I would imagine that when a carpenter looks at all the world he sees a nail, and when a mathematician stops to look he may see the world in numbers, patterns, and algorithms. What lens does the elementary teacher see through?
My first hip shot reaction to such a question would be the "literacy lens." We teach students, ultimately, to be literate. Right? It is the central theme around all that we do and is integrated heavily within every single subject we teach. If students are not literate than most likely they are struggling in our building.
This is not to say that we are not teaching Math or Science or Social Studies because of course we are. However, even in Math, at least at the fifth grade level, there is a tremendous amount of "literacy" involved with problem solving and developing written responses to solutions.
So what then is the definition of "literacy?" What does it mean to be literate, especially in the 21st Century?
Literacy according to NCTE:
Twenty-first century readers and writers need to:
- Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
- Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
- Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
"...Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies - are multiple, dynamic, and malleable."
Here lies the lens at which I see the world ~ a complex idea of literacy in our day and age.
Ever since Alan November came to our school I have delved into the world of technology. Probably more out of curiosity than anything else, but I discovered that the world outside of our classrooms are changing dramatically and maybe just maybe, if all we do is teach our kids to be able to read and write that it might not be enough.