I’d like to go back and take up the question I asked from my first blog post about Cassazza’s article. My question was basically how much of the various fields related to reading and reading development do we as teachers need to be familiar with. Though I feel that I am still pretty far from a definitive answer, I’d like to tentatively postulate the idea that we only really need to be familiar with those aspects of theory and related fields which have a direct connection with our student population and our goals. While it would be nice to have a deeper knowledge of many of the throries and fields that swirl around developmental reading like planets around a distant star (and I’m certain that this knowledge could easily classified as the kind of career development which is both beneficial and promoted amongst the majority of professionals in our field), the fact is that, as I mentioned in my first post, this is not always practical or even possible.
I expect that focusing in on the issues and theories most pertinent to a population of students would change according to the situation a teacher found themselves in, yet nonetheless I believe there are at least some “near universal” concepts which would serve almost any teacher of FYC. One of these for example would be the issue of high school/college transfer and preparation. I notice this is an issue frequently discussed in the readings we have been doing, and for good reason I think, as almost anyone who goes on to teach FYC will eventually come across the dilemma of how to handle this situation. Another area which I’m sure would merit attention would be returning and older students and the very different challenges that they face in going through FYC. Studying the theories, fields and practices related to these two populations alone would undoubtedly give us a great advantage in our classes. Of course these are not comprehensive. If for example, I choose to do extensive work disabled populations, I would need to refocus my research and learning to cover this population.
I suppose the conclusion I’m getting at is that it is really up to the individual teacher( with perhaps guidance from those around them), to make the decision of what is or is not important to them in the wide range of developmental reading and FYC topics. This, coupled with the idea of career long development, I think starts to give an answer to the question that I posed.