Learning only happens for me in one manner. Writing. Today, Will Richardson reminded me of that in his The "Future of Education" webinar (http://bit.ly/K2WJp
Among the numerous topics discussed, was the idea that Educators as Learners are a powerful tool in the classroom. An educator, according to Richardson, is most effective in the classroom when teaching students how to learn, not what to learn. So, first off, the educator himself must be a learner. He pointed to blogging as a process of learning and connecting this learning to communities within social networking sites.
I was excited by Richardson’s reinforcement of what I had been doing for the past month. After being in the home, unemployed, unconnected to the mainstream of education, while I homeschooled my high school child for four years, I had returned to the workplace. I had become an online teacher. The moment I found my fingerpads upon texts related to literature, writing, learning, technology, professional development, or any other subject along those lines, I became overcome by the urge to study.
I wanted to read and write. Then read some more and write some more. I couldn’t get enough. How could I get the information quickly and in mass amounts? I scoured my company’s resource library, I searched the internet, I read books…and eventually ended up at Classroom 2.0.
This is where my thoughts hit the pavement. I consumed information and began writing. Flashbacks of Washington State University's English Department washed across my mind as I remembered concepts like Writing to Know. I wrote and read and wrote and read. As I did so, I created a visual web of knowledge thatI was spreading across my teacher-toolbox like the plague. Then, I took my newly visulized knowledge and posted a link to it on Twitter, where I found even more access to knowledge.
I was reminded of Janet Emig’s landmark article, “Writing as a Mode of Learning,” which stands as foundational text in the Writing to Learn movement. Emig speculated that “writing is neurophysiologically integrative, connective, active, and available for immediate visual review” (Bazerman, et al).
I have been a learner and I have been learning through writing. I am grateful to Will Richardson, today, for reminding me to continue my search for knowledge in the recesses of my own thinking as I apply it to this very paper and connect it to communities of other learners. In this way, I am an English Educator practicing the powerful tool of Writing To Learn.