Ryan Barrios, 31, aims to be teaching History in Poudre School District when he graduates, and is genuinely excited by his prospects and some of the teaching concepts he has learned.
“They are talking about how a lot of students, when they’re younger, they’re not literate as in speaking or writing English, but they’re able to understand what they read.”
“With New Literacies some kids are computer literate, but they can’t read a book. Then you throw them on a computer and they can surf the web and they’re technologically advanced.”
Of course the main problem is that the school has to provide the technological equipment that would enable you to develop and utilize the “New Literacies” concept. But, this possible hiccup hasn’t dimmed Barrios’ desire to effect change in the classroom.
“I think the program at CSU is really good. Some of the classes that they are teaching, like the neuroscience class, I mean learning literacy through learning how the brain functions, a lot of schools don’t teach that.”
“The programs here, they give you new information that hasn’t been used in the past. So, when we get in we’ll know it as schools are trying to implement it. So, it won’t be like you’re trying to learn it on the job, we’ll already be trained for that.”
Barrios would prefer to be located somewhere within the Poudre School District, but he understood that it might not be possible.
“I hear that they do really good things, and obviously they are centered on the students.”
The problem with other districts was obvious to Barrios, “Students just aren’t that important.”
Barrios was also concerned with the possible effect of having multiple mother tongues spoken in the classroom.
“I don’t feel I’m well prepared for that situation. I also think that it gets really tough now, because in the past in Colorado it was Spanish. You had ELL & ESL students, so you had to learn Spanish to teach. But now you’re getting students from Asia and Africa, from all over the place and they don’t speak Spanish,” laughed Barrios.
“So how can they require a language in school for teachers, when they have no idea what languages your students are going to speak? It’s really tough, and it’s something I think about all the time.”
It appears that Barrios’ fears aren’t completely unfounded either. The most recent data available on the Poudre School District website states that there are a total of 73 native languages spoken in PSD schools.
Ultimately, Barrios’ excitement for his prospective career was winning the day, “The way that they are training us to teach, it won’t be the same as when we were kids.”
“It won’t be based around the style of rote teaching. It’ll be based around a lot of open dialogue, students learning through experiences, relating things together.”
Barrios felt that had this style of teaching been available when he was in high school, then his own participation level might have been higher.
“I think it would help to keep more students interested, not just keep bombarding them with facts. It helps them to understand and relate to the material.”
“I’m really looking forward to teaching that way.”
© 2012 Jamie M. Bradley All Rights Reserved