Future teachers get expert advice

England’s highest-ranking education official told a classroom of education majors Tuesday they need to have an enthusiasm for reading in order to imbed a love of literature in their students.”Teachers must be interested in reading in order to pass that enthusiasm on,” said David Bell, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England.

Bell is a friend of Samuel Deitz, the dean of the School of Education, and used it as an opportunity to come speak at TCU.

Bell spoke to a class of seven women who are all interested in how to teach reading to children.

“Be positive in the way you deal with students because you are more likely to have greater achievements with students by being positive and being yourself,” Bell said. “Students can spot the un-authentic.”

Teachers should want their students to achieve a level of reading that will make life easier for them but not to be so concerned about the mechanics that they lose the love of it, Bell said.

“There is a real danger of driving out the enthusiasm and passion for reading,” Bell said.

Bell said teachers these days are very competent and have many ways of implementing the methodology of reading, but do not know how to evoke passion.

“It is a swinging pendulum that has focused on the mechanics for so long. Now it needs to swing back so that teachers can pass on their passion,” Bell said.

Cathy Block, a professor of educational psychology who teaches the reading class Bell spoke to, requires her students to read 2,450 pages of award winning children’s literature that has been published within the past 5 years.

“The girls are getting excited about the literature they are reading and that is the best way to develop a love of reading within children,” Block said.

Right now is the “Golden Age” of literature available to children and it needs to be used in order to make a climate conducive to reading habits that children will carry with them into their adult lives, Bell said.

Block said there is no one method to getting children to love reading.

“We have the basics in place and now we need to develop new methods of developing the love of reading,” Block said.