21st Century Literacies

Teachers Changing the Way We Read, Write, Think, and Live

A Hypothetical Text Thread with Will Richardson: Unlearning Teaching

A Hypothetical Text Thread with Will Richardson: Unlearning Teaching

Reading, Technology and Me:

The 21st Century is transforming the way that our students are learning, the way we are teaching them and the way that we are interacting with colleagues.  Education is evolving and so is the way we as life-long learners dialogue with the academic texts we read.  I recently read Will Richardson’s Learning on the Blog, and after a semester of learning to dialogue with the pedagogical texts of the leading authors in education I wondered to myself, what would a conversation with Will Richardson look like.  How would I communicate with him?  What advice would he give me, a novice teacher in the field?  Surrounded by technology and attached to my iPhone, I concocted a two way dialogue.


The following text message thread is an interpretation of my reading from Learning on the Blog: Unlearning Teaching, by Will Richardson.  The green text boxes are paraphrased quotes from this section of the reading and the green text messages are my dialogue with that text. 

An Afterthought:

While going through this blogging process I realized this dialogue with the reading was not only educational for myself but the process of creating a text thread was really fun for me.  I am thinking of using this in my classroom...

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Tags: #ENG506

Comment by Rebecca Welton on November 29, 2013 at 8:41pm


For some reason your text message conversation isn't showing up on the post, but I am sure it was an interesting dialogue. I like how you chose not only to read Will Richardson but experiment with his ideas and work your way through them in a practical manner. I particularly liked his statements about the necessity of "useful ignorance", and agree that it does help facilitate inquiry. If you are ignorant about something, it isn't necessarily a bad thing for the teacher or the student as they can learn together. "Unlearning teaching" I also feel is especially important if teachers are to reach their students in effective ways in the classroom. Rather than being preachy, the teacher becomes yet another explorer on a journey of learning.

Comment by Kerri Valesey on December 1, 2013 at 10:56pm

I like the way that you set up this blog post! The question and answer format where you engage with the text was really cool to see- I totally could see using this to teach students how to incorporate quotes to enhance their writing.

The most important thing that I've gained from Richardson is what you've outlined here; we learned in a different educational environment that was very different that the one that we are inheriting as novice educators.  This new environment is one that is intrinsically tied to the technological environment that surround it.  It has changed the face of education; it has changed the face of our "individual" subjects. Crossing the different divides to make learning more interdisciplinary and practicing that learning together with students will bring a more authentic value to the learning as well. 

"Unlearning" teaching is so important because we are not experts at everything.  I definitely agree with Rebecca that we need to approach teaching in a more collaborative manner, in which we step off the "stage" of our predecessors, and down into the crowd, where we can be on more of an equal level with our students.

Comment by John Brewer on December 5, 2013 at 3:56pm

Wow.  Courtney, this post is pleasing visually and textually.  I like the color-coded conversation that you have with yourself.  It really allows us (your peers) inside your head as you dealt with a rather complex text.  Richardson believes that teachers should be "master learners".  What better way to model learning for your students than by showing students this very process.  Allow them to model how you learn.  In addition, I truly appreciate the way your blog points out the necessity of teachers removing their ego from the classroom.  The educational system has changed, so should teachers.

Comment by Ben Pisani on December 5, 2013 at 8:36pm

Courtney, your post method is awesome.  Not only is the information important, but your delivery method is great.  Not only do the text boxes grab the attention of the reader, the conversation you have is very informative.  Teachers definitely have to come to terms with the fact that they won't always have the answer for everything when they approach the class.  If they are on par with the students and create a sort of lab, the students will be much more likely to learn with the teacher!  Well done!


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