Education: an observation

I know that I am so not qualified to comment on this, and that I have friends way more qualified to do so (see: Mr. and Mrs. Blaine  Barbee) but it was so nuts this week to go from teaching my eight year olds at Writopia to reading with 8 years in Bedstuy with New york cares. At Writopia, 8 year old Julia explains to a fellow eight year old who’s new to Writopia: if you get stuck in your story, you can ask Bekah for a prompt, or just look around the room for inspiration. It might end up being a bit of a non-sequitur, but that could be really exciting and cool. In Bedstuy, 8 year old Lorraine reads a whole chapter of a book sans inflection. When I ask her some comprehension questions – turns out she’s kind of getting it, but missing a lot of the meaning. She also struggles with the word ‘handkerchief’ and when I try to explain it to her it seems completely insane (and I agree) that someone would carry around with them a piece of cloth to blow their nose in. It reminds me of a conversation with Blaine re: the standardized tests for ESL kids, and how oftentimes there will be questions about upper class things like sailing, and the kids are like, what the heck is sailing? I guess my observation is just: there’s a huge huge huge divide that has everything to do with whether or not the kid is encouraged to read at home, or communicate with an expansive vocabulary.

I had to look up how to spell Non sequitur.

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