How am I teaching with intent to promote purposeful learning?


More often than not, educators’ minds are constantly reflecting on best teaching practices, effective literacy programs, the review process for Response to Intervention, and more importantly, on the answer to the above question. In order to reflect on how you are teaching with intent to promote purposeful learning, you must first develop an understanding of what it means to “teach with intent.” Recently, literacy experts Irene Fountas and Mary Rosser exposed other literacy specialists to several informative articles to help develop a deeper understanding of what it means to teach with intent.

This post will focus on one of those articles.  In the article, Explicit Teaching as Enabling Literacy Practices, Dr. Christine Edward-Groves, a literacy lecturer from Charles Sturt University, shares what good teaching looks like, sounds like, and feels like through “enabling” practices.  She defines “enabling” as a practice that affords learners an opportunity to go on with their education.  Her statement struck me as a powerful one because of our recent emphasis on scores and not on promoting students’ reading performance through teaching with intent.  Her examples, key points made, and reflection grabbed my attention and shifted my thinking back to where it needs to be:  enabling opportunities for students to have purposeful learning.

Dr. Christine Edward-Groves believes that classrooms have one thing in common:  “they are [all] unique social sites.”  She states that “[c]lassroomsprovide an interconnected linguistic, physical and social space for student learning—the dimensions of saying, doing, and relating.”  Providing students with activities, learning experiences, and interactions fosters participation around literacy and enables students to enter their learning experiences with clarity. She also reminds us of another critical layer:  engaging in reflection.  Some key reflective questions found in Edward-Groves article include “What do I want my students to learn?”  “What do my students hear and understand to be going on?”  “What interactive opportunities do I provide for students to work independently and collectively with others to reflect on and articulate?”  Dr. Edward-Groves believes teachers can form a reflective self-understanding of their role, which then leads to developing deeper understanding and insight as to how one is teaching with intent to promote students’ learning.

Maybe you, too, feel that our weighty conversations have been too much
on scores and not enough on promoting purposeful learning.  If you
have been easily thrown off the “how to enable” learning track, you
might find comfort in reading this article and reflecting on
your literacy practices and literacy interactions, as these are the
vehicles to seeking the answer to the question “How are you teaching with intent to promote purposeful learning?”

Frances Malave

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