Studies Weekly’s new product manager, John Nabors, believes social studies and literacy go hand in hand.
“Content is the center of literacy. And literacy isn’t just fiction. It’s also nonfiction and informational text. If we want to turn the dial on students mastering informational text, we need social studies,” he said.
Every student needs to have the skills to navigate informational text because this literacy is essential across multiple industries as they move into the labor force. These same skills also allow for better learning overall.
“Content — that’s where we start to focus students on how to ask questions of the text, and then initialize the academic conversations they need to lead about the text. This is where we build deeper and more meaningful learning,” Nabors said.
Empowering students to understand and gain critical thinking skills is one of his passions. Before coming to Studies Weekly, he focused on helping educators implement teaching practices that make thinking visible.
“We would look at protocols that changed the way both teachers and students approached text with the goal to help students foster positive attitudes toward understanding and engagement. Once we helped build a narrative around thinking, teachers and students were empowered to improve it,” Nabors explained. “Similar to how an athlete needs to train and practice to be successful for a marathon, visible thinking helps to build mental stamina around learning and understanding.”
This type of thinking and reasoning is vital in today’s society because of the opportunities and pitfalls within technology. This is one of the challenges facing current teachers — how to integrate technology skills and learning.
“As a kid, all I had to worry about was the content. Even as a first-year teacher, my ‘technology’ was those old overhead projectors,” Nabors said. “But kids today have to worry about content and digital competencies. And as teachers, we have to change how we deliver the content.”
He added that, as the K-12 social studies curriculum specialist for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, he worked directly on solving this problem. His efforts there involved giving teachers the tools to integrate digital technologies and processes in their classrooms.
He was excited to join Studies Weekly, because of the company’s efforts in all of these areas.
“I was a customer first and was very impressed with what Studies Weekly was doing to listen to its customers,” he said. “I wanted to be part of this transformative culture, and have the opportunity to build, to set a vision, and to be surrounded by passionate people.”
Nabors joined Studies Weekly in May, and moved his family from North Carolina to our corporate offices in Utah.
In addition to the work he now does each day, he and his wife were very excited to start exploring Utah’s outdoors. They love camping and adventuring in their rebuilt pop-up camper. They love sports as well, and he and his wife are huge Carolina Panther fans.
“It was hard to give up our season tickets,” he joked.
He also loves motorcycles, saying he enjoys the freedom the sport gives.
“It’s my Zen,” he said with a laugh.
Nabors has a master’s in educational leadership, and has been in the education field since 2005 — serving in teaching and instructional leadership roles, as well as curriculum development. He’s also a consultant and speaker specializing in social studies curriculum and integration.