Critical Reading and Writing Class

Today is one of those days that I am just so grateful to be alive and healthy. I had my favorite education class this morning, which is critical reading and writing in my content area, and I absolutely love that class and the people in it. I have the class from 8:00-10:00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and I didn't’t mind at all getting up. I have many friends in this class, and it was always nice to start my day off seeing all of them. Also, Professor Lewellen has the most comforting presence; she is extremely blunt about the realities of teaching, but she counteracts those realities with the joys of teaching. She has a ton of real classroom experience  and has the biggest bag of tricks that I have ever heard of. She is also so motherly in that she is always encouraging us to come to her with anything we need throughout our student teaching. I know it is silly, but it means a lot to have someone with her level of expertise be so honest and genuine with her students.

            For the last portion of this class we have been discussing students who do not speak English as their primary language, English Language Learners or ELL. These students are becoming more and more common in schools, so UD has been trying to prepare us for the extremely challenging task of teaching these students. I have been blessed to have had such  great professors who have helped me gain the understanding and insight into students in this situation. I have had two professors in particular Dr. Hart and Prof. Lewellen who have really made ELL students a priority for me. In Dr. Hart’s class, we learned how to work with these students and help them transition to a new environment. In Prof. Lewellen’s class we have polished the skills from Dr. Hart’s class and learned tangible strategies for teaching these students. One of the most meaningful things we did in Lewellen’s class was read a book called Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. The book is technically for middle school readers, but it is a fantastic read. It is about a boy who was relocated from Africa to the U.S. The book is written from this boy’s perspective and it really helped me understand exactly how an ELL student may feel. For our final project, we have to develop strategies as if we were teaching this student in one of our classes. I enjoy projects like this because it is something that I can take with me and already have prepared for when I teach.

            Obviously I could go on and on about how much I love this class, but I think you get the point. UD’s teacher education department is not just about teaching content specific strategies, but rather it is about teaching each individual student. UD does not believe in the “best practices” approach because every student is a unique learner and must be taught uniquely.  


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