Thursday, August 28, 2008

I am a techno-pedagogical bibliophile

After a presentation about my research, given as part of the interview marathon leading up to a tenure track position, I was asked, "So, it is clear you like technology -- do you believe books still play a role in school?"

It is true that long ago I fell in love with the learning made possible with technology. However, long before I touched my first computer, I was already in love with books. My childhood love affair with books and reading started well before kindergarten and lasts to this day. My mother read hundreds of books to my siblings and me, and I read often to my younger sister. Books were cherished and enjoyed in my home. Mom took us to the library to borrow books with our own library cards. I observed my parents and siblings reading and enjoying literature at home. I read favorite books over and over again. I brought books camping, on road trips and to school. I read my mother’s well-worn copies of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s three Anne Shirley books, and continue to reread and enjoy them as an adult. I saved my weekly allowance to buy the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, and all of Judy Blume’s books. Laura’s stories sparked a lasting interest in pioneer tales and literary autobiography that influenced my pursuit of an English degree.

I absolutely love in-depth inquiry into good literature - be it holding and owning beautiful books, or accessing the plethora of good texts and resources available online. My iPod is full of great podcasts that enable me to access people and ideas as I drive my car.

I am a techno-pedagogical bibliophile. I adore books. I collect books. I wish I could write novels that other people would read and enjoy. I fill bags of books I have read and pass these along to my mom and my siblings, and they do the same for me. I browse the shelves of colleagues for books I might enjoy, and give books for presents. My children have hundreds, maybe even more than a thousand books -- I buy these new and gather armloads of children's books at garage sales. I hope to inspire my own children and my students to cultivate a lifelong habit of reading for enjoyment, recreation and learning - I broadly define texts to include and go beyond books. As you can imagine, when and were created, I was among the first to partake in the absolute joy and expensive pleasure of buying hundreds of pounds of books online using my credit card and my keyboard. I still buy thousands of dollars of books a year online. And I also enjoy hunting down good podcasts and websites and blogs and edit a scholarly journal and believe in open source publishing. You get the picture. Techno-pedagogical bibliophile. Perhaps I have coined a new term, or even a new condition.

Here is a Book by David Bouchard that I recommend to all of my student teachers.

David Bouchard, with Sally Bender, Anne Letain and Lucie Poulin-Mackey, 205+ pages, 2004, Orca Book Publishers

“we must seek out that part of our children’s hearts that will make them want to read”

“in order to light a fire in the hearts of our children, a fire must be burning within our own hearts” (p. 10)

WHY does Michele love this book (and highly recommend it for your professional library)?

Several good reasons:

“Reading holds out to us … access to the greatest range of thought possible. Reading offers all of us access to the world so that we come better to understand ourselves, those around us, history, culture and science” (p. 10)

• GOOD AUTHORITY: Written by an award winning children’s book author and three classroom teachers, one of whom makes recommendations of French books.

• REACHING OUT TO ALL KIDS: Offers good book suggestions for connecting with kids on the margins (p. 87)

• ALL AGES / CROSS CURRICULAR: In seven chapters, 1 author and 4 teachers recommend books for children pre-conception to two, 3 – 5 year olds, 6 – 8 year olds, 9 – 11 year olds, 12 – 14 year olds, and 15+ years old.

• OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English and French books across the curriculum

• OLDIES AND NEWBIES: Classics from 50 years ago to very recent publications

• CLASSROOM TESTED ADVICE: Chapter 9 on Do’s and Don’t of reading
o Do become addicted to books / Do make reading a sacred ritual / Do surround yourself with your favorite books / Do work at making your children believe they are readers – we are what we think we are / Do not test the pleasure out of reading. Do not dissect, analyze and make kids memorize every book.

• Chapter 8 on Resources for administrators, teachers and parents – EVEN HOCKEY PLAYERS READ, DRAW AND TELL STORIES


Donna said...

Good luck! I hope you are successful in getting the tenure position. It is very deserved!


GirlProf said...

Thanks, Donna -- I did get the position -- I was talking about an interview years ago (when I was younger and fresher and less tired).
;-) Cheers

GirlProf said...


I love book lists because I get additional ideas about books that I was not aware of - as a teacher, I find that lists are extremely helpful for me and my students to find books that appeal to any palate.... Many kids benefit from lists so they can begin to develop tastes and preferences -- if you only eat macaroni, and only see macaroni at home, and only see macaroni at school, then you think that that is all there is to pasta. But, if you are exposed to lasagna, canneloni, cous cous, rigatoni, penne, linguini and quinoa, red sauce and white sauce and vegetarian and meat sauce, then your world opens up! Some you like, some you don't, but at least you know that there are many more choices than macaroni.

GirlProf said...

Love this resource on dual language books: