Teaching for Student Success
By Linda Moyer
well into the new school year and teachers are feeling the heat to improve
student achievement. History tells us that we must prepare for the future. If
what we are doing isn’t working to achieve our goals, then we must look at
ourselves and decide to make changes within us—our teaching styles—instead of
blaming our students. Our students are our stakeholders and just like a
corporation, we need to meet the needs of our stakeholders and customers if we
want education to prosper. How do you
plan on thriving this year?
with demands and challenges of a new year, I have encouraged our educators to
follow a sequential process for theory lessons. We are well aware that
lecturing in this day and age is old school. So how can students gain the
knowledge that they need to be successful? As an educator myself I teach
students strategies, offer them resources, and guide them to be life-long
learners instead of spoon feeding them information. In so doing, students have
the necessary tools to enter any workforce or post secondary environment that
sparks their interest.
a high school student I was convinced that I wanted to be a nurse. Because I
did poorly on my entrance exams for nursing school, I settled to complete a
practical nursing certificate at a local community college. I remained in the
nursing field, which sustained my life in the eighties, but sought a career
change in the nineties, which led to opening my own freelance pastry business. Becoming
overwhelmed and disappointed as a business owner, I stepped back into the
nursing world for a few years, only to end up in education in 1999, teaching
pastry arts. To this day I am currently at the same school where I am now a literacy
the seventies, when I was sure I wanted to be nurse, there was no such
occupation as a literacy coach or academic integration specialist. Who would
have thought I would now have a passion for reading, when my comprehension and
reading skills fell below the average to become a registered nurse? Who would
have thought I would be speaking to teachers, presenting at educational
conferences and encouraging students to work on communication skills; the girl
who had a lisp in elementary school and whose public speaking classes would
bring such anxiety that the sweat would bead upon her upper lip and run down
the middle of her back. When I think back to my high school days, my teachers
could not have prepared me to be a literacy integration instructor because
there was no such thing. However, what my teachers did give me were the tools
to improve my comprehension, reduce anxiety when speaking and find my passion. Although
it took me years to identify my passion, I was able to use those strategies to
persevere into the unknown of a literacy integration instructor four years ago.
a literacy integration instructor, professional development for my coworkers is
a large component of my job. It is my goal to help teachers embed the tools
into their curriculum that will inspire students to:
their comprehension and desire to read
their creative and professional writing skills
discussions, engage in debates and frequently utilize short oral presentations
to practice not only speaking but listening as well.
whether it be oral, written or non-verbal, are dire necessities to recovery and
sustainability of our global society.
this year as teachers work diligently to strengthen the education of our youth,
I would encourage you to use the following sequential process during a lesson
that is more student focused than teacher focused.
and prepare each lesson in advance.
warm-ups every day to prepare the
brain for learning.
word walls to tap into students’
prior knowledge, improve spelling, speaking and writing.
the strategy of previewing the text
to allow students to think about what they are going to read and give them a purpose for reading.
- Practice the concept or skill with
a hands-on application or real-life application.
an exit ticket to evaluate students
understanding and your teaching practices.
- Reflect on each class to identify
changes for a better lesson on the next day.
today’s world we must impress upon our students the need to sustain education
as we prepare them for occupations that are not yet known. Although it is important for students to learn
about something they enjoy, it is equally important that we teach them to be
life-long learners using strategies and tools that will help them transition
into a passion that is just waiting to be discovered.
type of strategies are you using to improve student achievement in your
Linda worked with
ACTE this summer to create how-to videos, templates and handouts to help
you master several strategies in an important area of comprehension:
pre-reading. This Literacy Library
includes the following pre-reading strategies:
- GIST—Generating Interactions Between Schemata and Text
- Word Walls
- Previewing the Text
- Writing on the Wall