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Thinking About Teacher Training


A full year of creating professional development learning experiences has unfurled since returning to my goal of sharing my knowledge of how to teach reading and spelling of individual words with teachers. The year has been filled more than 150 hours of face to face on Zoom meetings with teachers from all over the United States, Canada and even Hong Kong and Dubai. I have spent many more hours planning, revising, and studying to improve my presentations.


By working through the course with many teachers, reflecting up those experiences and recalibrating the presentations for "The Teaching Reading and Spelling, Bringing the Science of Reading into the Classroom" course, it is apparent that the course stands on four strong pillars:

  1. Clear, explicit, systematic presentation of the skills, concepts and procedures integral to the teaching decoding and spelling individual words based on the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy phonology: the letters and their sounds and articulatory features, phonological processing, orthography – the recurring patterns that help a learner think about English orthography not just memorize words, discovering how to read short words and long words, morphology, the meaning of words and syllables, etymology, the history and evolution of words and fluency

  2. The Learner’s Cognitive Architecture – how the brain focuses, takes in information from the senses, remembers and constructs information meaningfully based on task demands

  3. Teacher behaviors facilitate the process, especially by developing feedback dialogues to promote student self-correcting, self-teaching and independent learning: diagnostic teaching, questioning skills, feedback instead of praise and the use of wait time.

  4. The Receptive Learning State: this is a construct that Dr. Hans Miller developed for the teachers and myself at my former clinic, The Kelter Center in Los Angeles. The receptive learning state asks educators to be aware of how their actions establish a trusting and safe learning environment for learners.

I have learned so much during this process, I am filled with gratitude for the educators who are my teachers,

Sasha Borenstein

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