This is a small discovery–realization really. It is also a large discovery–a revelation that makes a large “chink” sound, as a few more pieces fall into place.
My students recently drafted poems–sonnets or odes. They submitted them to TURNITIN.COM, which we have been using all year. The site allows voice comments, which I have occasionally used for student paragraphs and essays.
For several reasons, which I will describe later, I realized the voice comment feature allows me to first read the poem to the student, before giving suggestions. I let the students hear their poems from another voice, while I meet and start to know that poem.
Some years ago, my wife described the part of teaching that watches performance and tells the child that we are watching. Certainly we give tips on how to improve performance, but we need to remember the value of simply watching and being there with them. The familiarity, knowledge and love that develop as we do this means something for us and the students.
It’s like watching the child who, while standing on the edge of the diving board, calls out, “Mommy, watch me, watch me.” We call back, “OK, I’m watching.” Reading their poems back to them with this technology is like this. I am happy and energized to make the discovery. The process looks simple, but the results feel like more than that.