Teaching vs Assuming

'My reading comprehension is so-so, but I do make up for it with my highlighting skills.'


While teaching a third year university course in the Early Childhood Program I(Cathy) caught myself making assumptions about my students’ levels of comprehension.  While working with with one student who seemed to lack a focus in her paper, I asked her to take the article we were examining home with her and highlight the important issues she noted on each page.  When we next met, I asked to see the article;  every paragraph was highlighed; every word was now encased in bright neon yellow.  When I asked her if she thought perhaps a point made in one paragraph could be more important than another she insisted that it was all important because it had been published.  Images of classes I had taught to elementary school children on discernment of text and critical thinking, and critical pedagogy flashed through my mind.  Was she never taught this?  I had assumed my third year students would arrive in my class with this skill. I was wrong. So now what?

I smiled at her . “Let’s look at the first paragraph together,” I said. I knew I couldn’t catch her up with her many lost years, but we could make a start. Such is teaching.



About Dr. Cathy Miyata

Cathy Miyata is a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also an acclaimed storyteller and writer. She has performed and lectured in Serbia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, the United States, Egypt, and across Canada

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