I’ve had Disrupting Thinking at the top of my professional TBR for a few weeks. Summer doesn’t technically start in my district until suppertime Thursday, but I snuck in a little sneak preview. It’s the time of year when we look back, but we can’t resist looking ahead to the possibility of what’s next. When I think about what I wish I’d done better, I want a tangible plan for how I’ll make it better next time.
Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst hit the spot for a first taste of summer learning. Not much surprised me as I read. I found that their philosophy resonated with my own big idea thinking, confirming what I believe and think I know about reading. That’s not to say that there weren’t a couple places where I was brought to a pause, wondering if, perhaps, I hadn’t been quite as right as I thought.
“We suppose that it is possible to convince someone of the relevance of some issue. But it is probably far easier, and more natural, to identify what is already relevant and begin there. That seems especially true when what students see as relevant is of undeniable significance” (122).
♥If this is so, what does that mean for curriculum? Individual teachers know students. Curriculum writers, even those who are highly skilled teachers, can’t know all the students who will journey through the course. Does curriculum cease to be? Do we write units that start from the uncertainty of what students value? If so, how do we support the teachers who will teach them with resources, etc. necessary to be successful–to help students be successful? I ask because this feels tremendously important. ♥
“I can guide and I can remind kids to let go of a book that isn’t working for them, and when they want to read the popular book–or in Tam’s case the one she thought would please her parents–then I want to help figure out how to make that reading experience work as well as it can” (140).
I feel conflicted. Choice. Yes, absolutely. Supported choice. Yes, when students need it. What do you do about readers who (routinely) don’t recognize or admit that it’s hard? I have a few little faces in mind. Maybe the answer is that I need to build stronger relationships with those students than I had so that they trust me enough. Maybe I was starting with monologic questions instead of the questions that open their hearts and reveal more of what they made of the books. This warrants more thought.
Nor should that suggest that there weren’t passages that stirred strong emotion in me about the state of reading, for example, my high school son’s.♥
I appreciated that the BHH (book, head, heart) explanation came early in the book so that I could try it out myself as I read. Kudos to Beers and Probst for guiding the understanding of reading teachers. And hats off to all the teachers who will be reading this summer, not just for beach pleasure, but also to raise their game in the classroom. Cheers.