Kick starting the inner site: Reading to see and feel

Year: 2002

Author: Fitzsimmons, Phil

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Although in its infancy, research into the relationship between memory and learning suggests that when challenged to do so, the first reaction of both children and adults is to draw up vivid emotional pictures and ideals of those who have deeply affected their past experiences and graphic details of these experiences (Crawford, Kippax, Onyx, Gault and Berton 1992; Asseslin 2000). In seeking to explore this process further, this paper details the findings of the 'burrowing' interviews undertaken with 20 adults in regard to the nature of the 'reading memories' of their favourite teachers. While the findings suggest their first reaction was to remember their personal traits of being compassionate (Elbaz 1992), thoughtful (Clark 1995) and passionate (Fitzsimmons and Bilbo 2000), more importantly these respondents appear to remember and value their experience due to an understanding of 'emotional distances' and 'self monitoring' (Beers, Lassiter and Flannery 1997. While it seems that this group of respondents were drawn into the reading experience because the 'emotional distances' of power, culture and relationships between themselves and their teachers were narrowed. This paper suggests that these teachers unintentionally taught these respondents to become highly aware of interpersonal relationships. It would appear that teachers of reading needs to consider the emotional elements of teaching in a much more focused way to ensure engagement with the learning to be literate process specifically, and learning in general is maximised.