As an educator, I am constantly amazed at how much there is to learn about pedagogy. That is where life-long learning and professional development come in. I have been able to conduct several Reading Horizons and Discover Intensive Phonics trainings both in the U.S. and abroad, and without fail, I am able to witness teachers experiencing "a ha" moments throughout the training as they learn new things about the English language that they didn't know before. As teachers learn this knowledge through the interactive, hands-on training session, they not only go away feeling empowered with the ability to teach these amazing reading strategies, but they feel anxious to start applying these strategies in their classrooms the very next day!
I attended a couple trainings on the Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself method conducted by Linda Eversole before I taught the method to my ESOL students at Brigham Young University. I had studied language learning strategies extensively in my graduate studies, and I felt that I was fairly competent in my knowledge and teaching of these strategies. What I found as an attendee at Linda's training was that there was a lot more about the English language that I did not know--specifically, that there were several language learning strategies that I was unaware of that I was anxious to implement in my own teaching. I was amazed at how easy the sequential method was to learn and to teach! I also discovered during the training that learning the method was quite enjoyable as I was engaged in several multi-sensory practice opportunities that students encounter when learning the method. With so many other things to cover in my curriculum, Reading Horizons was a welcomed supplement to what I was already doing in my classroom.
Now that I have become a trainer, one of the things I love to emphasize in the trainings I conduct is that teachers attending the training are developing life-long skills. Of course, the strategies learned in the trainings are helpful in meeting the objectives of their current teaching contexts, but they are also gaining access to skills to put in their "teacher tool box" to draw from throughout their lives, whether they be formal or informal teaching situations. Maybe they'll have a child or grandchild who is learning to read for the first time, or a neighbor down the street who is a struggling reader. Maybe they'll find themselves on a 12-hour train ride in China and have an opportunity to teach the eager-to-learn non-native English speaking person sitting next to them. Maybe they'll one day become a volunteer tutor at the local library. You never know when you'll have an opportunity to teach literacy--strategies for life-long learning. If we are prepared as an educator with strategies that empower, we're empowered as life-long teachers.