Monday, November 06, 2006

Interesting writer on thinking, learning and reading

Through a chance link in my in-box I have discovered a new (new to me) author who writes about readingand learning: Frank Smith, whose latest book Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices 'helps teachers understand the nature of thinking, learning, and reading'.

Gary Stager writes about him: "Instead of talking about what teachers should teach and what students should learn, Smith argues that we should talk about experiences that they should be mutually engaged in, involving reading, writing, imagining, creating, calculating, constructing, producing and performing."

This chimes in with my beliefs, based on experience, that if we set up experiences where learning is more likely to happen rather than having students do what we want them to do because we want it (or it is in the syllabus), learning will happen. It is the setting up of the experiences that is so critical, that requires our creativity, energy and passion. It is important that we use all the ways we can to engage our students, and provide for them opportunities to construct their own learning, as well as modelling learning because the teacher also is one of the learners. This is very timely for me as we are writing up the curriculum for next year now so there is opportunity to refresh our thinking with writers such as Smith. I can't wait to read it.


  1. I want to read it too. Thanks for sharing that.
    I agree that we have more energy and passion when we are also involved in the learning.I am confident that modelling is also a very effective way to introduce passion for learning to young people. I had a quick look at the inet online conference paper today and it was about deep learning. I was quite sold on the idea of being mutually engaged. I find when I am, I enjoy teaching so much more and the students seem to also.

  2. Thank you Joh. And thanks for the pointer to the inet conference. Sounds like it's worth following up.