Life Changing

I told the Yahtzee story in this blog a couple of months ago, but I’ve been reading stories in other blogs about students who came back to say that they were profoundly affected by a particular classroom activity.

I especially liked this one from Agnes Tirrito: The Power to Change a Life.

So I’ll ask you the question on the post card: What activities have changed the life of one of your students?  Continue reading

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Dear Mom,
You are always wondering what my job is and what I do for work. A while back I worked with a group of adults in a research project who listed all their needs before they could return to regular school. It was a huge list. What I do is try to support the programs that offer learning to these adults.
Today I am in a swank hotel in Vancouver, surrounded by glitz, food and chocolate, talking about Literacy.
What Is wrong with this picture?
Dee Continue reading

Poster: Literacy in the World

I don’t do international literacy work, but I’m always aware that many adults with low literacy in Canada live in third world conditions. Here is a great graphic from the United Nations. Continue reading

You Don’t Know Me

Today I’m re-blogging. (Who knew that I could do such a thing, or that the word existed?) Here’s a piece from the Florida Literacy Coalition’s Blog, by Armando J. Gutierrez, Ed.D., which appeared today. I think it speaks for itself.

Florida Literacy Blog

You watched me come to your class just like any other student. You greeted me with a warm smile and caring eyes. You asked me to have a seat in your inviting classroom. I watched you speak words I didn’t understand. I watched as the other students raised their hands to question your words. I sat in the cold seat as the minutes went by like hours. I heard you call my name, and I waited for you to ask me, who I was.

You don’t know the painstaking ordeal it took for me to get here this morning. You don’t know how it feels to wake up in the dark or the fear in my heart when I have to wait for the bus. You don’t know that I have no umbrella, or why my clothes are wet and unkempt when I enter your class. You think I can’t…

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Teaching with Emotional Intelligence

Two words that frighten me: “emotional” and “intelligence.”

I worry that the emotional student may go off like a time bomb and be totally outside my control, highjack my session and require that I take care of him/her, or in some way act like a counsellor, which I don’t want to be, and am not trained for. Or that my own emotions will overwhelm me and prevent me from acting as my “best self.” Emotions are so messy.

Microsoft clipartIntelligence is a concept that is the opposite of messy. I think of a number. 122. 101. 145. 92. Not one number up or down, but exact and set in stone. Even when I think of multiple intelligences, I think about being smart in some ways, and not-so-smart in other ways. Intelligence has a hard edge to it. If I’m not smart enough, I can’t get smarter.

So put the two words together to say “emotional intelligence” and there is the place for panic. Messy and nowhere to go. Continue reading

Square Pegs

Square Pegs

I like this graphic because it reminds me that things are changing in adult education and literacy, and that they can change. It is so clear that adults who have been through the school system without success, and who have come back to make another attempt at learning the same skills and content, cannot be taught by the same methods that failed them in the first place.

The graphic is by Matt Taylor, who is a job developer/educator at CareerworksNova in Truro, Nova Scotia. The NSSAL he refers to in the bottom section is the Nova Scotia School of Adult Learning, the province-wide organization for the delivery of adult literacy and adult basic education.

Thanks, Matt, for permission to use your graphic here.