Sam Seidel, director of K12 strategy and research at Stanford d. School, speaks about the importance of engaging young people in text that they find meaningful and building literacy through various forms of text.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Schools have it all wrong. I think you need to like read the things first and then you get to do. And then in fact, the whole way that humans have been created and learned language was through making things with their hands. That then they then needed words to describe.
When we think about literacy and there’s a bunch of considerations. So one is like who’s deciding what counts as literate? What counts as text? What counts as the proper standard language? I’ve had students, who I was told by other teachers and administrators were illiterate, who had notebooks full of writing but it wasn’t writing in the form that those other educators could recognize.
So even though there was all this text that could prove the opposite in the eyes of the institution. This young person wasn’t literate. So part of it has to do with how we’re understanding, what we even mean by something like literacy? Another piece of it from my experience is about engaging young people in texts, that they find meaningful and there’s so many ways to do that.
One way is to sort of sell it. And what I mean by that is to bring something in within a fire that you feel around it that it’s contagious and I’ve had that experience as a teacher. And I had teachers, who when I was a student brought texts to me that were not things I necessarily would have checked for in the library on my own but that I caught the fire because they felt the fire. So that’s one way.
S way is to just ask the students, like what are the texts that are lighting you up. Those might be paper texts. Those might be audio texts. Those might be visual film or other sorts of texts and to build from there. And then there’s also the process of co-creation, right? And I’ve seen all of those ways in work really well. But I think the key is that there has to be a true enthusiasm and desire on the student’s part to learn and understand.