Education as a Human Right with William Tucker
March 14, 2023
Education as a Human Right with William Tucker

Every human on the planet has a right to an education. And, more importantly, a right to the education that they need and want. In Western culture, that often looks like traditional education…sitting in seats in classrooms and memorizing vocabulary and historical dates.

Not only is this not what our children need, the ability to memorize isn’t a sign of success. Nor is this even a good way to educate anyone.

This week on the podcast, I’m talking with William Tucker of Charity United, a US-based organization that provides humanitarian aid to those in need. William and I talk about what quality education actually is and why we need to ask what others need instead of simply assuming we know.

There’s so much nuance in the way people learn and we need to approach education from the perspective of helping others to understand and learn how to think rather than thinking the way society does.

This was a wonderful conversation around the English language, human rights, and why we need to approach teaching and learning from a different mindset.

About William Tucker:

William Tucker and his wife have helped over 100,000 kids & civilians in the slums of India, improving their quality of life through literacy education, emergency aid, and other philanthropic initiatives. As a Co-Founder of Charity United, a U.S.-based charity that provides humanitarian aid to children and civilians in need, William helps ensure children receive food, clothing, shelter, and education.

William has worked as an educational specialist and corporate training officer in International Charitable organizations for several decades, training thousands of individuals for their jobs in order to improve the productivity of these organizations. After selling his house and living in the slums of India for a year, William discovered through on-the-ground experience the problems that kids most often face while living in the slums, mainly a lack of educational opportunities.

In collaboration with charities and volunteers in India, Africa, and Latin America, Charity United provides educational tools to children with the aim of giving all children an equal opportunity for a promising future.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:47] – How William joined the cause
[2:50] – The underlying cause of challenges – failure to communicate, uneducated
[3:51] – What counters undereducation
[5:15] – The ability to think is what sets us apart
[6:42] – Goals for working with students in India
[7:20] – Don’t be arrogant and assume you know better
[10:02] – In all the top English literature education materials, they didn’t teach the sequence of learning a language
[16:08] – Use illustrative examples and the kids will start learning
[16:57] – Removing frequency words for better understanding
[19:08] – The real point of education: understanding
[19:54] – We’re not telling them what to think; we’re telling them how to think
[20:25] – Illustrations for educational purposes is much different than illustrations for entertainment
[21:47] – Adults can extract logic out of an image but kids are a blank slate
[24:47] – Making the right of literacy a priority around the world
[26:24] – Turbo Time
[27:27] – What people need to know about learner-centered learning
[28:27] – Everyone has opportunity to human rights, no matter where they grew up
[29:36] – How to be an activist to support learning and literacy
[30:54] – William’s Magic Wand
[31:38] – Maureen’s Takeaways

Links & Resources



Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education, evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast, please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Hi, William, it is so good to have you on Education Evolution.

William Tucker 1:12
Hi Maureen, thank you so much for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:14
Of course. And listeners. today I’m chatting with William Tucker, co founder of Charity United, a US based charity that provides humanitarian aid to children and civilians in need. He and his wife have helped over 100,000 Kids and civilians in the slums of India, improving their quality of life through literacy, education, emergency aid, and other philanthropic initiatives. So William, I would love to dive in, because I know it’s so much more than India. But let’s go back a step we know that education is a basic human right one that I sometimes take for granted. How did you come to join this Cause?

William Tucker 1:58
Very good question why, you know, we’ve done work around the world in different places, Africa, you know, in the east, Eastern Europe. And originally, we started with, you know, emergency aid for refugee children who were fleeing from war zones. And very needed at times. But after a while, you start to realize that one more finishes, and a new one starts. And that four finishes, and the new one starts. So it becomes an endless cycle. Right? And you see, you know, volunteer aid workers, they eventually burn out. And then because because at a certain point, you realize it’s never going to end. And that’s when we kind of started looking, okay, like, what are the underlying causes over here? Right? What are the underlying causes for all these the these troubled situations in the world? And veining it’s that people can’t understand and communicate with each other properly? Right? If you want to simplistically explain that. So what’s underneath that? A lack of education? Right? And you can take this from so many angles, you know, because you got people voting for the wrong people, you know, and I don’t want to get into politics, you know, right, my field, but but, you know, one looks around the world, and like, how did that guy get in Power BI? Isn’t that obvious about from whichever angle you want to take it and, and one sees so many silly solutions, you know, which is really, you know, an underlying problem in education.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 3:38
So, if education is the underlying lack, and you’ve been all around the world in very needy areas, what have you found to counter that?

William Tucker 3:56
Okay. I think, you know, if you look a little bit at the history of education, and I think you’ll be in agreement with this, you know, our current education system is very boxed in, right. You have to check mark the right answer, and then you pass her a test and where does this come from? This is actually modeled on the Prussian education system of the 1800s which was a militaristic education system designed to make unquestioning soldiers alright. And 150 years have gone by and nobody has realized that this was, you know, the current education system, this industrial education system is adopted from that philosophy, right? It’s trying to make unquestioning soldiers who follow orders regardless of of whether it’s right or wrong, right, because that’s generally what war is all about. Right? And we lost the education synonym of understanding, you know, teaching people to think. Alright, so this whole testing and boxton of like, okay, can you answer these questions the way we approve? shuts down thinking, right? And you have to have your education system has to be based on understanding the whole, the whole foundation of human evolution is an increasing understanding. Okay, the ability to think is what sets us apart. So, if you get an education system to open up the ability to think, to open up the ability to question and to make up your own decisions, now you’re on a path that produces growth, right, that produces evolvement. And what the question was, what do you need to do to get that? Right?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:54

William Tucker 5:56
And then we just looked and said, Okay, you know, the fundamental of education, or rests on your ability to read with understanding, okay, and notice that I say, Read with understanding. I’m not saying read and sound out things you don’t get. So, you know, we talked a little bit earlier, and you mentioned, you know, you always ask students to explain things in their own words. And like, wow, yes, that’s brilliant. I do the exact same thing. Because if they can explain it in their own words, we know they understand it.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:35
Right. I completely agree. So, particularly in India, when you have to you had sold your house and lived in the slums for a year. What were you trying to help them with literacy in their own language in English? What were your goals? And what were you finding out?

William Tucker 6:56
You know, the last thing I ever thought I would be was an English teacher or a literacy teacher. Okay. Okay. This is not any wasn’t anywhere on my horizon. But just from, you know, volunteering and refugee aid, you know, I do have a basic principle is go in and find out what they think they need, what they think will help them. And don’t be arrogant. Right? assumed you know, better, right? So, you know, I was in South Africa, and I went to a slum called the Atlanta bar, right? And it’s what was Zulu. Zulu word? And it means machine gunfire. Okay. Right. So, and when people from Soweto Fahrenheit, I’ve been to Atlanta, they go into shock, because they don’t, they’re stuck foot in Atlanta. Right. So, but going to like, like these, these really, you know, the worst places that you can find? And then I asked them, What do you feel you need? Alright? And the answer is like, well, actually, we want opportunity for education, we need to be educated.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:11

William Tucker 8:12
And I was in shock, right? Because in my arrogance, you know, I couldn’t even think that they actually knew what they needed. Right? Like I asked, right? And I run it, oh, my God, they know they need an education. Or, you know, and that’s what they want. Okay, fair enough, then ask him what you want to be educated in. Right? I was English. Why? Because we live in a global economy. Right. And most universities, if you want to go abroad, you know, you have to know some sort of English in order to, to have that opportunity to get a higher education. And people are far smarter than we give them credit for. Yeah. So that was the answer in the slums of fatwa. Okay, that’s what we do that right. But you know, later on in India, I asked the same questions and I asked them, Okay, what do you need? What do you want? What what is going to be useful to you? Nice, cancelled answer. God, well, actually, we want to know English, better, boy, then we can make it into higher education, then we can answer the job with a global job market, then we can do global trade. And it’s not that English is more important than any other language. But right now, it is a trade language, right? If you want to be fully internationally conversant you probably need to know English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, and I’m probably forgetting one

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:44
because then you covered all the bases, most of the bases, then you can communicate

William Tucker 9:49
with 90% of the world, right? So anyway, English was what they wanted. So that’s where we started, right? And so that’s how I got add on to English literacy. So I went and got all the in English materials I could find from some of the top universities in schools in the world and other hats, materials that were used in the top private schools in the world. I opened these. And I realized he couldn’t understand what they were trying to explain. Alright, they start off with English, and they start with grammar. Right? Not the sequence of learning a language. Alright, especially if you’re dealing in slums, you know, where they have very limited vocabulary. Sure. Right. So I tried for a little bit, went nowhere. And then we said, Okay, we have to start back at the beginning. What does work? And then I looked at like, Okay, how do moms teach their kids language? Because moms are the best language teachers in the world. And they they teach every child to speak their native language. And how do they do it? Well, they’re smart, you know, they point that an object inside a chair, right? And they’ve repeated enough times until the child is report that you know, repeating the word and saying chair, and they first build a vocabulary. I thought, well, let’s try that then. Alright. So I have 100 kids that spoke Hindi. And I didn’t speak anything in Hindi at the time. Now I speak a little bit. Uh huh. And they didn’t speak a word of English. But I just learned I pointed at the floor and I said, Okay, floor, floor, floor. And we didn’t mean that they were all pointing at the floor and saying floor, point that the sky sky Good. Where’s the floor? Where’s the sky? Where’s the floor? Where’s this guy? Where’s the tree? Right? And just building vocabulary within this for two weeks, and all the kids had a 200 word vocabulary. And they loved it because they treated it as again. Okay. And then the next thing we looked at is like, Okay, what’s the hardest thing to learn in English? And that’s the English small words. Okay, now there’s about a 5060 small words, words like in at on to write, which are the foundation of English literacy. And I will explain this. I take the word in, right? Everybody goes, Oh, yeah, I know the words have an answer your question? Can you give me the 11 basic meanings of the word in? And everybody will stare at you blankly,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:29
myself included?

William Tucker 12:32
said What do you mean the 11 basic meanings of the word in by underscoring basic meanings, I’m not going you know, the, you know, full literacy, I’m just going like the fundamental 11 ways that we use the word in, for example, ducks in a pond, right in their means, enclosed by Noah in an area. Only in the rain. Oh, you know, I’m surrounded by I’m in the rain, I’m surrounded by rain, I mean, the snow surrounded by snow, right? So in has a different meaning their children in the family. That’s a different use of him. Right? It means being part of something that which makes up part of something in the summer, you know, during the time of, in means during the time of landing in 10 minutes, not later than a stated amount of time and a lot later than a stated amount of time. Only gets in motion to the inside. Right? I go in the house. It’s different than being in the house. Right? It’s a motion to the center, or something. Current in flames in state or condition. He is in anger and he’s in the state or condition of being angry. Right? He puts it in writing material used a statute in clay, you know, I speak in English, the material or language used. Roth has nothing to do with the other meanings. And in a hat simple one wearing, you know, what are you wearing? I’m wearing jeans and a T shirt. Hi. Ali in aviation is the profession of somebody. Alright, I’m in sales. I mean, education means profession, or area of work in painting this picture in during the time of singing I sang a false notes. Right? During one in four. Okay, there’s your math definition, proportion or relationship. Right? So I’m just covering the 12 basic meanings of the word

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 14:39
and what have you done with it? Because I know I speak Spanish prepositions are hard for me and my Spanish speaking friends. It’s hard for them. So these a lot of launches that are prepositions and these little words are so tricky, and poor versus poor and Spanish. Oh wait, which one is this? So what Have you done because I know you’ve created something to support literacy for second language learners?

William Tucker 15:06
Yeah. And I would actually say this is for English language learners as well. Thank you. Yes. Second Language Learners. Yes. So, so each one of those definitions I just named off, right actually created a separate illustrated booklet for, right? With 20 illustrated examples. With the cartoon character, I call it the elephant, right? Where we actually have a picture guide to literacy, because we’re taking these really complex parts of English, which everybody assumes, you knows, but nobody can explain.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:46
And they’re abstract. It’s not a picture of a hat. You know, you’re not doing nouns in you know, so it’s not something that has a visual that goes with it automatically. So having illustrations to show them the frame is super important.

Unknown Speaker 16:03
Exactly. Right. And and that’s what we found is the moment we started illustrating and gave enough illustrated examples. All of a sudden, we started getting each one of the kids learning, right? And every single one could get through the English class now, right? Some of the feedback I have, you know, is that these kids are getting 90 to 100% of passes in their class, right? Kids who had no chance before? All right. So sponsoring that, you know, there’s about 50 or 60 words in the English language that make up 30 to 50% of every sentence, right? I could destroy your ability to make an English sentence by taking five words out of your vocabulary.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:52
I believe that high frequency words, but tell me which ones you would take out? I’m curious.

William Tucker 17:00
To have, and, as

William Tucker 17:06
my daughter’s are amazing. And bring me joy.

William Tucker 17:13
You see how long you had to think to do that?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:15
Absolutely. And if you’d put and in there, I and is another one that I use a lot

William Tucker 17:22
in there. But But trying to explain something technical now?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:27
No. And I picked a sentence, I picked a topic that would lead me that way if I had to. So if I have to explain how to make the how to open the garage door. So I have this device. See, I would have said a or that. But I have to do this. Yeah, I have this device. And and Andrew on the list. This red part has to be pushed out. I used to, to be pushed out.

William Tucker 17:59
Use the word to and that wasn’t

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:00
exactly exactly that. I failed. Yeah, it’s hard. Yes. And we don’t wait maybe was phonics we help them sound out? You know? Yeah. Different?

William Tucker 18:16
Yeah, it takes three seconds to teach somebody how to pronounce to know. But that doesn’t mean that you know, the 10 different basic uses of the word tune. Because there are 10 Basic uses of the word to

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:30
of course, I You showed me with it, and I believe you,

William Tucker 18:34
you know, and if you go to a to an adult dictionary there, then you should know 30.

William Tucker 18:39
Wow. Yeah, blows your mind,

William Tucker 18:42
right? It really does. So now you expect a six year old without this knowledge to read. Good luck. Alright. And then we get mad when they can sit, sit still and concentrate when they have no idea what they’re reading?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:00
Of course, yeah, it means nothing. So it’s gibberish, even if they can sound it out. So why are they going to be engaged? How is that relevant to their lives?

Unknown Speaker 19:09
Exactly. Right. And that’s, and now we’re talking about the the real human rights to education, right, can they understand are you making it understandable? Right? Not how many hours you know, do we force him to sit in class because that could be considered jail time from their viewpoint? Right. Right. That could be considered, you know, that could be considered a violation of human rights freedom to move. So, so, you know, when we start to look at the human right to education, as you know, as as as allowing them to understand, you know, allowing freedom of thought, now we are aligning it with others human rights. Okay. We’re not telling them what to think we’re telling them how to think. Very important.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 20:04
So then apply this when you go to a new area. You said you’re in Eastern Europe now by mammon, Eastern Europe. Yeah, yeah. So when you go there and start to work with a population, you have these booklets. And that’s a big part of the literacy programs that that you support, or how does it work?

William Tucker 20:24
It now is the big part. I mean, I just, I’m still in the middle of writing more. I’ve got over 100 booklets right now, but I know I need to make four hundreds to cover the basic meanings of 60 words, right? And one big problem in developing these booklets was that I try to hire illustrators at the beginning. Right? Okay. But if the illustrator of himself does not understand the concept, how can you portray it? How can you portray it wrong? Sorry, I went through illustrator after illustrator going wow, this doesn’t make any sense. Art, you know? So luckily, I’m computer savvy, but I had to learn to illustrate myself. Oh, yeah. My wife, my wife writes the booklets right. But I do all the illustrations. And we discovered that that an illustration for educational purposes is entirely different than an illustration for entertainment. Okay, okay. And again, that this was, this was found out the hard way. Okay. Because we tested, we always tested the booklets with the children, did they work? Alright, this is why I lived in Islam, to work with them to see does it work? Does it help? Does it improve? And at one point, you know, I had a booklet, and you know, one of the booklets for hand, you know, and showing difference, this is a cat, and that is a dog. Right? And shows difference, one of the meanings that I have. So I will illustrate that by having a cat and a dog on my image was reversed. The dog came first in the picture. And the cat came second in the picture. Right?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:13

William Tucker 22:14
So all the kids thought that dog was cat and the cat was dog.

William Tucker 22:18
Oh, shoot. Yep. Right.

William Tucker 22:21
If you don’t think of this, right, you have to experience it. And the moment I saw this, I went, Oh, my God. Alright. And then I started looking through all these schoolbooks. And we as adults can extract extract logic out of illustrations. But a child is a clean slate. It doesn’t have the necessary logic, right to extract the information from an image. Right? So the image must read left to right, like your sentence does, otherwise the child will understand something different. Alright, this was a mind blowing discovery. Like I it is so easy to say right now.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 23:00
But right, it would have made sense either way, if I’d seen that I would have known. So yeah, to have the kids catch that and start to say, oh, cat when they meant dog. It’s like, Oops. So

William Tucker 23:11
yeah, I wouldn’t have been there, I would have never known

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 23:15
but good for you for testing and for doing iterations and for really wanting it to work for the learners.

William Tucker 23:23
Yeah, yeah. And that’s, that’s, that’s how we kind of built this program was built with the learners. And if it didn’t work, we would take an image out, you know? And if the exponent because the booklets how we do them is they give the meaning of the word on the first page. So if you have you know, and then waltz Ali is one of the books smart, another meaning of the word and say go to the first page, and it says, okay, used to show what happens after something or the result. So we first define what does the word mean? Okay. And then there will be an ollie, which is the cartoon elephant, Ollie runs and gets tired. And that’s illustrated out so on and means shows results in this case are what happens after, or all he works and gets paid while getting paid as the result of having done work. Right. It’s not two ideas connected together. But that’s an entirely different meaning of and that’s the only meaning that people tend to know. Right, even though they use it in all sorts of ways without thinking,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:36
wow, this is super important. I’m glad that you are expanding it and that you’re using it around the world. How can others help make sure this basic right of education and true literacy is available to all learners?

William Tucker 24:53
Okay, well, I have my charts United website, but you know, people can also just start you You know, to do things in their own area, I mean, I know you yourself, you know, due to community activities. So so there are so many people that are starting to realize that our education system has to change, like, yes, find, find those like minded people in your communities, you know, and together, you know, they can do so through your website, if you want to support education and literacy. Through charity united, which is my website, you can do so as well, you know, but there are other like minded people, and first get educated yourself on what education really means. And,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:45
as you said earlier, and ask people what they need, I’ve done a little bit of work with blind people, and they don’t want you grabbing their ankle, elbow and dragging them across the street, to ask what they need and trust that they are going to know.

William Tucker 26:02
Yeah, yeah, they will very much know themselves what they need. I completely agree with you.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:07
Wow, William, this is really important work. And I know you and I are going to have some more conversation offline, because I love what you’re doing. And I may have a population that would want to be working with your books. But I’m gonna pivot now and just get to know you a little better. I like to have a turbo time, where I just ask you some rapid fire questions, so that the listeners have a sense of you as well as what you’re working on.

William Tucker 26:33

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:34
Okay. So what is the last book you read?

Unknown Speaker 26:37
Citizens of the galaxy, Robert Heinlein. I love that book. It’s just humanity all through the galaxy in a fantasy setting, but the same problems marked.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:48
Oh, cool. How about the biggest thing you wished folks would know about? That learner centered, centered learning?

William Tucker 27:00
You know, people just understood that education is all about understanding, and not how many facts you can remember, you know, anything you understand this part of you, anything you don’t understand, you have to try and remember, and that’s very hard.

William Tucker 27:18
Well said, I completely agree. How about a pet peeve of yours?

William Tucker 27:24
That’s a peeve. You have to be politically correct.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:27
Yeah. You don’t have to be super politically correct. Just a little

William Tucker 27:31
stupidity. Okay. And again, and maybe it’s just unthinking this, like, think it all the way through don’t rush to conclusions. Fair enough. I agree. automatically follow? Yes,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:47
please. How about a passion you bring to human rights for extremely impoverished populations?

William Tucker 27:55
I want them to do well. I want every kid to have the opportunity. Obviously successful life, no matter where they grew up.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:04
Yes, yes. Anything I want for my own daughters. Why would I want that for every child? Yes, totally. How about your favorite thing or fun fact about India?

William Tucker 28:19
I ate with my hands for years straight, never used cutlery. It’s how it’s done in the slums. You know, most people couldn’t survive that way. I apparently have a very good immune system.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:29
Wow. Good for you. I you. You look very healthy. Now.

William Tucker 28:35
I’m coming back to the west. I have to remind myself I’m supposed to use put a knife in the fork and not on the blade.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:42
Hmm. I had that experience with driving most recently in the Philippines when I lived there. Oh, wait, I can’t just go make my own lane. Wait, I’ve got to follow these rules. Yeah, but we have to readjust when we come home. That’s yeah. And then how can others be activists to transform education, schools, literacy?

William Tucker 29:05
I can I think we covered that just earlier. You know, hook up with people that are like minded, like you do activities on your website. I haven’t, you know, try to get Mike to talk to us, you know, but I’m one of many like minded people. Get in touch with the people in your community. There are like minded there are so many people that recognize education is a real problem and want to do something about it.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:31
Yes. And that synergy. We don’t need silos. We’ve done silos and it’s not working. Let’s play together in that sandbox. I agree. Exactly. How about something that most people don’t know about you?

William Tucker 29:44
People actually don’t know that. I actually once broke both my feet. I shouldn’t even be walking by it. And as I walked through the slums, no, nobody can tell. I can tell as a freestyle climber, and they have you know adventurous type. Are you spot? Oh my god? Yeah.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:02
Oh my gosh, I’m so glad that you can walk.

William Tucker 30:06
I know me too. Oh, yeah.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:09
Well, William, I like to wrap up with a magic wand moment. So if I hand you a magic wand, what would you bestow upon these children in these incredibly impoverished areas? What would you wish for them?

William Tucker 30:28
Literacy? And then they can make their own future?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:33
Love it? Yes. Not telling them what to do with their lives. No giving them the tools. You are inspirational, being everywhere and serving the neediest populations. William, thank you for being a guest today. And thank you for your hard work.

William Tucker 30:51
Thank you, Maureen, likewise, pleasure and honor to be on your show.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:03
I love the English language, and learning. And boy did I get to learn a new and better way to look at literacy, and language with William. We all want every child to have their basic human needs met. And education is one of those needs. I really appreciate how William talked about using education to help children know how to think, but not to tell them what they should be thinking. His magic wand was beautiful. Let’s give children literacy. And then they can make their own future.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:44
Yes, because I do geek out on language. We talked more after the interview. So for those of you that also enjoy this kind of mental exercise, I will give you a couple examples that he gave me. One was grammar. He talked about traditional grammar lessons tell you that this is an article or this is a noun. But that’s not necessarily always accurate. So memorizing these labels may not be the best idea. We want learners to know how to change the word to get it to mean what they want. He used the example house, most folks would say that’s a noun. But if I use it, in this sentence, I will house my cousin for the weekend, house becomes a verb. If I say the house cat crossed the street, house becomes an adjective. So we really want kids to have this nimble way of using a word in multiple manners, because then it explodes their vocabulary. He also went on to talk about articles. If we say A and the those are articles, again, there’s labels, but we’re not explaining what they do, and why they’re important. So we’re really just having kids memorize labels. So he went further and explained that articles are used to create nouns. I didn’t get it until he gave me an example. He said duck under the table and asked me what that meant. I said that means I need to get low and get under the table. And he said if I add the article A to the front of that word. So if I say a duck under the table is quacking. All of a sudden I’ve taken the word duck and turned it in to a noun. So it’s really important for us to unpack what literacy looks like. And make sure all children can say things in their own words, and understand what the word represents. This language geek had fun today. Thank you so much for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:12
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening to support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it For more information in shownotes go to education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

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