My name is Mark, and I like to read, write, and talk about language and literacy.
I design and deliver professional learning, look at research, and write and think about how to help schools improve teaching and learning for children.
I come to research on language and literacy as someone who has been in the classroom, and then out in the field supporting schools, during which time I had little incentive to read esoteric research. To be frank, when you are in a school, the more immediate and salient concerns are getting the next week’s lessons prepared, IEP goals written, and bulletin boards created for the upcoming superintendent’s visit, amongst ten thousand other things that overwhelm your every minute, every day, every weekend. It has only been when I moved into a supporting role and needed to constantly prepare professional learning for other school teams and teachers that I gained the impetus to dig deeper into unfiltered research.
I suspect that sometimes academics looking at schools from the outside think educators have some basic understandings and knowledge of foundational research on literacy and language development, but this is a problematic assumption to make. Educators most often have to take their own time to begin exploring, or be fortunate enough to have knowledgeable instructional leaders sharing the evidence base with them, to be familiar with even the most basic of theoretical literacy frameworks such as The Simple View of Reading, or know how to articulate individual phonemes (a skill that is trickier than it appears and requires practice). Don’t even get me started on teacher preparation programs—though I do think some slow advancements are happening there.
Thanks for joining me.