Neither Kind Nor Patient

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.

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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Blog Review

My goal–to share everything I know about teaching before I retire. Have I reached my goal? What more do I want to say? I’m looking back at old posts, sorting, highlighting and making new connections.

Curiosity Box

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.

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

The More Things Change…

from Our Story: The Realities of Working in the Literacy and Essential Skills Field; summary of survey by LESWORKFORCE.ca

from Our Story: The Realities of Working in the Literacy and Essential Skills Field; http://www.LESWORKFORCE.ca

Part-time work, insecure employment, expectations that practitioners will put in many unpaid hours, younger practitioners leaving the field, practitioners not able to earn a living, practitioners in one type of program being paid much less for the same kind of work as practitioners in another– all issues that we were agitating about when I first entered ABE/Adult Literacy in the 80’s, and still, it seems, relevant.

Three things crossed my desk recently that highlighted some of the same issues in the field today. First was the Literacy and Essential Skills Labour Market Study recently released by CLLN. Second was a blog post called Adult Educators: An Ageing Profession? by Ann Walker, Director for Education of the Workers’ Educational Association in Great Britain. Continue reading

Learning Curves, Twists, and Turns

So much food for thought here. I love these stories of teachers putting themselves in learners’ shoes, literally and figuratively.
And check out the rest of the blog, too–Kate

Adult Literacy Research Institute

Written by:  Sandi Loschnig

In 1999, I chose to leave my comfortable life on Protection Island, British Columbia, to travel to Cochabamba in Bolivia for a new job working as an educator for a women’s organization. It was a learning journey in every way.

Learning Spanish, finding an apartment, discovering the eccentric transportation systems in the city, shopping for food, being immersed in a new culture—in every moment I was preoccupied with absorbing information. I even dreamed about conjugating Spanish verbs. I was trying so hard to cram everything in that my head ached each evening from the effort.

It wasn’t until I came back to Canada nine months later that I could reflect on my experience. I realized what it meant to be learning a whole new culture, how difficult it was, and how it changes your very identity.

I arrived in Bolivia as an experienced educator in my…

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