Neither Kind Nor Patient

Kate Nonesuch:

This is my most popular post, which has been viewed 4,336 times, nearly three times as many as the next most popular post. It reflects the difference between what you see and what you get when you look at good teaching, and captures a worry about how the world perceives the adult literacy practitioner. Since I first posted it, I have added the last sentence, based on a perceptive comment by Jenny Horsman. Thanks, Jenny!

When I chose blogging as a way to share my ideas about teaching, the question of who is reading the blog popped up, as well as the related question, “How many are reading?” I’ve learned a lot about finding/keeping an audience since I started this project. Someone posted this piece to MetaFilter, which brought many readers to the site, which in turn caught the interest of WordPress editors, who chose it to be “freshly pressed,” and this in turn brought many more readers to the site. I had a taste of internet “fame” and discovered that I was even more vain than I had previously thought.

It’s my most famous piece. Is it my best? Is it typical of the themes that I write about? Questions for me to ponder as I look at my blog as a whole.

Originally posted on Working in Adult Literacy:

patient dog Morgue fileThe last time I had my teaching evaluated by my administration, I was disappointed. Although I was happy to get a grade of “excellent” (highest on a five point scale), the comments from administration made me gag: “Kate is a kind and a patient teacher,” and

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Curiosity Box

Kate Nonesuch:

I’m following in that long tradition–stealing a good idea from another teacher.
Here’s one from Janice Airhart, who says she stole it from someone else. A great idea for making it clear that focusing, paying attention, trying to remember, and spending a little time all pay off in improved memory!
And a good idea for injecting a little something unusual into the first day of class.

Originally posted on Learning is the Reward:

I came across a great first-day activity that I’m going to try this year with my community college class.  Depending on its success, I might use it in my high school science classes as well.  It really could be used with any age and subject.

boxThe teacher I stole it from (aren’t all the best ideas stolen from other teachers, really?) didn’t name the activity, but I’m calling it the Curiosity Box.  The box will hold about 15 random items from my home.  As soon as class begins, I’ll begin taking items out of the box and laying them on the table in the front of the room.  I’ll announce the name and section of the class, but I’ll say little else and won’t comment on the items from the box.  Once all items are on the table, I’ll put them all back in the box, then close and set…

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Literacy Enquirer: Bring Back Copian

CopianIn the midst of my despair at the closing of Copian, I was glad to find this post from the Literacy Enquirer: Bring Back Copian. Tracy Defoe gives some great strategies for working to get funding restored. I especially like her idea of showing the demand for Copian material by asking OLES (Office of literacy and Essential Skills) for what we need, all day, everyday. I’ll use the online form she suggests, and I’ll tweet my requests to @SocDevSoc and @kenneyjason as well, using the hashtag #BringbackCopian.

Here are Tracy’s suggestions. Pick some you can have fun with, and can keep up over the long haul!

M. Elisabeth Barot,
Education Programme Officer,
The Canadian Commission for UNESCO
(http://unesco.ca/en/home-accueil/contact)
Office of Literacy and Essential Skills
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV
Mailstop 515
Gatineau QC
K1A 0J9
They won’t know we miss it if they don’t hear that we are looking for resources and publications. – Tracy Defoe.

Get the full text of Tracy’s post here.

 

 

Jenny Horsman for TEDx Toronto

Jenny Horsman
Jenny Horsman

My friend and colleague, Jenny Horsman, is applying to give a talk at TEDx Toronto.

June 30 is the deadline for nominations from the community. Get yours in today. TEDx Toronto

I have often referred to her work on the impacts of violence on learning, and wrote a post about her website which is full of information and resources on the Continue reading

Joy in Disguise

dancing for joyThe opportunity for joy often comes disguised as a request for advice. When I refuse to give advice, when I take a moment to ask a question instead, a space opens up to let the joy of teaching in.

A student working on a piece of writing asks, “What should I do? I don’t know if I should explain that Tom is my boss and my uncle right here at the start, or if I should leave it out until closer to the end.”

Or maybe it’s a more mundane question Continue reading

The Perils of Giving Advice

no smoking posters vertical“I can’t decide,” Maria said. “I don’t want people to smoke in my apartment any more, so I’m making a sign for the door. Should I say, “Please don’t smoke here” or “Butt Out”?

She had come to class with a project from home (the best kind of adult literacy work, generated by personal need and totally student driven).

She was asking for my advice, which put me in a very gratifying position: there I was, with someone tacitly acknowledging my expertise, and waiting to be told what to do. She had my ego right where it wanted to be!

“Always better to be polite when you’re asking people to do something…” The words were almost out of my mouth when my imagination was caught by the brevity and wit of “Butt Out.”

Suddenly I was sharing her dilemma–I couldn’t decide either.

It was the dilemma Marie presented, the dilemma of not knowing what advice to give, Continue reading