Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Topic: Struggling Readers

10-second review: Struggling readers may not improve because of the different identities they choose to assume.

Title: “Struggling Reader, Struggling Teacher: An Examination of Student-Teacher Transactions with Reading Instruction and Text in Social Studies.” LA Hall. Research in the Teaching of English (February 2009), 286-309. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quotes: “Other researchers, however, have posited that the ways students identify themselves as readers and the ways they want others to identify them, can influence their decisions.” p. 287.

“However, they [teachers] are less likely to understand how students’ identities as readers can influence the decisions they make with reading tasks and instruction.” p. 287.

“Teachers may not recognize that the behaviors they request of their students may require them to develop a new identity that they may be uncomfortable with and may also threaten the identity their students are trying to maintain, hide or promote.” p. 287.

“On the surface, it may appear that teachers’ and students’ activities are about cognitive difficulties and motivation, while a closer look is likely to suggest that they are about the identities that are prioritized and marginalized within classrooms.” p. 287.

Comment: This is heavy. Maybe the struggling students do not want other students to think they are accomplished readers. Maybe they are trying to be “cool,” being nonchalant and uninterested in appearing to be achievers. And the source of the reading problem is in how they want to be viewed by the other students.

At first I thought this was a lot of psycho mumbo jumbo. The more I thought about it, I don’t think so. It means the teacher has to go beneath the surface of the students’ behaviors to find the real source of the students’ reading problems.

Interesting. RayS.

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