Teaching pioneer Kenneth Goodman believes education is key to social equality

The most gratifying aspect of teaching is watching your students move toward their own greatness, says Kenneth S. Goodman, a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona department of language, reading and culture.

“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I’m also proud of what the people who I’ve had a hand in educating have done — it gives me hope,” says Goodman.

Goodman, who turns 90 this month, has spent more than half a century improving the way educators teach and understand early childhood development. He’s an educational pioneer, who is best known for founding the whole language approach to reading.

According to the Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development, the whole language approach is an instructional philosophy on teaching based on three constructivist assumptions: learning cannot be separated from its context; each learner’s purpose for learning is integral to what is learned; and knowledge gained is socially constructed through negotiation, evaluation, or transformation.

Teaching eighth graders sparked Goodman’s love for the classroom. Adolescents are developing not only as people, but as thinkers, so teachers are afforded a wonderful opportunity of influence, says Goodman. “It’s a very moral age, and that’s the age when everything has to be fair.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here. Originally published on Dec. 15, 2017.

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