What is good for an ESL student, is good for all learners.
This is something I have fixed in my mind from my teacher education program. I was required to take a course called, “Critical Reading in the Content Areas”, and I didn’t look forward to it. I have a PhD! Of course I know how to critically read in my content area. This was a great course, taught by a reading specialist who showed us how ALL students benefit from techniques that are designed for students who don’t respond to a system of lecture and homework (and lets face it, teaching that way isn’t a lot of fun either).
This week, I finally got my hands on a copy of The Mighty Titans, by Dr. Rod Brame (full disclosure, he’s a colleague and friend – I’m one of his peeps too, from my time as a student at Wright State). He tells the stories of his classroom and experiences in science education. From dropping out of high school, moving across the country a few times, managing family life, and his path as a life-long learner.
But this isn’t just his story. Throughout the text his students participate in the discourse. We hear their side too. And this is the lesson of the Mighty Titans: to be a great teacher, view learning from the perspective of your students.
These students had real challenges. They were from other countries, and didn’t speak English. They worked from the close of the school day until late into the night. They were raising children and supporting parents. No one expected them to succeed.
So, in this book we see how a few teachers banded together to support these students, and because practices that help the ones no one expects to succeed help ALL students, EVERY TEACHER can benefit from this book.
The impact these teachers had on their students is heartwarming and inspiring. It will change the way you see your role as a teacher.
One of the best parts of this book is the follow through. Not only did the teachers in this book change their student’s lives, they continue to maintain relationships with them as they’ve moved forward with their lives to employment and college. They are in touch through online media and meet for a reunion each summer at a local cafe.
This book ends with a challenge for teachers. To move past laboratory activities that are verification exercises to real, intellectually developing scientific experiences. This book will show you the story of teachers working together, approaching learning from the student’s perspective, to teach not just science, but how to be scientists themselves.