The way that we educate and are educated is changing at a rapid pace. New technologies and ways of interpreting the world are reshaping educational philosophies and altering the pedagogies that underlie them while transforming the modes of delivery that are part of the operations of educational institutions worldwide. This paper discusses the need to rethink education on the cusp of the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It is a great pleasure to see the conference papers of the XXVI Conference of National Association of Teachers of English in Russia published. Everyone who has ever been involved in a conference team knows how much work and dedication it takes to publish such a substantial, pertinent, and inclusive conference book.

Thank you to Lilia Bondareva, Head of Department, Department of Modern Languages and Communication – National University of Science and Technology “MISIS”, Natalya Sukhova, the editors and my wonderful co-author Dana!



The way that we educate and are educated is changing at a rapid pace. New technologies and ways of interpreting the world are reshaping educational philosophies and altering the pedagogies that underlie them while transforming the modes of delivery that are part of the operations of
educational institutions worldwide. This paper discusses the need to
rethink education on the cusp of the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and
at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The need for educational institutions, corporations, teachers, and
learners to adapt is great. However, what frameworks are necessary for
education in the digital age? What trends and possibilities are on the
horizon to educate and train the coming generations of educators that
would allow them to remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond? This
article explores global trends in a hyperconnected world such as artificial
intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, automation and
nanomaterials and presents an analysis of ongoing educational
transformations in Russia, China, and the United States. Finally, the article
discusses five emerging trends in 21st-century education, including App
Innovation and Gamification; Digital Literacy; Virtual, Augmented
Reality, and Mixed and Extended Reality; Self-Directed Professional
Development (SDPD), and Collaborative Learning.
Keywords: artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT),
robotics, automation, educational transformation, frameworks, and
emerging trends for a 21st-century education, hyperconnected world.

Cowin, J.; Saulembekova, D. S. (2021). CROSSING THE RUBICON: EDUCATION TRENDS IN A HYPERCONNECTED WORLD. XXVI Conference of National Association of Teachers of English in Russia. ‘Digital change in the ELT community.’ (pp. 66–78). Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Jasmin (Bey) Cowin to give workshop on “Reflective Teaching Practices: Fieldnotes, Practicum Journals, and Data Literacy” for the   Amity Institute of Education, India

I am so pleased that I was asked to present a workhop for the Amity Institute of Education, Amity University, Sec-125, Noida,201313 – Ranked as India’s # 1 Not-For-Profit Pvt. University. All Amity locations are connected to Amity University Campus, Noida over MPLS VPN Network, enabling us to transmit Live Class Rooms to all locations through eLearning Solution and IP Cameras

Lecture for 25th October 2021, at 9:00a.m.(EDT)”Reflective Teaching Practices: Fieldnotes, Practicum Journals, and Data Literacy.”

This interactive lecture is geared towards preservice teachers and will focus on both the mechanics and writing of field notes with a special focus on differences between description versus reflection. Furthermore, the lecture will then touch upon practicum journals and their use as a final teacher candidate’s field experience with reflection questions guiding their observations. The lecture will close with thoughts on using the data collected in both field and practicum experiences by teacher candidates to inform and drive their pedagogy.  


Hispanic Heritage Month 2021: Infographic on Samples of Officially Recognized Indigenous Languages across Latin America designed by Dr. Jasmin (Bey) Cowin

Did You know there are over 1000 indigenous languages spoken across the Americas?

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Touro College, GSE and the TESOL/Bilingual department, I wanted to create a sharable resource for educators. In my home country, Germany, my local dialect is Swabian, an often incomprehensible, almost separate local language with customs and stories connected to our region.

Then, I thought about the plethora of officially recognized indigenous languages across Latin America. “Language is the foundation of a culture. For Indigenous oral societies, words hold knowledge amassed for millennia. A language also holds the stories, songs, dances, protocols, family histories and connections.”[1] For teachers, this infographic offers the opportunity to discuss the connection between language and culture, highlighting the treasures of the collectives narratives, stories, songs, dances, customs, family histories and connections.

There is a grave danger that indigenous languages disappear due to continued fallout of colonialism, climate change and devastating land loss of indigenous peoples. “Between 1950 and 2010, 230 languages went extinct, according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Today, a third of the world’s languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers left. Every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 per cent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century.” [2]


[1] Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples®

[2] Nina Strochlic, The Race to Save the World’s Disappearing Languages, National Geographic April 2018

Looking Forward: Join Global Fieldtrips during the NYS TESOL 51st Conference Virtual Day Nov. 4th, 2021

The conference team for the NYS TESOL 51st conference is pleased to announce:

Global TESOL Field Trip on Virtual Day, Nov. 4th, 2021
Virtually visit English Language Learners and their teachers in their classrooms around the World!
Looking Forward: Educational Empowerment & Transformative Education

Register here:

The 51st NYS TESOL Conference Washington Morning Feature

The NYS YESOL 51st Conference team is excited to have the conference  “Looking Forward: Educational Empowerment and Transformative Education” featured in the Washington Morning!

NYS TESOL 21 Conference Logo

The NYS YESOL 51st Conference team is excited to have the conference  “Looking Forward: Educational Empowerment and Transformative Education” featured in the Washington Morning!

Accepted Presentation for the Fifteenth International Conference on e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies on April 15 – 16, 2022 at the National Changhua University of Education, Changhua City, Taiwan

I pleased to announce that my poster presentation was accepted for the Fifteenth International Conference on e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies on April 15 – 16, 2022 at the National Changhua University of Education, Changhua City, Taiwan

Cowin, J. (2022, April). The E-learning and Course Design Wheel: Multimodal and Multiliteracy Perspectives. [Poster]. to be presented at the Fifteenth International Conference on e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies, 2022 National Changhua University of Education, Changhua City, Taiwan.

Abstract: The possibilities that are opened up by digital platforms, eLearning, and distance education are of great benefit to institutions, corporations, educators, and learners. However, design information for course design is mostly oriented on listings steps or defining the terms of instructional design, eLearning, and blended learning. This poster visualizes eLearning and course design through an eLearning and course navigation wheel keeping in mind multimodal and multiliteracy perspectives. The eLearning and course design wheel can function as appealing support for individuals designing online learning environments or as an eLearning course design guidance.

Accepted Proposal by Jasmin Cowin and Amany Alkhayat: Envisioning The Future of Language Learning: Virtual Reality, Mobile Learning and Computer-Assisted Language Learning for the 16. International Conference on Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education. 

Cowin, J., Alkhayat, A., (2022, July 29-30). Envisioning The Future of Language Learning: Virtual Reality, Mobile Learning and Computer-Assisted Language Learning [Paper Presentation]. 16. International Conference on Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education. 

This paper will concentrate on a comparative analysis of both the advantages and limitations of using digital learning resources (DLRs). DLRs covered will be Virtual Reality (VR), Mobile Learning (M-learning) and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) together with their subset, Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) in language education. In addition, best practices for language teaching and the application of established language teaching methodologies such as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), the audio-lingual method, or community language learning will be explored. Education has changed dramatically since the eruption of the pandemic. Traditional face-to-face education was disrupted on a global scale. The rise of distance learning brought new digital tools to the forefront, especially web conferencing tools, digital storytelling apps, test authoring tools, and VR platforms. Language educators raced to vet, learn, and implement multiple technology resources suited for language acquisition. Yet, questions remain on how to harness new technologies, digital tools, and their ubiquitous availability while using established methods and methodologies in language learning paired with best teaching practices. In M-learning language, learners employ portable computing devices such as smartphones or tablets. CALL is a language teaching approach using computers and other technologies through presenting, reinforcing, and assessing language materials to be learned or to create environments where teachers and learners can meaningfully interact. In VR, a computer-generated simulation enables learner interaction with a 3D environment via screen, smartphone, or a head mounted display. Research supports that VR for language learning is effective in terms of exploration, communication, engagement, and motivation. Students are able to relate through role play activities, interact with 3D objects and activities such as field trips. VR lends itself to group language exercises in the classroom with target language practice in an immersive, virtual environment. Students, teachers, schools, language institutes, and institutions benefit from specialized support to help them acquire second language proficiency and content knowledge that builds on their cultural and linguistic assets. Through the purposeful application of different language methodologies and teaching approaches, language learners can not only make cultural and linguistic connections in DLRs but also practice grammar drills, play memory games or flourish in authentic settings.

A comparative analysis of both the advantages and limitations of using digital learning resources (DLRs) in language learning. DLRs covered will be Virtual Reality (VR), Mobile Learning (M-learning) and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL).

A mix of qualitative and quantitative research

Insights into digital learning resources in language learning with an alignment of best teaching practices and instructional strategies for both language teaching and learning.

Touro TESOL Candidate Diane Santos Presents: Field Experience Vignettes for EDPN 673, Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language

Introduction by Prof. Jasmin (Bey) Cowin, Ed.D.

Fieldwork and field experiences are an integral part of teacher education programs as they enable teacher candidates to examine the ways educational theories and methods can be implemented and interact with live classrooms and students. Touro College’s TESOL/Bilingual EDPN 673, Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language features a substantial fieldwork component.

The objective of the fieldwork experience in EDPN 673 is to connect course content to practical application in classroom teaching. The teacher candidates’ focus is on identification, observation & use of instructional best practices, lesson planning, lesson delivery, differentiation, assessment, and reflection.

After observing several teachers, Touro TESOL candidates need to choose which observations will become their fieldwork vignettes. The vignettes will show that they, as an aspiring TESOL professional, understand central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches, as identified by relevant professional organizations, and can analyze learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for all students.

Diana Santos is an educator, lifelong learner and mother to a four year old boy. She was born and raised on Long Island, NY but like many children of immigrant parents, English is not her first language. Her native language is Portuguese and upon entering elementary school, she learned to speak, read and write in English due to the wonderful teachers she encountered. Mrs. Santos graduated from Dowling College with a BA in Special and General Education. She pursued her bilingual extension at LIU and Molloy College. Currently, she serves as a 4th grade Dual Language Teacher who teaches in English and Spanish. She is proud to share:”I am proud to say that I will be graduating with a Master’s Degree in TESOL in September 2021 with a G.P.A of 4.0.”

Diana Santos’s Fieldwork Experience: Every semester I take different courses and I am required to complete fieldwork in order to become a better teacher and better my educational practices. This has been by far the most rewarding fieldwork experience of my educational career. I have never been a part of a summer program that included ENL students and it was very educational to see an ENL teacher and a general education teacher in a co-teaching environment while implementing various teaching methods, strategies and materials within their instruction. This summer school program focused on reading and writing skills according to the Teachers College Units of Study. The particular classroom that I was able to observe had only fourth grade students. There were a total of 21 students; 4 attended in-person instruction and 17 attended virtual instruction, which was given simultaneously. There were a total of 11 English language learners in the classroom who have proficiency levels ranging from entering to expanding.

Vignette One

The first fieldwork experience that I would like to focus on is during the reading/writing summer school that was offered through my school district. During this specific incident, the students were learning how to write a personal narrative and the teachers were trying to elicit ideas from students in order to get them started on what their personal narratives were going to be about. The summer program included students who attended in person and students who were remote. Due to the majority of the students attending remotely, the teacher taught by using google meet, google classroom, google slides, padlet, smartboard and the students’ chromebooks. The teacher only utilized the SMART board to show the google meet to the class in order to incorporate the virtual learners. The teacher did not use any paper handouts, tests or textbooks.

There were a few potential distractions throughout the observation. One distraction is the fact that the teacher and ENL teacher are teaching both in person and online. This can be distracting for both sets of students because the teachers are never really focused on just one group of students. Furthermore, the students who are attending virtually have many interruptions to their virtual learning time. A specific example of this is that during the lesson one student could be seen holding a baby while several other children ran around in the background of the camera. This is just one example of many distractions that occurred virtually. These types of virtual distractions can cause other students to lose focus which results in the student not understanding the task or skill that is being taught. One question that arose was why none of the teachers addressed the different virtual distractions. I believe that they should have either gone over the expectations to virtual learning prior to beginning the lesson or at least referred to them while the many distractions were occurring. “It is important for the teacher to create behavioral expectations in virtual classrooms and review the expectations at the beginning of each class, just like they would in person” (Team, 2021, p.1). Due to the current climate that we are in, virtual distractions are inevitable but they can be managed by implementing several strategies.

Throughout the year the students in fourth grade are asked to complete a variety of writing pieces as well as practice many reading skills. One of the writing pieces that the students are asked to create is a personal narrative. This is typically the first unit of the year and therefore the students who were completing the task of coming up with a story idea and writing a personal narrative have background knowledge to refer to. The content objective for the lesson was that students will be able to generate story ideas based on their experiences. The language objective was that students will be able to write story ideas using a digital graphic organizer.

The teacher began the lesson by referring to the student’s prior knowledge of the work that was completed the day before. She then asked the students several questions in order to elicit what information they know about small moments and writing personal narratives. She asked questions such as “what is a personal narrative? Why are personal narratives important? What is a moment? What is a small moment? Could any moment of your life be a small moment? Are moments and experiences the same?” The ENL teacher then showed an example of a small moment story written in both English and the students’ native language, Spanish. She wrote her story about what it felt like to move to Spain when she was in college. The students practiced reading the story aloud in a choral read.

Next, the general education teacher explained the task for the day and that the students were going to be using Padlet as a digital graphic organizer. The teacher showed Padlet on the computer and explained that the students were to pick a section of the padlet and add their name. Then they can pick images, write captions or short story ideas under the section. The students seemed to be familiar with Padlet and how to use it. The ENL teacher then asked the students to close their eyes and think about the most important memories they have. While the students had their eyes closed, she solicited possible ideas such as a trip, memory with a favorite person, a life changing event and favorite things to do. Then the ENL teacher told them to open their eyes and start writing. This great strategy allowed the students time to process their thoughts before starting their assignment.

After the whole group instruction, the ENL teacher broke the students into small groups by proficiency levels in order to differentiate her instruction. With the entering/emerging group she spoke in Spanish to help them generate story ideas while also showing a list of potential story ideas. She then gave the students two sentence frames to use while writing their story idea on the Padlet. With the transitioning and expanding students she spoke to them in English and had conversations about what they were thinking about and scaffolded her questioning in order to help them generate ideas. They got sentence starters like my story idea is and one important memory is. Throughout the rest of the writing period, the ENL teacher checked in with her students to monitor their progress. With some of the entering students she would have them say their sentence in Spanish and then she translated it to English. The students would then rewrite the sentence in English on the padlet. This allowed them an opportunity to practice the target language and acquire it as well.

The ENL teacher would record anecdotal notes on a notepad during the lesson. She then went back and read their padlet entries to check for comprehension and language. Throughout the lesson, both teachers were constantly interacting with both sets of students and answered any questions they may have. The ENL teacher would ask the question several ways in English before reverting to Spanish. There were many questions asked throughout the period in order to promote the students’ higher-order thinking skills as well as help them form connections to the content and task. I believe that the questioning of the lesson was used for various purposes such as to help students recall prior learning and prior life experiences, increase student engagement and to get students to think outside the box. Lastly, the ENL teacher gave students sufficient wait time throughout the lesson and when a student was not able to respond she would scaffold her instruction to help the student.

Vignette Two

The next incident that I would like to speak about is during a reading lesson with an entering student. The ENL teacher was working one on one with an entering student who is considered to be a Student with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE). The goal of this lesson was to have him practice his fluency, decoding skills and forming predictions while reading an “A” level book titled Hide by Steve Henry.

The lesson began by having the general education teacher ask the students what a prediction was. They had been working on this skill for two days and were able to answer the question. Then she modeled forming a prediction while reading a book. When she finished the book she thought about whether her prediction was correct. As an extension activity she asked the students to record themselves using Flipgrid, reading a book aloud and forming predictions on their own. The ENL teacher had chosen books on Epic Books according to the students’ proficiency level. She also showed two sentence starters for the students to say “I think ______ will happen” and “my prediction is.”

The reason why I chose to speak about this lesson is because of the issues that arose while the students were trying to complete this task. Some students were not able to access Flipgrid or did not know how to use it because they were not familiar with the program and no one went over how to use the program prior to the students using it. This caused the ENL teacher to have to stop all of the students midway through the lesson and teach the students how to access and use Flipgrid. Next, the students were asked to leave the google meet in order to record themselves and then come back when they finished. This was an issue because many students had questions and were unable to get quick responses or feedback because of the computer restraints. Another issue that I noticed was that the students were having a hard time completing the task itself. Personally, I found this to be a daunting task for the entering and emerging students because not only were they trying to decode and comprehend the books but they were being asked to simultaneously form predictions while being recorded.

The ENL teacher did a wonderful job at addressing this issue by quickly differentiating the task to suit the needs of her students. First, she had the students record themselves forming predictions after only looking at the visuals in the books. Then the students were instructed to make a second recording just reading the book in order to practice fluency and decoding. This allowed for students to tackle only one cognitively challenging task at a time.

For the SIFE student, she worked with him one on one for about twenty five minutes on fluency, decoding, comprehension and forming one prediction. Prior to beginning the book, the student made one prediction by looking at the cover of the book. The student made the prediction in Spanish, the teacher wrote it in English and then the student practiced reading the sentence aloud. The sentence was “I think the book is about an elephant who is lost in the ocean.” Next, the ENL teacher did a choral read with the student. According to Reading Rockets (2021), “Choral reading helps build students’ fluency, self-confidence, and motivation” (p.1). When I spoke to the ENL teacher afterwards she stated that she likes to use different reading approaches in order to help lower a students affective filter in the hopes that they build up their confidence and in turn participate more and take more risks. After the choral read, the ENL teacher asked the student to do an echo read of the same text. She would read the sentence and then the student would repeat the same sentence. After the student read the text, she asked the student to summarize what the book was about. The student didn’t understand and she asked the question again in Spanish. In Spanish the student was able to give a detailed explanation of the text. Finally, she asked the student if his initial prediction was correct. The student said no and was able to explain, in Spanish, why he felt it was incorrect.

Due to this being the same summer program, the initial distractions that were mentioned still posed to be an issue. The teachers do not use supportive backgrounds on google meet. The technology used in this lesson was the computer, google meet, google slides, SMART board, and Epic Books. The recordings of the individual students were used as a form of assessment as well as evidence of their growth. The links to their videos are to be included in their digital portfolio. The various questions that were asked throughout the observation were to recall prior learning, summarize the text and for purposes of evaluating the mastery of the given task. There were also many questions to check for understanding of the task and instructions given. The questioning throughout the lesson was not of variable difficulty.

Vignette Three

The third incident that I would like to describe is during an observation of the summer program during a reading lesson. The objective of this lesson was for the students to describe the mood of the story. In order to motivate the students the general education teacher started by showing many different squares in bright colors. She asked the students “what do you notice?” The students pointed out that there were many squares, they were all different colors, and they were bright colors. Then the teacher asked “how do these colors make you feel?” Some of the responses were “happy, fun, loved, excited, positive, bright, ecstatic and ready to start my day.” Next, the teacher showed another slide with the same squares in dark colors. She asked the same questions but the students’ feelings changed. They used words such as “sad, upset, angry, mad, unloved, bored, sleepy, and depressed.”

The general education teacher went on to explain why she showed the students those colored shapes and how it ties into the mood of the story. She explained that the mood of the story is how the reader feels while he or she is reading the story by reading the words or looking at the pictures, just like when they were examining the squares. This explanation was shown on the computer and the SMART board in both English and Spanish. There was also a visual of a girl on a bus showing a side by side comparison of her mood. One side she was happy and smiling and the other side she was resting her head on her hand and frowning. The teacher then asked the students to pay attention to the mood of the story, “or the way the words and the pictures make you feel,” as she read a book aloud. The book was called The Music of the Sea by Susanna Isern. While the book was being read to the class she pointed out several drawings and important words written in the story to show feeling. She also asked several questions such as “why do you think the author chose these colors? What mood was she trying to set? How do you think the little girl feels? How does it make you feel? Did the colors of the pictures change in the beginning and the end of the book? Why do you think the author did that?” To end the lesson, the students were sent to read in their independent books while the teacher and the ENL teacher conferred with different students. I really enjoyed the variety of questions that were used during this lesson.

The ENL teacher differentiated this lesson by pre-recording a read aloud of the Spanish version of this book for the entering and emerging students to listen to. For the transitioning and expanding students she pre-taught them vocabulary prior to the beginning of this lesson. Some of the vocabulary words that she picked from the book were crops, seashore, coastline, village, deserted, and waves. In order to pre-teach the vocabulary, she associated the word to its Spanish translation while also showing a visual representation of the word.

While she conferred with the students, she asked several questions to help them summarize, determine the mood, focus instruction, assess and form connections. In order to confer with the students virtually she explained to them that while she is speaking to one student, the other students have their microphones muted and their cameras off. Then she would take turns speaking to each individual student for about 5-7 minutes. During the conference, she would take anecdotal notes about their conversations in order to refer to at a later time.

In regard to the classroom, it would be difficult to draw a map of the classroom as I was not physically there. All of the students, regardless of whether they were in class or virtual, were asked to login to google meet and to mute their microphones. This was done in order to seem as though all the students were together and it gave them the ability to see one another. I believe that the teachers did the best they could given their unique teaching situation. The teachers were trying to juggle two sets of learners at the same time while facing several learning barriers and language barriers.

Given the situation, the teachers differentiated their instruction and incorporated several different teaching strategies and methods in order to suit the needs of their learners. A method that they largely incorporated into their instruction was communicative language teaching. Within their instruction they encouraged collaborative discourse and tried to “unravel the speaker or writer’s intention” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000, p.1). Furthermore, the ENL teacher noted any errors that she encountered during the lesson and noted them in order to target them during instruction at a later time. While differentiating her instruction the ENL teacher chose culturally diverse and relevant texts that the students could relate to. For example, during the observation where the students were asked to generate story ideas for their personal narratives, the ENL teacher showed the book Dreamers by Yuyi Morales as an example of an actual personal narrative. It shows and describes the journey that the author took from her home country to the United States with her child. The students were able to relate to this because they also moved from one country to another. All of these lessons were created and implemented in order to continue exposing the students to various reading skills and writing pieces.

Having the opportunity to work with and observe these two wonderful teachers was very enlightening. I learned many different strategies and approaches to education that I can now implement in my dual language classroom. For example, I love the fact that the ENL teacher scaffolded her reading instruction by starting with a choral read and then doing an echo read. By the time the student did the echo read he was much more comfortable with the text and he showed improvement in his fluency. I thoroughly enjoyed this fieldwork experience and look forward to taking what I learned and incorporating it into my daily instruction. 


Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). The LINGUIST List. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching.

Reading Rockets. (2021). Choral Reading.

​​Team, P. (2021, April 5). Virtual Classroom Distractions: How Teachers Can Help. Planbook Blog.

Touro TESOL Candidate Jason Madrick on Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Discussion Boards offer the opportunity to not only to reflect on readings but also contribute with peer responses to the learning process of the course cohort. Jason Madrick submitted thoughtful responses and analysis to the readings and webcast. Also, his peer responses were focused and featured APA style references.

Jason Madrick: Born and raised in Queens, NY, I have been an illustrator, musician, and overall creative person for as long as I can remember. A graduate of Syracuse University with BA degrees in Biology and Anthropology with minors in Sociology and Education, I have been teaching as a substitute teacher in public elementary schools in Queens, and then in the UPK program for more than a decade combined. I look forward to embarking on the next stage of my career in education being employed by the NYC DOE this coming fall and using my artistic and musical talents, love of reading, nature, science and more to convey and hopefully instill a love of learning in my future students.

This DB focuses on your reading of Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Q: How would YOU in YOUR professional teaching practice, track and assess reading levels? Please be specific in using academic vocabulary.

Jason Madrick: Once I take over a kindergarten class this November, I will be making my first attempts at tracking and assessing a student’s reading abilities. Also, I can’t help but think it sounds a bit more grandiose if I were to rephrase that last sentence like this; Once I’ve usurped an aged and wise educator this Autumn I will tally the cognitive literacy talents of these young minds using multiple methods. What I really mean is, I’m really not sure what type of assessments or reading programs this school uses yet. Any assessments that I made of this skill while in the UPK program were made very informally, and I supposed mostly centered around letters and simple word recognition. I know there are different types of leveled reading book systems that are used in different schools, but in Kindergarten, I suppose that students at this age are all still at the relative beginning of their journey towards literacy. They would all fall within Stage O according to Chall’s Stages of Literacy Development. (The Literacy Bug PDF). There is likely to be a fair amount of variety in the level of beginner reading skills among them as well. Some students may be familiar with the entire English alphabet from A to Z, while others may only recognize the ones that are used to spell their own names and some may be advanced enough to be able to read right through a level A/B/C/D etc type of storybook. In thinking about this, I did go to the website of the school where I’ll be working this fall to learn what reading program they might use, and they mention using the mClass Assessment System. (PS 303 Curriculum). I will have to read up on this in the coming months to familiarize myself with it somewhat before my ascent to being a full-time Kindergarten teacher. Cue jokes from my friends referencing the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The school website also states that teachers are of course trained how to use this system for assessment purposes. This assessment is stated to occur three times a school year for grades K-5th. I’m also hoping that during the start of this school year while I am a full-time substitute teacher until I am placed in the Kindergarten class, I will meet with the retiring teacher to learn what I can from her before her retirement. Ideally, I will be able to also observe the class while she is teaching it so I can understand her approach and style of teaching somewhat. I may even learn some tips from her about how to assess reading levels using the mClass program the school uses. For these beginning readers, learning to recognize and write the letters of the English alphabet, learning the sounds related to these letters or phonics, increasing their English vocabulary, and of course, both listening and speaking English in class will be where most of our focus on literacy skills will be. Beyond the mClass system, I will perhaps also use some form of running records and also informal observations to keep track of students’ literacy skills as they progress through the year. This may include asking a student to read a simple sentence or series of words to me, or listening to them as they read something in print to a classmate in school. I’d also like to mention that for ELLs in this classroom I would make sure to display multiple visuals aids and graphics to help with their English language acquisitions. I would also want to use their L1 languages as best I can as a resource for both the students and myself as their teacher. If I have to learn a few new languages to say hello and goodbye in this school year I think I will be able to manage to add those words into my lexicon. Words from their L1 languages I could also present in the classroom as a language resource as well as something familiar from their culture for these students. In addition, native English speakers in the class will also be exposed to new words and languages which I think is very positive for early childhood learners in general. Though I won’t have to make any formal assessments about that process, at least that I’m aware of.

Watching the webcast and looking at the Reading Rockets resources was there anything that you will be able to incorporate into your professional practice?

Webcast description: Robert reads well in Spanish but speaks very little English. Marisa has trouble decoding basic stories. And Ms. Johnson, their second grade teacher, must teach them both to read – along with 23 other students. How? She must differentiate classroom instruction.

Differentiated Reading Instruction: Teaching Every Child is a 60-minute webcast that outlines the most effective strategies teachers can use to address the many different needs of each of their students – so that kids capable of learning to read, like Robert and Marisa, won’t fall behind.

Reading Rockets Resources:

Jason Madrick: I think the practice of differentiating instruction for diverse student needs will be a crucial skill to further develop as I continue in my teaching career. The ability to accurately determine and apply activities, resources, and skill levels for a variety of students in a classroom is a challenging demand made of today’s public school teachers, and in many ways is something I’m not perhaps as familiar with due to my age and own experience and memories from my own early childhood and elementary school instruction. I think back in the 1980s there was much more of a one size fits all approach to instruction within a single classroom. Though I also remember at that time that my school practiced what I think is called tracking or ability grouping. I know that I was in the “top” performing class from 1st through 6th grade, while there was a “middle” and “low” class in each grade as well each year. Learning how to accurately personalize instructional methods and activities for a wide variety of students within one class will take me time and practice to develop. Also to be able to equitably provide this specialization and differentiation to not just struggling or below level performing students, but also providing appropriately challenging tasks and activities for higher-performing students as well. It seems to me that differentiation of instruction for a wide spectrum of skill/abilities in students by a teacher is something that can make instruction more difficult for teachers. Especially compared to perhaps only teaching students that are all very similar in their academic skills such as the case with the practice of tracking. Of course, it would also seem that the former situation is perhaps fairer, or equitable for students as they can perhaps learn better from each other in a diverse group instead of one where all of the students are struggling at the same approximate level.

What did you learn for your own professional practice that was surprising after reading: Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Jason Madrick: I think the most surprising, or rather, the most interesting information I learned after reading “Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development” is the change in the type of cognitive functions that occur as a person develops and transitions towards becoming an expert, literate adult reader. There was a graph that was included that shows this visually also, which I definitely appreciated. The graph or slide was titled “Instructional Focus Changes Across Time” (The Literacy Bug PDF). To see that there is a point at which, the skills we have developed at first to be able to begin to read gradually sort of fade to the background for increasingly competent readers as they now are reading at an expert level. Once they have transitioned past this point, reading now requires more critical thinking, reflection, and other higher cognitive functions that have become paramount to the reading process. It makes sense to me though, as a kindergartner may have learned the skills to read a simple sentence like “See Spot Run.”, but it would take a much more advanced literate reader to ponder and perhaps ask questions about the more advanced and complicated literature that they are reading about. I’m not sure how likely it is that a kindergartner would perhaps in return independently think or ask their teacher “Who is this Spot? What is Spot? What color is Spot? Can I have a Spot? Why is Spot running? Is something chasing Spot? Should I be running too? Why aren’t you running?” All of which I think are great questions, and with some guidance in continuing verbal conversations with a student, may even be examples of higher-order thinking questions I could ask a student about what they just read to gauge their comprehension of the reading material and to elicit more critical thinking from them.


PS 303 Curriculum. AEAPS303Q. (n.d.).

Differentiated reading instruction. Reading Rockets. (2020, January 8).

The Literacy Bug. (n.d.). Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy.

Jason Madrick’s peer responses in the Discussion Board:
Hi K! Thanks for your post. I wanted to respond to your post because of your critique of the educational system in regards to pushing students along, and the pressure or “need” for “good” data being collected by a teacher for a school/district, etc. If the ability to read well, and becoming a functionally literate person is the foundation for all academic learning to follow, as well as perhaps for becoming a well-informed citizen capable of critical thinking, debate, and intelligent discussions, then why does the system allow, or rather push or force teachers such as yourself to pass students along from grade to grade? I could say that it’s either systemic or institutional negligence. Or that perhaps it’s inherently linked to our educational systems as it is related to the industrial revolution and the needs of businesses. This is an idea I was familiar with from prior readings in my past, perhaps I think from Howard Zinn’s book, “A People’s History of the United States.”, but I also wanted to find a recent article about it and located one titled “The Modern Education System Was Designed to Train Future Factory Workers to be “punctual, docile, and sober”.” (Schrager, A. 2018). Of course, it could be that many of our current problems with our education systems as we know them are still at work because our government, or the corporations that exert so much influence on it, want these problems to continue, or that they don’t even view them as problems to be corrected. “Well, the world needs ditch diggers too.” says Judge Smails in the movie “Caddyshack” from the 1980s when another character is lamenting that he can’t afford to go to college. Which I think is very much a reflection of that type of mentality and approach to education writ large within our popular culture. But as the world continues to change, and the work that people need, or are required to do to support themselves and their families changes with it, our education system needs to change as well. To quote the article by Allison Schrager that I found online; “In a post-industrial world, education may require an equally bold rethink. It might mean more comprehensive adult education, or regular retraining, to keep skills sharp as old jobs disappear and new ones appear that require vastly different responsibilities. Or it may involve integrating technology to create more personalized learning experiences.” I’m definitely curious to see which route we’ll take in the years to come.


​​Caddyshack. 1980.

Schrager, A. (n.d.). The Modern Education System Was Designed to Train Future Factory Workers to Be “punctual, docile, and sober”. Quartz.

Zinn, H. (2015). A people’s history of the United States: 1492-present. Routledge.

Jason Madrick’s peer responses in the Discussion Board:
Hello X., and thanks for your post. I wanted to comment in regards to your answer to the last question for this discussion board. I agree with you that the stages of reading development are closely connected and that teachers need to be aware of where a student is in that process so that they can accurately give them the support they need to make progress. Also as you mentioned, as a teacher in elementary school, which is where all of my teaching experience has been up to this point as well, that is where students ideally should be establishing a firm understanding of reading and language skills as this is the foundation for everything that will follow. Now, of course, not all children develop at the same rate or even in the same way cognitively or social-emotionally, so what happens to students that for whatever reason(s) don’t make enough progress in developing their literacy skills while in elementary school? Well, as I mentioned in another post earlier this summer, learning of course is not always a straight path from point A to B and so on. Some students will perhaps get the right resources, and be able to get the support and additional instruction they need to catch up to their peers if they are lacking the skills that a grade or curriculum requires for them to successfully learn from. But of course, many students will not get that support, and will not make progress. But will they continue to go on from grade to grade through junior high and high school even without ever reaching a fully developed, or expert level of reading comprehension? I think the answer is most likely yes. Some students will not graduate from high school, others may have enough skills to pass a GED exam, or will perhaps graduate through a “City as School” program where they gain job skills and experience. But will they ever become well-read, incredibly literate adults? It’s possible, but then it will come back to how much they practice reading during their adult life. Reading is a skill that if it’s not practiced regularly, will not improve, and will likely degrade in some respects and will result in lower comprehension, and ability to take on more complex texts. This also brings to mind a meme I had seen over this past summer that said one of the biggest predictors of future academic success was if and how much reading by parents and family members that a child is exposed to during their crucial early childhood years. If this is in fact true, then ultimately, reading and literacy is a skill that starts from birth and must be practiced for the rest of one’s life to be maintained and/or improved. Obviously, our present system of education has many issues and holes through which students slip through because they are behind their peers, have learning disabilities, have any number of home/life issues, or perhaps just weren’t read to enough as children. -Jason