Blogging as Gallagher's "meaningful collaboration"
Reading and commenting on people's blogs last night inspired me to go back and re-read and think more about the early chapters in our book. When I read again the following lines, I was struck by the connection between my own blogging experience and Gallagher's method:
The richer the text, the harder it is for any single reader to uncover it all on a first reading. Beacuse of this, it is important that students be given time to discuss what they discovered while reading ...the act of collaboration itself raises the reading comprehension of every student in our classes; thus, it's important for us teachers to build in meaningful collaboration time for our students. (17)Reading and writing on this blog has given me a chance to share what I'm discovering and learn from the discoveries of others (even those who are reading different books, since what we are talking about is so connected). In college-- and I assume at all levels-- the pressure to cover a maximum of material in a minimum of time often means we short change meaningful collaboration (both in reading and writing).
And, as someone who coaches faculty on how to integrate writing into their courses, I find his assertions about our responsibility to teach students how to read effectively (particularly those that remind teachers about their self-interest) very helpful:
If we simply assign writing instead of teaching students how to write, we'll get poor writing. If we simply assign reading instead of teaching students how to read, we'll get poor reading. (7)At first I was troubled (as I think you were, Kim) by his comment "As their teacher, I am the determining factor when it comes to how deeply my students will comprehend," but now I'm seeing that more as a polemic to keep us from "passing the buck" or acting like we can't do anything when it comes to our students' reading comprehension.