Choice Words

My Book Group Discussion

   First of all our discussion began with Kaila, who felt that the quote at the end of the first paragraph on pg. 7 about, the better you know something, the more risk you behave egocentrically, so she felt that it is necessary to build a community alike with teacher and students to help close the gap between teacher and learner.
   Then Courtney recognized the quote about Vygotsky on page 2 and this brought up her belief that it is good to acknowledge their culture, because that is the social, and language intellectual life that has been brought up around them.  Then her discussion led into Johnstons' topic of discursive history and how that has made it possible for children to say what they say and believe how they believe.  "So what came first, the stereotype or the actions?  Kind of like, what came first the chicken or the egg?"  It is a vicious circle that students will constantly be dealing with. 
   While Stephanie believes that trying to find ways around acting authoritative and the leader among students, as it mentions throughout the book you should try to avoid, she feels that not acting this way can be difficult at times; like when you really need the class as a whole to settle down or get back to their activities, it is hard to put yourself into a "we" situation at that point.
   All of us agreed that we did not agree with the statement in Table 1.1 that Peter Johnston mentions many times through the book.  "This is not like you".  We all feel that if this is what we were told to convince us to behave because we are acting out of the ordinary, that we would most likely retort back that "you don't know me" at a younger age. 
   We also all agreed that this book was a relatively easy read because of its flowiness and the individualized topics that are explained in plain english.
   Kaila says that she actually feels that there is one exception to saying "this is not like you", which is that the student may begin to feel noticed, so it just depends on whether you know your students personality and whether they may actually appreciation a comment like this.  Probably one of her favorite chunks in the book is the "you are an artist" piece in which the student feels recognized and tries harder! 
   I told the group that in chapter three on pg. 25, I liked the idea that you make the students feel like writers throughout the writing process, and continue it by saying, "I bet you are proud of yourself" which I completely agree that it deducts from the sense that the teacher must give praise and gives headway to the idea that you yourself can give praise to yourself and feel an internal pride.
   Melanie thought that in chapter four when it gives alternatives to saying "but" in your feedback, she says that she now hates the word but in sentences, but is finding it particularly hard to avoid already.  But she knows that we all feel that in the students mind, it takes away from everything positive that is said before the word.  BUT.  But just like I have shown twice, we all came to the conclusion that the word is necessary and not harmful if used as a transition.  Such as these, or a shift in time, or a change of scene or pace. 
   Kaila mentions that a common theme throughout the book is of writing, especially that flexible boundaries are best when it comes to students allowing them to become creative writers.
   Our group lastly discussed the fact that is mentioned in chapter six, that we as teachers can lead our students through all of the steps of making connections for future reference but that we need to teach them to do so in a way that allows them to figure it out later on their own.  And the worst way to do this is through IRE.