re-worked. So, in order to create a comfort level for all, I have to carefully craft how I plan to introduce these new ideas into the classroom. Essentially, I have learned to word things in such a way that others feel comfortable (tying into traditional literacies) and still create a teaching/learning situation that I can express my voice throughout the lesson.
So, as I am diving into some more literacy reading on my own, I came across the following quote that I feel ties into all of this:
Many teachers of English and English language arts tend to treat re-current social demands for changes as meaningless “fads,” as intrusions into a subject with universal form. This attitude disconnects the English classroom from culture and history, ignores the many forms of literacy long since abandoned by the dominant culture, and works against the possibility of historical and multiliteracy awareness in our teaching. Students actually bring to classrooms various forms of literacy from their histories and cultures, forms which, at one time, may have dominated in a nation’s culture (Changing Our Minds – Miles Myers, pg. 5).
I don’t see new literacies as “fads” — I see them as integral parts of the classroom. I think I’m drawn to the idea of multiliteracies because they do pull from our students’ diverse backgrounds, and they do make every student (even the struggling ones) feel valued. Inviting multiliteracies into the classroom helps show students that they already are active readers and writers in this world…and then that’s where I come in to help them understand and learn new tools to become more critical readers/writers/thinkers/learners/teachers/etc. — and then that’s where they say, Hey, she’s legit.”
Anyway, just some more random thoughts…