Busywork Learns from Youngandfun
Professor Busywork sat at his desk, surfing the Internet doing research as his students devoured Great Expectations. At least it looked
like they were devouring Great Expectations, since two-thirds of the class had their heads on top of the book with saliva dripping onto the pages. It was only four minutes into class, so the onslaught of copying answering questions at the end of chapter 23 had yet to commence.
After school, Professor Busywork lamented the lack of quality in his students' answers. Professor Youngandfun next door recommended his literature-based teaching strategies. Busywork concurred, and then asked, "What the heck are they?" Here, according to Houghton Mifflin Company, is the answer:
"Literature-based instruction is the type of instruction in which authors' original narrative and expository works are used as the core for experiences to support children in developing literacy. The types of activities done with the literature are the natural types of things children and adults would do when reading and responding to any good book."
General strategies include:
- Scaffold Instruction - Give structure, lots of it at first. Take away structure little by little until students can do it by themselves.
Modeling - As you read or discuss a literary work, think out loud. The out-loud parts of your thoughts should be restricted to the literature and how you process what you read. (Thoughts like "I'm going to pound the snot out of that kid if he doesn't shut up" should be kept to yourself.)
- Cooperative Learning - Students don't mind taking risks in small groups. Structured cooperation involving higher level thinking skills makes a great alternative to the traditional "teacher ask questions as students drool" teaching strategy.
- Independent Reading - The whole purpose of an education is to develop independent reading, writing, and thinking skills. Independent reading allows all three.
- Literary Response - Students should be encouraged to respond to what they read.
These general strategies are the foundation.