Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Teaching as Modeling

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

Teaching as Modeling

Modeling, i.e., demonstrating, is a powerful method of teaching. By modeling, teachers demonstrate to students how to perform a particular skill. In this article, the authors, D. Lapp, et al., explain how to use “think-alouds” to show students how to read a difficult text and how to solve unfamiliar vocabulary themselves.

Reading Difficult Text
“You can read this text—I’ll show you how.”

“…she [teacher] engaged them [students] in an interactive think-aloud in an attempt to model how to use one’s existing knowledge as the basis for constructing new knowledge.” The teacher then talks her way through the various methods she uses in reading a difficult text. [While I have never used “think-alouds” to show students how to read a text, I have long thought it was a technique worth trying. I suspect the technique will require practice before I am able to involve students in my demonstration. RayS.]

Vocabulary: “Teachers do not simply define a word during their interactive comprehension instruction. Instead, they solve unknown words as they read by using context clues, their understanding of word parts or related words [and, if all else fails] look it up.” [The teacher, therefore, models for the students how to deal with words with which they are unfamiliar . Modeling is a powerful teaching tool. Frazier in Walden Two said that the most valuable teaching practice is by example.] RayS.]

D. Lapp, et al. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (February 2008), 372 and 380.

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