New Yorker cartoons often remind me of the importance of prior knowledge. pic.twitter.com/2zpWXR1ZAk
— Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) July 3, 2018
When Kelly Gallagher tweeted about prior knowledge, he hit on something critical in this idea: that prior knowledge is also culturally dependent.
And this is key: culturally dependent also includes time, place, setting, generational, and fluid. Our cultures are not fixed, but change and shift over time, knowledge, growth, education, movement, context and emotions. We live in our own spaces, and those spaces and ideas are constantly shaped and tested by our times.
So how do we help students acknowledge that because they might not understand a reference, passage, joke, etc. it does NOT mean they’re ‘dumb?’ Because over the dozen years of teaching students from all walks of life one of the first things I see is this helplessness or fear of saying “I don’t get it.” Metacognition is a big word, but students get it. Teach it, have students practice, and recognize when they don’t get something, and most importantly, not be afraid to ask, question, discuss and research.
During my ELL Endorsement coursework this past year and into the summer weeks, we had the pleasure of a teacher in the KSD walk us through culturally relevant teaching practices. I highly recommend AVID Culturally Relevant Teaching: A Schoolwide Approach. Well-organized and accessible, it’s chockfull of lesson and conversation ideas. One lesson was the Where I’m From poem template.
Here’s my offering:
I’d share other photos, etc. but need permission first. Others wrote beautiful, powerful poems, which again reaffirms my belief that writing saves us all.