Elementary Feelings

Monday was a great day. During the evening class (LLED 360) I was super hungry and managed to win a large sour soother for my poor tum by composing a passive sentence:

The stomach was made hungry by the offer of candy.

What’s more, my teacher asked me if he could share a piece of art I created for one of the reading responses we had to do in his class. Woohoo! I felt like I was in elementary class all over again, what with sugar and encouragement.

First I’ll show you the important stuff, and then you can hit the link for more.
Sour keysThis is the picture that I created after reading the first chapter in our textbook Building Academic Language by Jeff Zwiers. Our assignment each week is to take a word or phrase that sticks out from the text and respond to it by discussing what thoughts the phrase brings up and why or how the phrase is relevant to education. The phrase I chose was “language’s ‘symbols'” (Zwiers 13).

This phrase stuck out as I was reading the chapter because it immediately reminded me of Saussure’s discourses on signifiers and what they signified, and how communication is in essence a constant translation between two people. That is to say, we never hear exactly what the other person means. Zwiers expounds on this idea, stating that “a listener, for example, has expectations about the speaker’s topic and predicts what will be said” (Zwiers 12). Unfortunately a listener’s expectations may not be always the same as the speaker’s meaning, and so there will be a barrier in communication. The teacher’s job is then to break down this barrier so that both teachers and students have a shared knowledge of symbols, or a shared set of signifiers and signifieds.
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The attached picture then demonstrates a teacher taking time to help a student learn a new symbol so that the student can understand and learn in class. Panel 1 shows the student’s own experience, and panel 2 shows the confusion that can occur when the student’s signified does not match with the signified of the teacher and of other students. Panel 3 shows the same student thinking back on his experience in panel 1 and the teacher taking time to explain that the signifier can mean both signifieds. Finally panel 4 shows the student having learned a new signified, having adapted to the school because someone took the time to explain a new signifier / signified.
I am only beginning to understand how teachers should share materials that either help them or other peers or even students in education, so here’s my first contribution (to the imaginary wide world of teachers)! Feel free to use this image for your studies (except don’t call it your own work because that’s plagiarism and you could get in trouble XD).
Until next time, imaginary wide world of teachers!




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