Reflection: Situated Language and Learning

One part that I found very interesting in this article was the discussion of teaching reading as a cultural process vs an instructed process. The examples of cooking and video games really helped me distinguish what the author meant by a cultural process. I had always hoped that what the author described as a “cultural process” was how my classroom environment was in my own room. I keep wanting to say community instead of cultural process but in my head they are intertwined. As described in the article example about cooking, the adult who is teaching cooking uses different materials, engages the learner and eventually scaffolds for the learner to try the cooking on their own. To me this is a community where the learning is shared and discovered. And as the author states, it is how most kids learn today.

I also want to point out that while this cultural process is a great way to introduce new topics and over all teach I do believe that the traditional way of “instructional process” does have some value. In personal experience I have seen students that have trouble reading, identifying letter names and sounds, become very successful with repetition of letter name and sound. This goes against the cultural approach and leans more with the kill and drill approach. But is some cases I do feel like students need that basic fact/memorization aspect to become better, more successful readers. Something that I do when trying to teach this skill to struggling readers is pair a letter name with its sound and a motion. There is a complete program already made up called sounds and motions. This makes the “kill and drill” approach more appealing to students.

I realize that I went on about this one particular topic but this was a large area of interest to me and I really felt like I could relate to it.

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One thought on “Reflection: Situated Language and Learning

  1. Christina

    Ally, I don’t know if I’d classify what you are doing as “kill and drill” so much as seeing a need and doing your best to meet it. There is nothing wrong with explicit instruction, when it is needed. Gee offers a lot in terms of what should happen (like learning should be a cultural process) but you are teaching in the reality of today. I think you teach 3rd grade (?). You’re students are quickly headed for the fourth-grade slump. You need to do something to try and make up for what they haven’t already received in their first three years in school. Your students don’t have the luxury of time to wait until the American educational system is overhauled. You need to do what you can for them today. Change comes incrementally.

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