To the editor: I am a high school teacher who taught this summer. I have a completely different experience than Jeremy Adams and his "Zoombie" students.
I teach horticulture. I teach kids to grow food. They're fascinated with the idea of growing food, taking care of the Earth and protecting pollinators. They became part of a community that doesn't treat them as a future economic asset, but as current and valuable problem-solvers.
It's no wonder that kids are resisting our current educational system. In many ways it is irrelevant. If in a math class, an English class, a history class or a science class the Earth's and humanity's pressing problems are not addressed, the internal survival mechanism of students will increasingly turn off to whatever these teachers have to say.
Make what we're teaching relevant. As the kids would say, go big or go home.
Rachel Bruhnke, San Pedro
To the editor: I share many of the concerns expressed by Adams, but the absence of vowel instruction definitely isn't one of them.
Young children in my classes demonstrated that what literacy experts said was true: Phonics instruction plays a very small role in reading comprehension. What matters is reading aloud to children — a lot — and surrounding children with many books that they want to read.
People who worry about those children who arrive in second grade without phonics instruction should know that in Finland, reading instruction doesn’t even begin until age 7 or 8. The Finns, whose children score at the top of international tests, are much more concerned that children have lots of time to play together.
Susan Ohanian, Charlotte, Vt.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.