In my lifetime, I have had various experiences with reading and writing. Thinking back on my elementary, middle school, and high school days, I think the topics I truly enjoyed the most were things I could actually relate to. It didn’t necessarily have to be about me, or something I usually enjoyed, but if it intrigued me, and allowed me to write with creativity, or read with a passion, that’s what I remember having an impact on me.
I believe I organize my thoughts by relating them to my past experiences, or how I would handle the situation, and how I would feel. It can best be described as a schema, which is scaffolding and a building process of knowledge, using prior knowledge and adding on to it. It makes new information more memorable and builds or alters what your previous beliefs were.
Also, I physical organize my concepts by taking notes, especially on new topics, or things that will be important for future reference. I started using this technique in high school, even when most people weren’t taking notes, because then I wouldn’t just remember the interesting or applicable information, I had all of it, no matter it’s status. I also physically keep like-materials together, so when I look at materials that go together, they stick in my mind, and I have more experience with the information to last in long-term memory.
I now have so many readings for college that they can start to blend together, especially for cluster classes, so I will often pause during reading something, look at the title and then ask myself a question about what the main topic was about, how did I feel, did I agree or not, how does this apply to me, if there was a quiz on this information what would the questions be, etc.
To me this shows me one a few important things for my future classroom. First of all, look at the interests of your students and see what keeps them actively reading and writing. Let them express themselves, and be open to try new things. Also, if a topic is not necessarily related to their lives, apply it to theirs, to keep topics fresh, while still covering required material. Finally, I find students need to know how to organize both their thoughts, and their writing styles early and often. Too often people get to high school or even college and feel uncomfortable with writing and reading, when really it should be a fun activity for everyone.