Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spell Checker as Teacher

As much as I enjoy writing, I have never been good at spelling. I’m actually a pretty poor speller, truth be told. When I was a kid, I was an extremely good reader. I was always advanced beyond my grade level. I could read pretty much anything. I could sound out words on the fly, and seemed to have an intuitive ability to figure out how to pronounce words I’d never seen before. It was a gift.

Many times, my teachers would have me give the spelling tests to the other kids. I would get an “A” for my spelling test, and all I had to do was read the words to the other kids so that they could spell them. I guess I was also really good at pronunciation or something. I’ve always blamed this, in part, for why my spelling is somewhat stunted!

At any rate, it occurred to me a while ago, that I had an awesome opportunity to improve my spelling, as part of all the writing that I do. In this day of automated spell checking programs, we have a teacher sitting right there with us… all the time!

In the past, I would let the spell checker correct my spelling, and I’d barely glance at the ‘correction’ it was offering. I looked at it long enough to know it was the correct spelling of the word I actually needed, but that was the extent of my attention. At some point, I realized I was missing a great opportunity to learn something!

Now, I try to actually study the ‘corrected’ words that my spell checker is providing for my misspelled words. It’s been really cool to see that words I’ve always had trouble spelling are now becoming words that I KNOW how to spell.

We are provided with opportunities to learn every minute of every day. Many times the CHOICE to learn is left entirely up to us. We can use something like a spell checker as a crutch, or we can use it as a professor! There is power in harnessing our ability and opportunity to learn!

Have any unlikely teachers hanging around in your life experience? Use them wisely!

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