Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New ways of teaching the same stuff

"We work top down", the educator said. "We first teach our kids to appreciate literature, and then teach them the rules that govern language." It sounded like a lot of jargon to me. We had studied English the conventional way, and there wasn't anything fundamentally wrong with us, was there?

But then I looked at the books my son has to "study" in grade three- two Roald Dahls and Gulliver's Travels. Books perfect for eight year olds. Books which the kids are sure to enjoy. Books that have real emotions and lessons.

I realized different need not always be suspicious.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.


Margot Kinberg said...

Natasha - Oh, how interesting that you've gotten a sense of "top down" processing! Research shows convincingly (well, at least I am convinced) that we read and process knowledge first in a "global" way, and then we pay attention to the details. That is, we process both "top down" and "bottom up." Neither way is enough in itself. So it makes sense that your son's teacher would include "top down" teaching in the curriculum.

ViolaNut said...

Top down, bottom up, whatever, I just love Roald Dahl. ;-)

Amy said...

Ah, such a huge debate in early literacy. I particularly prefer the balanced literacy approach, but I feel like top down works better than bottom up in MOST cases.

And Roald Dahl is a great choice! Full of imagination and symbolism. It's a shame that some of his books are actually banned here in the US.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We get used to how it's always been, don't we?

djskrimiblog said...

When you are a teacher, you started out as a learner, and one thing I have learned is that people learn in different ways. So a mixture of new and old methods may be the best to make sure that ALL children make the most of their abilities - and offering them good stories must be one of the routes to success.

Anu said...

loved reading this, esp as i had a similar conversation with samhith's teacher last year... they dont learn grammar as we did, and when i asked her, she replied, " we teach children first how to make sentences. what is more important? knowing how to form a perfect sentence or knowing which grammatical units make up a sentence?" I was lost for words, but accepted her ideas, considering that he does learn the important stuff...all we need to see is how they go on from here.... and yes, Roald Dahl is the main author on their bookshelf too, and Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate factory have been major hits!

KarenG said...

Reading is one of the best ways to learn punctuation and grammar, altho I am sad to see that the actual working skills are no longer taught in schools. At least not in the U.S.


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