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Looking Past Deficit: Focus on Literacy
“When I was in high school, they drug me into the principal’s office and told me I had a lot of potential, but that I needed to learn how to study hard and make something of myself. And that’s when I quit school. Because I realized that we weren’t operating on the same level of reality. Because, you see, I knew that I already was something.”

--John Trudell, Native American activist and poet

Though John Trudell went on to be a poet, a speaker, and a great communicator, he began his life by rejecting what he saw as the primary goal of education: turning him into someone else. The goal for these activities is to find out who your students already are by exploring their past, their current lives, and their attitudes and skills around the literacies that support their interests.

We do not want to leave students where we find them, however. Teachers can begin the year by asking students to identify where literacy is currently helping them reach their own self-selected goals in the world outside of the classroom. Then, we can honor and employ the skills already present. Part of the goal of education is to create a community of shared experiences so we can talk amongst ourselves and across time to build new understandings of what literacy looks like and how others handle successes and challenges in that realm.

Jul 9, 2021 02:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Webinar is over, you cannot register now. If you have any questions, please contact Webinar host: Dr. Jessica Costa, EL Instruction Specialist.