More LatAm Personalities

I’m really glad everybody understood my plan to introduce my (actually pretty large) audience to Latin American personalities they probably never heard about. I have nothing whatsoever against José Martí, Bolívar, or García Márquez. They are very important. I teach about them. But the whole point is that people look at these table centerpieces I’m having made and don’t just glance over because they feature same old-same old. I want people’s glances to linger because they are discovering something new.

We already have a menu of tacos, burritos and empanadas. (I obviously don’t control the menu, which is unfortunate). I want something fresher in terms of content.

So far I’ve added Carlos Juan Finlay, the Cuban doctor whose research helped end yellow fever, and Bernardo Houssay, the Argentinean scientist who transformed our understanding of diabetes.

Too many Cubans, I know. Shit.

11 thoughts on “More LatAm Personalities”

    1. I mean to say, it wouldn’t be a big deal for me if I was a young student now. Obviously it’s not a big deal for me regardless because I’m an adult who’s known how to read for a very long time.

      Like

    2. Ok, hmmm. This is how I’m teaching Klara to read. I never thought there was any other method. I teach foreign languages, so “guess it from the context” is my number one strategy.

      The way reading works, I think, is that you stare at the words a lot and finally start figuring out what they mean. I’m not sure what the other method is. In English, especially, where there are no rules of pronunciation and the same letters can be pronounced in any number of ways.

      Like

      1. “I teach foreign languages, so “guess it from the context” is my number one strategy.”

        For reading in a foreign language, that’s an absolutely necessary skill. For one’s first language that works for fluent readers seeing unfamiliar words (a common occurrence for English speakers no matter how literate).

        “The way reading works, I think, is that you stare at the words a lot and finally start figuring out what they mean”

        Not what I remember doing at all… I remember getting lots of rules and being able to apply them so I’d sound out unfamiliar words (often guessing at what they meant) but having a working hypothesis about the pronunciation was necessary for me (I process things by body member, hearing and sight in that order).

        ” In English, especially, where there are no rules of pronunciation”

        That’s a misconception. It’s a rule governed system with lots of redundancy (many ways to write the same sound) and lots of exceptions (many of which are fairly regular) and some important variation across standard versions.

        Again, I’m eternally grateful that I was taught to read with a version of phonics… just looking and guessing would leave me borderline illiterate and unhappy with some dead end job.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not a fanatic of any one method. Whatever works is fine. As I see it, the biggest problem is that reading requires sitting still and concentrating and students find that very hard. They aren’t dumb or anything like it, it’s just the lack of patience and concentration.

          And also their capacity succinctly to retell the gist of a story is often worse than my toddler’s. And I’m not exaggerating.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “Not what I remember doing at all… I remember getting lots of rules and being able to apply them so I’d sound out unfamiliar words (often guessing at what they meant) but having a working hypothesis about the pronunciation was necessary for me.” Yes, this. Yes to all of this, really (esp. the bit about English and pronunciation rules; we’re weird and inconsistent but there are some loose rules and trends which are very helpful to know.)

          Like

      2. I don’t remember learning to read, if I’m being honest. But it seems like these kids aren’t figuring out that certain letters make certain sounds. In English that can a variety of sounds, but it’s still useful, especially with consonants. It doesn’t need to be explicitly taught necessarily beyond learning the alphabet, but it does need to be learned, the best method probably being reading a lot. Also sounds like many are just looking at pictures and describing them, and things like that.

        I imagine this learning method could work fine in a one on one teaching interaction with a good teacher, especially combined with lots of reading. Really, I feel that the teaching method is less important than reading a lot. However, in a classroom setting it doesn’t seem to be working out because kids are getting neglected and slipping through the cracks, and many parents don’t (or can’t) read so they don’t learn it at home. Really, any teaching method can go wrong with distracted students/bad teachers/whatever. But I feel like the “sound it out” method is more helpful in figuring out how to say the word at least and is a very helpful tool. Pronunciation rules in English are inconsistent but there are enough common trends that I can usually figure out how to pronounce an unfamiliar word. There’s been a few embarrassing mistakes through my adventures of learning words while reading (for years I pronounced monarch butterfly the way it looks rather than “mon-ark,” which is how it’s said), but my overall success rate has been high. The idea of just ignoring the letters in the word and guessing what it is based on context sounds puzzling to me (thought of course I don’t ignore context entirely; phonetics are for figuring out how to say the word, context is for figuring out what the word means.)

        In the end, I feel like you and I are both too naturally good with languages for our personal experience to be all that representative of the average reader.

        Like

    3. OMG it explains why my students try to read the way they do, and why I keep finding out they can’t read and are guessing. No wonder they are so generally disempowered, too. Amazing!

      Like

  1. So much work, but if I were asked to do the same I would go with the option discussed in your previous post. This is all very useful. It made my day,

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.