I was reading the wiki postings of students from one of the sections of content area reading that I teach. For the entire semester I have pushed the idea of a Learning Cycle - a three-part way to plan lessons that is congruent with workshop-style classes, inquiry and discovery lessons, and direct instruction. Every lesson I have taught has been organized according to this three-part pattern. A requirement of my course is that my students review and comment on lesson plans created by students from another university and posted on a shared Wiki. One of my students posted a comment about another students' lesson, one that was crafted according to this three part learning cycle [although it was described using the terminology from Laura Robb's book, before-during-after, terminology I have used as well]. My student was impressed by the lesson because she claimed never to have seen this three-part way to plan a lesson. How can this be? I felt like screaming.
What scares me is that if pre-service teachers cannot make connections between what they have experienced, been taught, and read about and the same concept couched in other terms, how are they going to make connections between student responses to what they are doing instructionally and their own teaching decisions made on the fly when data from 20-30 students is coming at them at the speed of light?
Well, I've whined enough - maybe after fall break things will look up. So many of these students show such potential - I know that they will go out and truly change their students' lives. Their analyses of student responses to their strategic content area literacy assessment were thoughtful - and many were at a level I would have expected only from practicing teachers with several years of experience. Their assessments were so well done, I should probably think about those students who are already showing insight beyond their own experience and realize that what I've told my own students is true: you won't ever stop trying to reach all your students, but you can't beat yourself up if you don't reach all of them.