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A few weekends ago, I was playing music with some friends and we tried out the old standard, “Teach the Children Well” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Singing the lyrics reminded me that the teaching mandate goes two ways; the parents need a little guidance along the way as well as the children.
During my 20 years of teaching high school English and Social Studies, however, I found the power of metaphor stretched far beyond poetry. When extended, a metaphor is more than a descriptive tool; it becomes a system for comprehending and articulating complex concepts.
I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties.
Traditional algebra word problems have a bad rap and for good reason. Students are hardly enamored with content of the typical word problem, and its relevance to the real world is questionable at best.
Human beings were never born to read. Reading or written language is a cultural invention that necessitated totally new connections among structures in the human brain underlying language, perception, cognition, and, in time, our emotions. Reading represents one of the most important epigenetic breakthroughs in the history of the species; our very history was made possible by it.
When we think of the growth mindset, the two characteristics most often mentioned are intelligence and effort. What is just as relevant, but often overlooked, is intellectual curiosity. Sophie von Stumm and her colleagues have described it as “the hungry mind” and “the third pillar of academic success,” which are perfectly appropriate.