I apologize for the lengthy gaps between posts; with the end of READ 6308 comes the end of my ability to force my students to contribute to this blog. Although I am currently teaching READ 6309, the focus and organization of the course does not lend itself to blogging—though I hope some of the READ 6309 students will choose to write about what they’re learning in their research.
I am also out of the USA right now, spending two and a half weeks in New Zealand. My major purpose here is to attend the 23rd IRA World Congress, but I’m also taking the time for sightseeing since it seems wrong to take a 12 hour flight for a three day conference. (As an aside, I thought a 12 hour flight would be great for getting a lot of work done, but it turns out that international flights offer free tv/movies and free wine, so my professional reading and that journal article that needs revising stayed in my carryon.)
As a literacy educator, it is inspiring to be in New Zealand, the home of progressive literacy education. This is where big books and shared reading began, where Reading Recovery was developed, where the foundations for whole language took root. While Kiwi educators have their struggles and debates, these issues are framed within a respect for the child and the child’s knowledge, the use of authentic texts, and the belief in the professional abilities of the teacher. This frame is sadly missing in much of the educational discourse in the United States and especially the borderlands.
It looks like I’ll have a lot of time over the next week on busses and trains. I am assured that the scenery will be fascinating, but I am sure that I will also have time to write up some of the things I have learned at this conference. Stay tuned!