Click HERE for the first WW Newsletter of 2019. I'm very excited to use this Newsletter to share a reflection by Dr. Kathryn Hastings about her experience introducing SWI to her teaching in her teacher-training course at Eastern University, College of Education where she is Associate Professor Undergraduate Chair and Director of Reading Programs.
See more on this Newsletter before the screen shot..
Click HERE for a page with upcoming SWI workshops of the sort that was one of the key inspirations for Kathryn's leap into orthography. That document includes two workshops coming up very soon in Bangkok Jan 17-19 and Edmonton Jan 23-25.
After Kathryn's account, I share my own reflection on the implications of her experience and how this work relates to the current state of the research. I encourage educators and researchers to consider the description of English orthography that we get from educational research compared to the well-established description we have from the field of linguistics. While there are many questions to research about how best to teach literacy in English, there should be no doubt that research on those questions should be guided by a solid understanding of the orthography system being taught.
As I write in my follow-up to Dr. Hasting's piece:
"Kathryn’s story is indicative of a system of educational research which has failed to arm the research community and educators with a clear understanding of basic facts about how our writing system works."
Read the full newsletter for the evidence supporting that strong statement.
Fortunately, Kathryn's account also provides a window on what is possible when education teachers respond to the evidence of how our orthography system works, and then commit themselves to bring that understanding to their courses for teachers-in-training. One thing that is so important about Kathryn's story is that she made this leap when she herself was just beginning to study this linguistic understanding herself. Starting before she felt she had mastered this new understanding turned out to be a key aspect of modeling the kind of inquiry-based learning SWI fosters. As Kathryn wrote:
In class, we would go over our learning. Often times, questions and perplexities arose that I did not have immediate answers for. That felt uncomfortable but turned out to be fortuitous – because I had no other option but to be vulnerable and admit I did not know. I was putting myself in the same position I was encouraging my students to take when they entered their own classrooms. I was modeling the process of guiding the scientific inquiry about spellings before I knew “the answer.” I was modeling moving from "teacher-led inquiry" to "inquiry-led teaching."