I found this image on google's homepage today to be very appropriate. Tom Sawyer ‘tricking’ kids into painting the fence, used in the article Tom Sawyer, Teaching and Talking (from Adolescent Literacies) as a metaphor for the teacher-learner relationship. Teachers have to get students interested in the material so that work becomes fun, just like chores. But more than that, it’s Tom’s high level ability to use oracy to convince his peers that something is fun and interesting that appeals to me; to give every student in the classroom the skills and confidence in their oracy abilities that they too can be a ‘Tom Sawyer’.
I find it interesting that students have far less diverse vocabulary at school then they do at home. Someone brought up the fact that in school, students are so used to being talked at, that they hardly get a chance to talk themselves.
I envision my ELA classroom to not only be enriched with written language, but also spoken language. Fostering healthy communication between peers, and facilitating meaningful group discussions is a way to start to build a democratic society in the classroom, which is the ultimate goal. Students should feel like they have a voice, and through ELA learn to express themselves in many mediums and for many purposes.