Classroom Caffeine

A Conversation with Dixie Massey & Margaret Vaughn

January 04, 2022 Lindsay Persohn Season 2 Episode 17
Classroom Caffeine
A Conversation with Dixie Massey & Margaret Vaughn
Show Notes Transcript

Drs. Dixie Massey and Margaret Vaughn talk to us about agency, interests, and books. Dr. Dixie Massey is known for her work in the areas of literacy development, preservice teacher education, and children’s literature. Dr. Massey is a lecturer at Seattle Pacific University. Dr. Margaret Vaughn is known for her work in student agency, teacher decision-making, and reading materials for children. Dr. Vaughn is an Associate Professor of Literacy at Washington State University. Dixie and Margaret have co-authored many works together, including their recent book titled Teaching with Children’s Literature: Theory to Practice from Guilford Press. 

Lindsay Persohn:

Education Research has a problem. The work of brilliant education researchers often doesn't reach the practice of brilliant teachers. But the questions and challenges from teachers practice sometimes don't become the work of education researchers. Classroom Caffeine is here to help. In a new episode every other week, I talk with an education researcher or a classroom teacher about what they have learned from their work in education, and what questions they still pursue. In this episode, and a first in Classroom Caffeine history, Dixie Massey and Margaret Vaughn talked to us about agency, interests, and books. Dr. Dixie Massey is known for her work in the areas of literacy development, pre service teacher education, and children's literature. Dr. Massey is a Lecturer at Seattle Pacific University. Dr. Margaret Vaughn is known for her work in student agency, teacher decision making, and reading materials for children. Dr. Vaughn is an Associate Professor of Literacy at Washington State University. Dixie and Margaret have co authored many works together, including their recent book titled Teaching with Children's Literature Theory to Practice, recently published by Guliford Press. For more information about our guests, stay tuned to the end of this episode. So pour a cup of your favorite morning drink and join me, your host, Lindsay Persohn, for Classroom Caffeine research to energize your teaching practice. Dixie and Margaret, thank you for joining me. Welcome to the show.

Dixie Massey:

Lindsay, thanks for having us.

Margaret Vaughn:

Nice to see you.

Lindsay Persohn:

You too. So I have a couple of questions for you all today. The first one is from your own experiences in education, will you share with us one or two moments that inform your thinking now?

Dixie Massey:

Sure, I'll start with that question. One of the things that I am fortunate enough to reflect on is that there are multiple times in my schooling experience starting in elementary, where I was fascinated by something whether it was a particular fact or a particular process. There are just moments throughout my schooling career where I could look back and say, I was so interested in that. And sometimes that was rooted in the content of what it was, sometimes it was based on the teachers, and it wasn't always that the teachers were doing what now I would look back and reflect on and say was best practice. Instead, it was more rooted in the teacher was passionate about learners and passionate about getting as many students to come along on that learning journey as possible. And often that was related to a particular content or a particular book eventually. But But initially, it was about this, this is so cool, come learn along with me and it was a co it was collaborative. It was definitely a sense that the teacher was learning along with students and really enjoyed that process. And I guess that for me, is why I'm still in education, because I want to be able to offer that invitation to students, to teachers, and say, We're all learning and we're learning a variety of different things. Let's learn together. If I were going to pick out a particular moment that kind of exemplifies that I would look at class with Dr. Sam Miller that was in my graduate class. And the class was about motivation and he was describing the approach avoid theory of motivation. And there was something in that moment. He set it up as a ring toss in class, and we are we are in a graduate class and we're tossing rings of a little tiny peg and first people are nervous, and then we're laughing and we're encouraging each other and we're coming up with different strategies. And somebody says, Well, what if you move closer, and it was a lightbulb moment in the space of time that followed that activity where I went, motivation, in a sense can be quite simple. And I thought so much about my own teaching at that point thinking am I helping my students approach the Little ring toss? Am I helping them approach, am I helping them get closer to the content and whatever it is that I want them to learn, or is something that I'm doing either a lack of expertise or something that I'm using becoming a barrier to their approaching this particular topic. Why were students avoiding something that maybe I was offering them? Particularly I was thinking then about specific books. And yet maybe other times, I would see them be really excited about particular books outside that weren't necessarily condoned by the school canon. And I just kept thinking about how is it that I can get more of my students to approach learning, whether it's reading, whether it's writing, how can I help them? What are the barriers that I can help remove? And now I've tried to translate that same kind of thinking into my teacher education, how can I help more teachers approach both the students and the learning that the students are doing, and less avoiding particular topics and particular methodologies, all in this kind of grand invitational scheme where let's all learn together, let's all generate knowledge together and approach what students offer us.

Margaret Vaughn:

I love that. I love that Dixie. That just makes me think about so many different things about my own schooling and my own experiences as students. And I think kind of building on that we, you know, Dixie, and I've talked, and we've been so fortunate to get to work around teachers and with teachers. And, you know, we are former teachers. And so that's really where I think our home is, I mean, I think we're, we're just teacher advocates true and true. And so the experience, one of the experiences I reflect on often, and it's something that comes up as a parent, I'm a parent to two young children, and then also just my work with teacher education and my work alongside teachers at schools. And then I reflect quite often on some of the pivotal experiences I had as a classroom teacher. And so I've written about this in different articles than in a book I'll reference in a bit. But there was one experience in particular that Dixie is heard, I think now, but it's, it's so foundational to who I am now as an individual and the work that I that I'm lucky enough to get to do. And so there was this little boy in my class, and his name is Jackson, that's a pseudonym. And, you know, I'm from a large city, big family, I didn't get my driver's license till I was well in my 20s. And so, you know, just different life circumstances. So, my husband and I moved to a rural place to North Carolina, and I had never, you know, that was the impetus for me getting my driver's license, because, you know, I really, I needed to drive, I could no longer rely on public transportation. And so I'm teaching this this class, and I'm loving it, you know, the kids would come in, and they were first graders, and I'd have their journal set up, and I would walk around with my amazing teaching assistant, Miss Terrell, and we'd walk around and we'd say, Hey, tell us about your picture. And Jackson would say, you know, very politely, Mrs. Vaughn, Bush Hog, and I was like, Oh, okay. Okay, tell me what it eats, Jackson. You know, okay, like, does it live in the jungle? Does it live... where does it live? And so, you know, this went on for several days, you know, until finally Jackson, who just about, you know, was able to have the courage to look in my eye and say, No, Mrs. Vaughn, it's a it's a piece of of farming equipment. And so I just, I reflect on that. And so I laughed, and he laughed and it was just this great moment of another reminder in life of how little we know. But I was so fortunate for that to happen, that first year of my teaching, I think it was pretty much like the first the third or the fourth month of teaching. And it was fantastic. Because in that moment, right, I had that choice. Similar to what Dixie was talking about, right? I could choose to say, No, Jackson, redirected him or I could have laughed and said, hey, you know what, that just shows you I need to really learn this. And can you help me learn a little bit more about this topic? This sounds great. And so after that, he would write books all about farming equipment, and he would, you know, he would no longer he was he shy, he would stand up. And, you know, after he wrote a book, during Writers Workshop, he would read it to the class happily, and it was just this wonderful transformation. And so I reflect on that experience a lot, because it really, at the time, I didn't really know what that thing was called. But it really reflects that idea about kids having agency and as even as teachers having agency and having that freedom and that creativity to kind of go with the flow, but also scaffold kids and get them interested in kind of work from that stance. And so that experience really has to it the student agency is one of the pieces of the work that the my part of my research and I'm fascinated by that because I think we do that all the time as teachers, but it's really that connection of theory to practice. You know, I'd never heard that topic when I was a classroom teacher, right? Like that was an agency wasn't, it wasn't an accessible term for me as a teacher. And I just think about that as an important piece of the work that I do with with pre service teachers now and when I construct professional development, with teachers, we think about that a lot. Just about what does agency mean for the kids we work with? And what does it mean for we as teachers, right, like, how do we support each other, to give us agency and also in the work that we do? So that's when that's one piece that really sticks with me when I when I think about, about my life and kind of the work that I get to do and the work with teachers? And I just, you know, I really reflect on that often. So that was one of the things when I heard that question, it immediately pops into my my mind.

Lindsay Persohn:

That question often elicits fairly strong responses from guests, as I'm sure you can imagine. Because I think we all have those, whether there are moments are often I think there are moments that are informed by a collection of experiences, about how we think about who we are, and what brings us to the work that we do. And you've both talked a lot about really motivation and agency. And it makes me think about how we approach our own learning and how we share the idea of learning with kids. If we as adults, are not open to saying, whoops, I thought that was something else, I made a mistake. Teach me about it. Let me learn about it, if we can approach with that kind of mindset, and then help children or adults we're working with to also say, Oh, that's right, I don't know everything. Please help me to see something new and to think about this in a new way. So I think sometimes in the day to day of teaching that can be hard to approach without sense of wonder and excitement about learning new things, because I think we're learning new things all the time. And sometimes it doesn't feel like exciting learning. But if we can return to that idea of using that to inform our own agency, and to help us to stay motivated, I think that's such an important mindset to kind of keep right in front of us, even as we approach really challenging situations. So I appreciate both of you for those stories. So my next question for you all is what do you want listeners to know about your work?

Dixie Massey:

This was a hard question for me.

Margaret Vaughn:

I know.

Lindsay Persohn:

It is. It's definitely a difficult question.

Dixie Massey:

As I mentioned before, I think what I have done is to follow interests and what has interested in fascinated me at the time. As a consequence, I have what could generously be described as an eclectic collection of research articles and publications and different things that I've done that sometimes seem to lack a real cohesive thread. Margaret is wonderful and has stayed a lot more focused than I and has built this really wonderful body of work around the agency. And I look a little bit like a dog chasing a squirrel. But I guess, again, I just keep coming back to that power of interest and how that shapes what we approach and what we're willing to learn. And for me, that's been both kind of in a historic context and in the present. So there's been some of the work that I've done, and I'm doing now that's all about literacy in the past, both how people have practiced it, the methodologies, the books that we've used, the phrases that we've used, and that continues to be something that isn't often not a part of teacher education programs, we don't have time for that history. And that has really helped inform my own thinking and filling out just a more robust version of how did we get where we're at? How do we get to the point where now we're talking about science of reading, for example, and where has that phrase been? And what has included in our past? I've spent a lot of time asking students things. And if you had to pin me down on one thing that I'm the most satisfied with, it would be the number of k 12 students that I've sat with and interviewed and ask, so tell me about that. How did you learn about warthogs? How did you know how to do that? What made you interested in the topic of ballet? And using those questions as a way to get insight into their thinking process has been one of the most informative processes for me on a variety of levels. So, for example, I've spent a lot of my work working with middle school readers who are designated by the school as struggling readers. And to sit with them and talk about well, tell me what you like, tell me how you found that out, continually offers new thinking for me. And the realization and the challenge that students are so often put in boxes, where they don't necessarily belong; it's not indicative of who they are. And that has informed my teacher education. I cannot tell you how many times in the past two to three years that some point in my teacher education classes, I've said, Have you asked the student? And so my teacher education students will come to me and say, What do you think? What's your opinion about? Do you think I should do this or that? And my response, now, they're nearly parroting me, they'll say something and they'll go, oh, wait, you want me to ask the students and I want you to ask the students because they should be a part of their learning. And I know Margaret will talk a lot about that when she's talking about agency, but students are collaborators on this. And you mentioned this, Lindsay, and what you just said, we don't know it all. And sometimes I think as teachers of any level, we'll we feel pressured to know a lot more than we do. And at some point, I realized, that just makes me a fraud if I continue to fake it. So why not just say, Ah, I don't know. Let's see

Margaret Vaughn:

Yeah. what we can find out. And one other thing, I'm, I'm proud of this, and I will not take the credit for it, because it was Margaret's idea. And I want to put that up front. But the you alluded to our new book coming out, which is Teaching with Children's Literature, and we are really excited to see this. So this was Margaret's baby. And she, And yours too, Dixie...

Dixie Massey:

...the subtitile is Theory into Practice. And we really wanted to try and capture how is it that we can take the theory that we've studied and that we know and make this something useful for teachers to put in our classroom, whether it's trying to translate that theory so that it's a little more interesting and a little more usable, or whether it's that activity that maybe you can use tomorrow. But here's why that activity is rooted in theory, here's the background of it, maybe it's just an acknowledgement for teachers, that what you're doing is important, and it has a much broader history than perhaps you even know, maybe you know, that it's just, hey, this works for me, my kids really enjoy it. And chances are, there's a deeper underlying theory that really supports what and why you're doing that.

Margaret Vaughn:

And I think to Dixie, it's a good resource to speak back to, and, you know, administrators or parents or, or people who, you know, don't necessarily see what you're doing as something that they want in the class. So for instance, thinking about that idea of, you know, quote, unquote, struggling readers, you know, why not allow for students to choose their texts, right? Why not allow for students to read materials are interested in and so it gives, I think, teachers and even administrators, too, it gives them the armor to say, actually, this is rooted in that theory that says, this is good practice. Right. And so I do, you know, I do remember my teaching experiences, and, and sometimes there were practices, you know, it was kind of at that point where, which, unfortunately, still goes on today, right, where it's that scripted approach to teaching. You know, I was an early grade teacher, first grade teacher. And so you have to be on the same page at the same time as your colleague and let's all do all the bluebirds are going to go to this classroom for reading and all of the you know, and some of those practices that we know are just they don't they, you know, they marginalize students who are historically minoritized in in the work and so I think about that often. And I think about our book and Dixie, this very underselling her, you know, these conversations, Dixie, we've been fortunate enough to know each other for a decade, maybe it's been that long for a long time. And so we've evolved in our own discussions, we've done some work, and we've been so we're Dixie is a great collaborator. And so it's been so much fun. We talk about our practice, and we talk about what's not working. You know, we just, we want to be able to reach this a little bit more. We're not really seeing this, you know, we walk into classrooms and teachers don't have that flexibility to have kids enjoy books that they're reading or there just seems to be that lack of teacher agency, and we sort of feel like, okay, let's try to write a book, where we can arm teachers and let them know like, actually what you're doing is right, and there's the page number that you can speak back to so and so if they come into your room when you're not on that designated task. And so, I, you know, I don't want to say we're rebels, because we're, you know, but we might just have a little bit of that in there, to try to try to do that. But, um, so I kind of wanted to pick up on that. And then, in terms of like, the agency part, which is a big piece of what I do, I wrote a book on student agency, and it's just came out with Teachers College. And so it's about how to support kids in agency in the classroom, k 12. And, you know, what do we do? And how do we construct those learning opportunities for students, where they're co collaborators and where they're, they're connected in their collaborative in the work. And, you know, I feel so lucky and so privileged to having, you know, having been able to do that, and I was working with teachers, and I interviewed children about their experiences and kids about what they thought about their own roles in schools, much like what Dixie talked about. And that's what I'd love for teachers to know that, you know, agency matters in the context, which I think they already know. But giving that permission to explore agency, understand it and speak up about it in those data planning meetings to say, you know, what, like, actually, yes, I see the scores and, you know, have we thought about what kids are thinking, you know, what do they think about it and, and that's what I really would love for teachers, if they're interested in learning a little bit more about that theory, to practice to look at some of our resources, the Guilford book, or also the student agency, Booker, or anything, or just email us, and we're happy to give you some information or just share, you know, we'd love to hear from you is kind of another piece about Dixie and I are pretty open and collaborative. And we'd love to learn.

Dixie Massey:

And I think my friendship with Margaret, is a really nice picture of what we would hope every teacher has, right this ability to, to collaborate to say, I'm noticing this, what are you noticing? What are you doing? How can we move beyond just maybe a set of complaints around oh, this is happening, or that is happening? And now how can we add some structure and think about, okay, and what is our response to that? And so, you know, for Margaret and I, we've used our writing to do that, to start with a point of saying, here are the things that aren't working for us or hear the frustrations that we are seeing, or we're hearing from our students? And now, what is out there already that speaks into that? And what can we begin to write as a way to, to answer that kind of call? And really, isn't that what ought to be available to all teachers?

Margaret Vaughn:

Yeah, yeah. So powerful. That's so true Dixie.

Lindsay Persohn:

Yes. Thank you both for that. And I really appreciate the way that you all use your own relationship as an example of what a professional relationship could look and sound like. Because I think we all need someone in our lives, at least one someone in our lives, who kind of helps us and pushes us to think differently, to reconsider, to to think more about a topic that's on our minds. So yes, that's certainly something I hope for every teacher out there is that there's a strong connection. And also, you mentioned that idea of having a resource to come back to, to say, well, I can do this because Drs. Massey and Vaughn said I could, and it is backed up by their own research. And that's really that's a goal of this show is to help teachers to understand the kinds of resources that are out there so that they can cite someone when they know that something they're being asked to do isn't right, or when they have an idea that they want to bring to their school administration. And so your new book together is about children's literature. And that's actually a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. And that's kind of a bonus question. I'm hoping that you all might share with listeners, maybe the biggest realization or some nugget from that book that she would want teachers to know about. So and some context, at least in my mind, I know that oftentimes in schools, teachers do not feel that they have the agency to choose books to read to their class. I've even heard of teachers who has said their principals do not let them read aloud to children, you know, so what do we do with that? Where do we where do we go with that, particularly in this vein of claiming our agency and saying no, we are professionals and we know what we're doing here?

Dixie Massey:

I'll start, and then, Margaret, you can polish up my answer for it. Um, we've heard the same thing, Lindsay, and it aside from you know, criminalizing an act like that to not allow real literature in the classrooms, it really feels like, if we are about teaching students and teaching students to read, then they should be able to read authentic texts. And so that's the premise of the book that we've written entirely. And as Margaret alluded to, we back up that with, here's what research says, here's what practice says. But books are a starting point, and students being able to choose. Now, if you have a classroom of students who are going to choose test passages and computer passages, well, I guess that's a different deal entirely. But I've yet to meet that student. And the relationship that a student forms with a text is unique and I don't think that we take that into account enough. And I don't think that that can only be a responsibility of the family. Hopefully, that's happening at a family level. But you know, even Margaret and I, where we might possibly go a little overboard in trying to make sure that our own children are readers, by making sure that they've got lots of trips to the library, and lots of books in their house. And, you know, when my son says, Mom, I'm out of books, simply because he's read the ones that he wants to read, it's like an SOS. Okay, well, let's go. And we recognize that that's not the experience for everybody. So then what can the school do to provide for even if the students are a reader, sometimes when a book is introduced by a new person, a different person, that student is much more willing to form a relationship, I can hand a book to my own kids and say, you should read this, or you might like to read this, and they will push me off like oh mom, but have a teacher offer that to them that they respect and have a relationship with and now it's a different ballgame. And so that's part of where we're at with children's literature is, isn't it positive, to allow students to not just answer comprehension questions, but create these relationships with texts, with characters, if they're narratives, with content, if it's nonfiction, so that they are nurturing their own thinking, and their own interests in a way that we can't structure if we only offer them a really limited, narrow scope. And then I think it circles back to just what we were saying with collaboration. Because once students have an opportunity to create a relationship with a text, and that text might be different than another student. Now we've got this really interesting point where students have some ideas and things to say to one another, if all we're asking them to communicate about is, from a singular passage, a singular narrative that everybody's read the same thing, there's no reason to talk about that, because you just read what I read. But if we've got all of these different voices, then it becomes something to say, well, here's what I understood, what did you understand from what you were reading?

Margaret Vaughn:

Yeah, I think that that you captured that so well, Dixie, and we talked about it in the book is this idea of purposeful reading. And so we outline core practices that we discuss, you know, time for authentic reading. And, you know, consider reading is the main thing. I mean, one of the things that was a little heartbreaking, just right before COVID, I had asked my daughter, so he came home from school, and I said, Hey, would you do for reading today? And the response was, Well, we didn't really do reading. We just didn't do reading. And I don't think that that's an uncommon thing that is around schools. And I think, you know, when we mean reading, what is that thing of reading? You know, and I think part of it is this idea of asking teachers, you know, what's your vision for the work you want to do when it comes to reading? Do we want to cultivate and create lifelong readers? Or do we want to, you know, cultivate mindsets, that it's this isolated task for these, you know, comprehension passages where they fill in the blank. And, and I think he also swings back a little bit to the idea of agency, you know, and it's easy for us to say, right, we're not in the context of a classroom, we don't have a principal, and we don't we're not, you know, pay for performance on our... so I want to kind of really be aware of that. And I think about how the pressures of that are real and I think that isn't it sad that teachers aren't having that autonomy to allow for that to happen. So we really push back a lot of that the book and say, well, actually administrators, this idea of having this, you know, this focus effort where test play, you know, standardized testing blitz for two weeks, that just is a negative impact. And so I think we talk a lot about that, and this idea about what's your vision, and we asked, you know, you really, it's a really good thing to reflect on your vision. We do it as educators, you know, in our own research, right, we also do it in our work as teacher educators, you know, Dixie and I have written about, you know, what are we doing, and why are we doing this? If we're not doing it, and why we're doing it, if it doesn't connect, we're like, well, let's we think that. One of the things that I think about, and I said this last week with my students, there's a practice where you know, you have, it's a popular practice where students read a passage over and over and over. And, you know, my students were just saying, you know, Margaret, they're so bored. And I said, exactly, I said, so it's that rule of thumb, right? If you're bored, also, in the process of even watching that, imagine what those poor students are reading the passage over and over and over for five consecutive days. I know for me, I could not do that. You know, what works for you as a reader, although it might not work for your students, you want to be mindful that certain practices might not fit, you know, the individual needs of all students. So you want to be aware of that.

Lindsay Persohn:

Kind of putting together some of the ideas that you've talked about, it makes me think of reading as a much more collaborative process. And I'm not talking about popcorn reading or round robin reading or anything like that. But the idea that I'm reading something, I'm interested in. Let me tell you about that. Now you tell me about something that you're interested in. And rather than trying to lead students to that one answer that we want them to provide to the one question that was asked about the texts that we all read, that idea kind of goes gray in my mind, but whenever you think about every one reading something you're interested in, and then sharing that interest with each other, that whole scene comes in full color, right? It kind of comes to life at that point, because as you said, that's what real readers do. It's not reading for school, it's not reading in order to answer the questions that somebody else has about the text, because that's not really what we do as readers. So I appreciate you putting all of those pieces together. And it really does help to maybe not reframe my way of thinking about it. But certainly to put a name to that to reading as this collaborative process that can happen in a in a classroom. It's not teacher led, it's not teacher focused. But instead it's everybody focused. And it's a way to bring everyone into reading wherever they are, whatever they're interested in, whatever level they're working at, to say, what are you interested in, let's find some texts that are going to inform that thinking, and let's talk about it, you know, let's see where you go with that. So I

Dixie Massey:

I have a really beautiful story about that, that really appreciate that kind of framing of those ideas about reading in school. is not my own. I'm sharing for a teacher, who was in a middle school, special education class where students came down the hall to him. And you can imagine, this was viewed by some as punishment. And some as this huge label of I'm dumb and they wore that as if that were their identity. And the special education teacher inherited a system where students were supposed to fill out worksheets, and he described it as soul sucking. And he said, I know I can't go in and change everything but I'm going to try and change one thing. And the one thing that I'm going to try is I'm going to try and allow just 10 minutes out of a nearly 60 minute period 10 minutes where they get to read what they want. So that was the first step. The second step was then he started letting students share about what they read. He said that he had this one fear because in his classroom, he had collected all kinds of books for students to read, including books that were at a first or second grade reading level and students could pick whatever they wanted. And he had one student who continued to pick Magic School Bus books, and look a lot at the pictures. And he said in the back of my mind that I had this fear that he was going to want to share what he was reading and that the other kids would then mock him. And he said I didn't know what to do and I didn't know how to mediate that. And one day it happened. The kid reading Magic School Bus books that I want to share. So the special education teacher led him because he didn't know what else to do. And he said I had worried and worried and worried about that. But all the other kids in the classroom said, Ah, I love those books. Those were so good. Have you read the one that... and the whole class just came around those not in a judgment of oh, you're reading those books now. But as this really shared experience that now they had all participated in, whether it was just now for kind of the first time or whether it was historic, and that that particular moment of making one change, where students got to read something that they chose for just a few minutes every day and then to talk about it created a unique collaboration and unity in that classroom, where students who had typically been identified as troublemakers.

Lindsay Persohn:

What a great story. And it may not be much of a surprise to you all but that actually reminds me of something that Gay Ivey said in her episode of Classroom Caffeine, about filling your classroom with quality texts, letting kids read and getting out of their way, and sort of just standing back to marvel at what they do with that. And I think that story really speaks to what can happen when we let kids have agency and choice and what they read, give them the time to do some reading, and then give them an opportunity to share I mean, so these are not things that are happening in the quiet classroom, right? This is a this is an active social collaborative kind of process. So I really love that story. And I think that that speaks to the power of that process of giving kids good things to read, and then letting them read them, and letting them talk about them. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. So we've touched on a couple challenges of today. So my last question is, given the challenges of today's educational climate, what message do you want teachers to hear?

Margaret Vaughn:

I think I think I'll start with this one and I think it's this idea that you matter. You know, you really matter and kids matter, families matter, and, and teachers really matter. And I think we're seeing that as a nation. I think we're seeing that all over the world. But I think this notion that your agency, your ability to have a vision and follow your vision, and that's what fulfills you. Right? Hold on to that in where we are right now, especially given the challenges and, and just remember that you matter immensely. I mean, all three of us can talk about a teacher that, teachers that have had an impact on us, right? I mean, I can talk about my third grade teacher or our professors, right, that have had a huge impact on us. And so you matter, and you will be remembered by so many for the things you do and the ways that you support kids. And so I just want that message to to go out. What about you, Dixie?

Dixie Massey:

Yeah, and to echo not only do teachers matter, books matter.

Margaret Vaughn:

Yeah.

Dixie Massey:

Margaret and I are big, we'll continue to repeat that throughout that, that real books, and I wouldn't maybe I shouldn't say texts and define that real broadly. Because, you know, there are a lot of things that I think may be accessible in videos and other kinds of media that can also be informative and teach students a lot. And so books matter and students interests matter in really important ways that should be shaping classrooms. At and I think Margaret, and I try to be realists in that as well, and recognizing that that's not the case in a lot of places. So what are those small changes that you might be able to include, whether it's like the teacher that I described, who said, okay, 10 minutes of every day, and he was the first to admit that that still didn't happen every day that it, you know, sometimes was every other day, but he felt like he was demonstrating agency, that the students were able to demonstrate agency, and that those small commitments of time over time, had a big payoff in classroom environment. And I think the other thing that I would just say is that, to echo several of the things that we've talked about already, interest and, and your own interest as a learner is also really important. So you know, if I were giving the three points of what matter it would be teachers matter, books matter and interests matter. Because it has been a season where it's really easy to burn out and to feel like there's not agency there's not a lot of change that we can make. And so even for my own teaching and learning the thing that I keep coming back to is not what do I know or what do I think I know but what am I learning now? What am I interested in? And what am I learning now? And then who am I telling? Who am I sharing that with as a way to rejuvenate my own learning my own thinking, and to be able and willing to whatever age of my students to invite them along with me, because if I'm excited about something that I have just learned, then that is contagious. And it can really make a big impact on overall learning.

Lindsay Persohn:

And certainly demonstrating for students that we are all still learners, I think is such an important mindset to bring to a classroom, but also an attitude to demonstrate right that we're all always collecting these these bits of knowledge, we're always figuring things out. And the other thing you all said that, that I wanted to really highlight is this idea that small steps can lead to big shifts. You know, I changing our practice is a challenge, right? Particularly when it's ingrained in not only habits but also expectations, our own expectations, expectations that others bring to classrooms. But I think the idea that we can find these ways to make small shifts that do really add up to big changes, I think is so empowering. So I really appreciate that. Well, I thank you both so much for your time today. I've really enjoyed talking with you. And I thank you also for your contributions to the field of education.

Dixie Massey:

Thanks, Lindsay.

Margaret Vaughn:

Thank you so much. What fun.

Lindsay Persohn:

Dr. Dixie Massey is known for her work in the areas of literacy development, pre service, teacher education and children's literature. Her work has been published in The Reading Teacher, Literacy Today, Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research Theory into Practice, Peabody Journal of Education, Social Studies and the Young Learner, Social Education, and many other journals as well as books and blogs. She's involved with the Literacy Research Association as the Historian and is a co chair of the History of Reading Innovative Community Group. Dr. Massey is a Lecturer at Seattle Pacific University. Our other guest Dr. Margaret Vaughn is known for her work in student agency, teacher decision making, and reading materials for children. Dr. Vaughn's work has appeared in The Reading Teacher, Reading Research Quarterly, Review of Educational Research, Reading Psychology Theory into Practice, Teaching and Teacher Education, Children's Literature in Education, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Peabody Journal of Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Reading Education, as well as other journals, books and book chapters. Dr. Vaughn is an Associate Professor of Literacy at Washington State University. Dixie and Margaret have co authored many works together, including their recent book titled Teaching with Children's Literature Theory to Practice recently published by Guilford Press. For the good of all students, good research should inform good practice and vice versa. Listeners are invited to respond to an episode, learn more about our guests, search past episodes, or request a topic or conversation with a specific person through our website at ClassroomCaffeine.com. If you've learned something today, or just enjoyed listening, please be encouraged to talk about what you heard with your colleagues, and subscribe and review this podcast through your podcast provider. As always, I raise my mug to you teachers. Thanks for joining me.