* “Helping the last become the first”

“Helping the last become the first” is a nugget of wisdom from Dr. Don Leu, Professor of Education at UConn.  I recently watched his podcast in my online class on disciplinary literacy.  I love his suggestion that when new technology is added to the classroom, teachers train the “weakest” or most marginalized students first, so they can teach their peers.  This is a concept similar to my mentoring suggestions, which take advantage of our students’ special interests and abilities, but Dr. Leu is suggesting an even broader scope of supporting our “weakest” students.  His podcast includes an overview of skills needed to read online effectively.  He also summarizes a research study which comes as no surprise: kids from higher income levels have better online reading and research skills.  Dr. Leu states, “in terms of equal opportunity… we [must] begin to aggressively support students’ acquisition of these online reading skills to acquire new information and to learn new things.”  Since we know that race and income are also correlated, here’s yet another area in which our black and Hispanic students need equity.