Kathryn Hastings, an associate prfoessor and Director of Reading Programs at Eastern University College of Education in Pennsylvania, attended my 2018 Summer Course. She was clearly excited about her learning during the course and we have been in contact about ways to bring this new understanding to her education classes.

They have just started their course work, and the other day Kathryn sent me a copy of the first student reflection she received. She was right to be excited by what her student expressed after this very first exposure to a linguistically valid undersstanding of how English orthography works through studying it through a "structured word inquiry" (2018) approach. 

With the permission of Kathryn and Megan Trexler, I am posting her 3 page reflection at THIS LINK. I'll paste a screen shot of the first page to whet your appetite for the whole thinks.

One reason I wanted to share this piece by Megan is that she does such a great job at capturing the essense of being introduced to the logic of English spelling for the first time.

She expresses the joy and engagement in the process, "I thought about the activity that we did in class last week. I was completely engaged in the lesson, and I left class wondering why. How could a lesson that is meant for younger children be so engaging for a group of adults?"

And she offers a perspective that totally reflects the refrain that nothing motivates like understanding, and the lack of motivation that is the result of memorization. "I was beginning to question things that I had never even thought about before, so I was completely curious. What else have I not thought about in regards to spelling? Again, as a student, I might have been given a list of words to spell, define, and use in a sentence. Nothing about that approach utilized generative concepts."

In the SWI community, the investigations can sometimes get quite complicated -- especially for people new to this understanding. But that's just the normal process that happens as anyone gains expertise in any domain. (I highly recommend a short article by John Salvatier titled "Reality has a surprising amount of detail" that articulates this point extremely well.) Those discussions are very exciting for those with a bit of experience behind them, but seem "over the top" to those new to this understanding, and thus inhibit interest in some. One thing I love about Megan's message is that she articulates the profound learning experiences that can occure with just a very intial exposure. 

Megan asks some quesions in her piece. I'll respond to some of those in the comments. I hope that others in Megan's class and around the world respond to what she has to share. I'd love this post to offer a launching pad for discussions of these ideas and others as Kathryn's class continues this journey.

Hats of to Kathryn and Megan for getting this orthographic ball rolling!

Below is a screenshot of page 1. You definitely want to download the full 2.5 pages HERE.


Screen Shot 2018 09 06 at 11.05.45 AM