Principles of Education

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What I’ve learned about teaching to learn

Throughout this my time taking Education courses I have learned what kind of teacher I want and need to be.

When teaching an online class it takes extra effort to build the student teacher relationship. Even though an online class is different than a face to face class the student teacher relationship is still very important (Pacansky-Brock, 2016). One of the biggest things I want my students to know is that I will be there for them. I never want them to feel alone, or so confused that it hinders their learning. By providing presence in weekly announcements (Pacansky-Brock, 2016), I feel that I will be able to provide ongoing guidance. Providing timely feedback or replying to concerns quickly I feel will also help to alleviate stress. A lack of instructor presence can prove to be quite negative and cause students to feel isolated (Kelly, 2014). As I think about that, I think about how I must be aware of my priorities as a teacher. My number one priority is to meet the needs of my students. If my students need guidance, I need to take the time to reply to emails with detailed responses. If my students are struggling, I need to make sure I am providing enough constructive feedback that doesn’t leave them wondering.

As a teacher we are constantly challenged to make sure that we are including all our students when we are altering our pedagogy to fit the entirety of the class. “Teaching must be well rounded to meet the needs of all personalities” (Crews, 2014). In Module 2 Ryan really did a great job explaining Huetagogy, which is student directed learning (Hase & Kenyon, 2001). By adopting the approach of huetagogy I feel you are more able to meet the needs of all students. The students decide how and what learning take place (Hase & Kenyon, 2001) and are able to focus deeper in chosen area to get what they need out of a lesson. By focusing more on the process than the content the students are given freedom to engage in the material how they see fit (Hase & Kenyon, 2001). I want that for my students, so I must create objectives that involve higher order thinking. Creation falls under higher order thinking (Churches, 2009). My assignments must be intentional on getting the students engaged. A quiz or strict assignments that only allow for one right answer are not the kinds of activities that allow the students any creative way to interact with the material. Within a participatory digital world there are so many great tools that teachers have available to engage their students. Michele Pacansky-Brock states how she refused for a long time to use twitter, but then realized later what a great tool it was to aid in creating a community (Pacansky-Brock, 2013). Twitter was something I was hesitant to use during this course, but I have come to see the advantages and it’s actually kind of a fun tool to have. Digital learning is not passive (Pacansky-Brock, 2013). While a textbook is great, it can’t offer the insight another peer may have to offer. Twitter allows for sharing of ideas and different current resources. I have also come to love voicethread and wish that it could be used within Canton. I often miss being able to speak in face to face class dicussions and think voicethread could give online students their voice back.

As I progress as I teacher I plan to continue learning just like my students. I must be knowledgeable in the subject matter in which I am teaching (Fink, n.d), but I must also recognize that I must be a model for my students. Just as I expect them to keep learning and digging deeper, I must also commit to doing the same. Students and teachers should be actively collaborating in knowledge (Jacobsen, 2016). It is true that sometimes as a teacher you may even learn just as much from your students as they have learned from you.

I vow to be devoted to my students in every way possible. Through completing both education courses, taking risks, struggling, challenging myself, and digging deeper I believe that I have learned more than I expected. In the beginning of this journey I was not to sure about the waters I was treading in. Although this path was not straight and narrow, here I am at the end excited and feeling that I am equipped to teach in the future. I wanted to teach before this class, but now I want to teach even more because I get so excited about learning.

I would like to thank DrG for showing me that sometimes we have to step out of our box and out of the comfortable!

As this course comes to an end I would like to leave this quote here:

the-art-of-teaching-is-the-art-of-assisting-discovery-quote-1

 

-Mia

Churches, A (2009) Blooms Digital Taxonomy. Edorigami Wikispaces. Retrieved from http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/bloom’s%20Digital%20taxonomy%20v3.01.pdf

Fink, L. D. (n.d) Designing Instruction for Significant learning. National Education Association. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/34960.htm

Jacobsen, M. (2016) Teaching in a Participatory Digital World. Education Canada. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/teaching-participatory-digital-world

Pacansky-Brock, M. (2016) How to keep the human element in online classes. Michelle Pacansky-Brock Retrieved from http://brocansky.com/2016/05/how-to-keep-the-human-element-in-online-classes/

Kelly, R. (2014) Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://whitneykilgore.sharedby.co/tnMJCV

Crews, T (2014) Understanding the Learning Personalities of Successful Online Students. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/2/understanding-the-learning-personalities-of-successful-online-students

Hase, S & Kenyon, C (2001) From Adragogy to Huetagogy. Southern Cross University. Retrieved from http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/pr/Heutagogy.html

Pacansky-Brock, M. (2013). Best practices for teaching with emerging technologies. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Cognitive Diversity

 

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“If you don’t intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude” (Gerstandt, 2010).  This quote was noticed by each student this week, Cindy posted it within her initial post, Ryan shared it over twitter and I shared it within my initial post as well.

When the term cognitive diversity comes to mind I automatically think of the fact that everyone thinks and processes information in different ways. Within a group of people each individual has their own form of mental processing, perception, judgement and techniques for categorization (Gerstandt, 2010). So what is the big deal about cognitive diversity? It means that all students have different learning needs, and this is important to know as a teacher. A teacher must work to provide for the needs of all the cognitive differences in their students (Crews, 2014). Balancing the cognitive needs of all your students is not an easy task, but one that we need to be always mindful of.

As a student I learn things best when I can clearly see the practical application, the “why are we learning this, how will it be useful?”. Some students may prefer to put the pieces together themselves in order to find deeper learning. In order for teachers to be able to meet the needs of many students they must take the time to get to know their students, and this will help them to be more successful in teaching (Crews, 2014). Teachers must put in the effort to support communication with their students, especially within an online class, in order to plan and engage (Crews, 2014).

Going through this module I feel that I have begun to develop my practice philosophy even more. I often see things differently than other people, but I am always interested in seeing what others have to say. I believe that I am a linear learner, I like things to be presented in a logical ordered progression (Learning Assessment Survey). I am able to start of simple and then build to understand the bigger concept (Learning Assessment Survey). This differs from the holistic learner because they often try to take in everything all at once and at first is causes feelings of being overwhelmed (Learning Assessment Survey).  Eventually it all clicks for the holistic learner and the big picture is suddenly clear (Learning Assessment Survey).

Becoming a teacher with a linear learning style I believe will not be harmful to my students. When two people see things differently, those perspectives can engage both individuals. If a holistic learner is having trouble, then I may be able to describe the more intricate parts of material that I have studied, this could bring them to the point of making a link between all the pieces. I believe that I must always be respectful of how my students learn, because when I see things in a straight line, they may see things as a big puzzle. As a teacher I would promise to always support my students to work with them and not against them.  I enjoy being able to challenge ideas with peers and in the end as a group learn more together. I highly value cognitive diversity and I thank Cindy for making it her main focus within her initial post. It wasn’t until I read her post that I put the entire big picture together after studying all the smaller pieces. This is just one example of how cognitive diversity can be seen as a positive thing and can be used to a teacher’s advantage. By creating this type of community with your students you can glorify cognitive diversity while also being able to see first hand how your students think. 

“If everyone is thinking the same, someone isn’t thinking at all” – Gen George S Patton (Gerstandt, 2010).

 

-Mia

 

 

All references and embedded links were used in accordance to the fair use law, ” “Fair use” is the right to use portions of copyrighted materials without permission for purposes of education, commentary, or parody.”

 

References

Learning Assessment Survey

Gerstandt, J (2010) Cognitive Diversity. SlideShare. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/joeg/cognitive-diversity

Crews, T (2014) Understanding the Learning Personalities of Successful Online Students. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/2/understanding-the-learning-personalities-of-successful-online-students

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Online Learning & Instructor Presence

Hey All! mod2 pic

This has been quite the interesting 2 weeks. I am so thrilled to see that everyone learned so much from the module and it really allowed me to see how self directed learning occurs. I was a bit skeptical when DrG gave us so many module materials and said to define our own discussion board prompt. I noticed we all came full circle and learned the things that I believe were the key points of the module. Ryan chose to discuss heutagogy which origintaed from andrgogy (adult learning). Heutagogy focuses on how and what learning should take place (Hase & Kenyon, 2001). The teacher provides resources and the student determines the learning outcome (Hase & Kenyon, 2001). Hm! Sounds familiar, like maybe DrG used huetagogy within this module! This module placed a lot less stress on me as a student because it really allowed me to focus on the material and what I felt was most important. In turn, I feel that I have gathered a great understanding about how to develop myself to be a great online teacher should the opportunity ever arise. Instructor presence was a main point that I really honed in on this week. By personal experience, instructor presence makes all the difference in an online class. So it got me thinking about what my past teachers and current teachers have done to connect with me as the student. I realized that even though using new unfamiliar tools may freak us out, that our students can greatly benefit from this extra effort. Being aware of your students needs allows you to provide more support in the appropriate most helpful forms (Pacansky-Brock, 2016). I am really intrigued by using voice and video messages because I have always felt that emails make it harder to communicate our concerns or tone. By using tools that allow for voice and video messages you are able to convey empathy much better to your students (Pacansky-Brock, 2016), which in turn aids in providing instructor presence. Kayla mentioned that empathy is putting yourself in your students shoes and trying to understand their struggles. As an online instructor it is so important to actively participate, a lack of participation can negatively impact students (Kelly, 2014). By actively participating you are able to quickly field problems and guide the students, instead of allowing them to stress for days on end. Web 2.0 tools are the way of the future and can help us even more to reach our students! I am definitely looking forward to adding more tools to my toolbox and using them to build relationships. Like I said before and Cindy did as well, social presence helps build trust. Lets be here for our students!

 

-Mia

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The Internet Era

As I read the module materials and did my own research, the one thing that kept coming back to my mind was digital footprint. Everything you do on the interneclip-art-footprintst is permanent. Ryan shared an excellent quote “What happens online stays online…forever,” and that you must “think before you post” (Hoult, 2014). I spend much time thinking about what I am posting and thinking about how it could negatively effect me. This is why I appreciate Kayla’s post, because she shares the viewpoint of how social media can positively effect our image: “The biggest thing to remember is that you are able to create a positive image as well as check up on yourself to ensure you are keeping a clean digital footprint.” My online presence helps to define my overall reputation (McPeak, A.A., 2012).  I want to make sure that everything I post reflects that I am a professional online and in person. My privacy settings are very strict, but I still do not post very often on my social medias because I do not post anything that is not noteworthy.

I will admit that I am still very apprehensive toward twitter because I do not feel that it is a media that I want in my PLN toolbox. I am however a fan of participatory learning because it allows for sharing of multiple ideas from multiple people all at once. “Participatory learning is the form of learning that occurs through interactions with social media, like twitter, Facebook, and YouTube” (Pacansky-Brock & Ko, 2013). Digital learning allows for interactions that create active learning rather than passive learning (Pacansky-Brock & Ko, 2013). So just like Cindy I am willing to give twitter a chance, but I will strive to find what really fits my own personal needs for a PLN. I feel like I often use YouTube to find out new information about topics. Last semester I used YouTube many times to learn how to use certain functionalities on my graphing calculator. There were a few channels that were made by teachers from other schools that I ended up subscribing to because that had many videos that I felt I would like to reference in the future. This is just one example of how I didn’t even realize I have already begun building my PLN.

I look forward to a semester filled with learning!

-Mia

 

Hoult, A. (2014) Your Digital Footprint. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/_5gmx9d1lwo-/your-digital-footprint/

Pacansky-Brock, M., & Ko, S. S. (2013). Best practices for teaching with emerging technologies. New York, NY: Routledge.

McPeak, A.A. (2012) Ten Tips for Maintaining Professionalism Online. The Young Lawyer. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/publications/young_lawyer/2011-12/june_2012_vol_16_no_8/tips_maintaining_professionalism_online.html

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Technology: The Future of Learning

 

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As this semester comes to a close there are many ideas that have been pulled together to form cohesive ideas about student learning as well as teaching. As I have explored the themes I believe the number one thing teachers should strive for is to form a classroom filled with engaged students. When students are more engaged within a subject they will learn the curriculum and much more because they are able to direct their own learning (Wardlow, 2014). We want to see our students thinking, problem solving, asking questions, and most importantly enjoying the learning process. As we are coming into the 21st century it seems harder and harder to keep our students engaged with all of 21st century distractions, a very big one being mobile devices, social medias, computers and the internet aka TECHNOLOGY. As I think about this I begin to wonder why we don’t see more integration of this technology within our teaching. “Technology places the world in the hands of every student inside the confines of your classroom” (Britland, 2013). Students who have access to technology are able to find answers to any question, or even explore curriculum topics in more depth at their own discretion. Giving students this subtle freedom may just be the thing that draws our learners back in. As for social media, two of our 4 C’s are communication and collaboration (Blair, 2012). Now I am not saying lets have our students be on twitter, facebook and instagram all day, but this generation of students thrives on communication through technology. This is our opportunity to allow them to communicate and collaborate in the school setting. I was weary of having to write a blog, and I honestly wish more people got to see what I write here..but this form of communication to the world outside my classroom is liberating and thrilling. I love the idea of having an online platform to share my thoughts. I think many students would feel the same way if given the opportunity. We are also always talking about global collaboration, and it would be so wonderful to see our students across the world connecting and working together.

As strange and nontraditional as it seems, it is time for teachers to take a step back to allow the students to take center stage. A teacher should act as a “learning catalyst” (Blair, 2012), instead of the main act of the show. When teachers take a step back the students are forced to work independently to form the oh so desired problem solving skills of the 21st century. Problem solving skills can’t be just taught, they must be experienced and built by the students themselves. Technology can help teachers to allow students to foster their own discovery while also becoming engaged in curriculum provided by the teacher. Robyn believes that technology is important and should not be heavily relied on by teachers. Jessica has said that technology takes a large load off of teachers and may even allow them to use classroom time more effectively. I must agree with both my peers because there must be a balance between technology and guidance provided by the teacher. Ryan said: “By assigning more discovery activities, where students may utilize computers, tablets, and smart phones, the students are able to approach real-world problem solving in a way that gives the students ownership over learning and allows them to build upon prior knowledge (Blair, 2012). ” He agrees with this statement because he often uses the internet to find answers to his questions. I myself often turn to the technology of the internet for my learning needs and have in some cases found some very interesting new information that excited me as a student.

Ultimately there are many barriers to incorporating technology within our schools: money to afford the technology, student compliance with proper use of technology, and teacher willingness to incorporate technology. Taking those barriers into mind I still believe with the way that our society is progressing that it is crucial to include technology within our student’s learning atmosphere because it will play a large role in their adult life and success as well. So lets step into the future of learning.

Over and Out, Until next time

-Mia

 

References:

Blair, N. (2012) Technology Integration for the new 21st century learner. National Association of Elemantary School Principals. Retrieved from:http://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2012-technology/technology-integration-new-21st-century-learner

Britland, M. (2013) How has technology transformed the role of a teacher? The Gaurdian. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jun/18/technology-transform-teaching-students-schools

Wardlow, L. (2014) How can Technology boost student engagement. Pearson. Retrieved from: http://researchnetwork.pearson.com/learning-science-technology/technology-can-boost-student-engagement

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Fix the Kids or Fix the Schools?

This week’s module topic focused on what kids need aHeaderImend different types of school that can deliver on those needs. I had a lot to think about this week as I sifted through the module material and then was asked to write about what my dream school would be like.

I think one of the things that stood out most to me was that progressive schools teach the student as a whole on emotional, physical, and mental levels. The students within those schools are not treated like devices to gather data about the “intelligence” of our country, but rather as HUMAN BEINGS who are being offered the opportunity to learn and discover. Seeing students get excited about learning and striving for their own personal success is something that seems so rewarding. I would like to point out a difference between perseverance and grit though. Grit is the concept that students must be self disciplined, resist impulses and “grind through work” (Kohn, 2015 pg.80-81). Grit believes in single-mindedness and sticking with one thing which does not allow for exploration or discovery (Kohn, 2015 pg.81) Kohn writes about how students who are forced into the mindset of grit can fall into the trap of “non-productive persistence”, which means the student is striving to meet an unattainable goal (Kohn, 2015 pg.82). Jessica discussed the Ken Robinson video “Do schools Kill Creativity?”, she mentioned how students are made to believe that mistakes are wrong and they fear failure. When learning, students shouldn’t have to fear being wrong, making mistakes is all a part of the learning process. I do not agree with students being forced to push through work that is not valuable to their learning, if the goal is unattainable, what is the student really learning? To just tough it out? To be self disciplined? While self discipline is a great quality to have, is that the only thing we want our students to learn? I for certain want our students to be able to dive into learning and enjoy what they are doing, grit totally undermines that desire.

Within my dream school I would support individuality, diversity, no grades, hands on learning, time for play and holistic teaching. I want my students to LOVE coming to school and to LOVE learning. If we want to help students develop a life-long passion for learning, then it must start in childhood classrooms. Let us not kill creativity and put a damper on all of the curious thoughts going through a young student’s mind. Ryan wrote about holistic teaching and this is what he had to say about his dream school: “As part of the holistic learning style, imaginative and physical play would be an important step in the process of student development. With even young children having too few opportunities for plenty of play these days (Kohn, p. 100), my dream school would ensure that there was ample play time built into the curriculum. And not just through traditional recess and gym class, because when play is “teacher-directed, it involves little or no free play, imagination or creativity” (Kohn, p. 101). The point of play is to use imagination and creativity, and if it is directed, then this will limit the entire purpose.”  I read a great article about how play can help children focus and learn better during learning lessons (Moggio, 2014). Children need time to relax and decompress so that they can re-concentrate when it is time to sit back down for a learning lesson (Moggio, 2014). Kids have far too much energy to be forced to sit still and listen all day. Another note on holistic teaching came from Julie about her dream school: “we would focus on the whole child and join the hands, mind, and soul of the student to allow them to be capable of living a purposeful life as adults.” Tending to the student as a whole ensures a much better state of well-being and allows for more willingness to learn.

On an end note I will leave us with this thought from Kohn, instead of trying to fix the kids lets focus more on how they are taught..fix the schools. (Kohn, 2015 pg.89)

 

Over and Out, Until next time

-Mia

 

References:

Moggio, M. (2014) Playtime in Schools makes children happier and improves concentration during lessons. Playtie Toy Industries of Europe. Retrieved from:http://importanceofplay.eu/blog/article/playtime-in-schools-makes-children

Kohn, A. (2015) Schooling beyond measure & other unorthodox essays about Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

 

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Quantity over Quality? or Quality over Quantity?

Imagine a school where grades are obsolete and students love to leaquality-quantityrn while taking risks, sounds like part of a utopia that will never be America. In America quantitative assessments have taken over our schools, placing too much emphasis and value on grades (Kohn, 2015 pg. 47). Legislation is sacrificing the quality of student learning for the quantitative abstract grade-measures that only serve to turn our students into data. By focusing on quantitative measures students become distracted with getting good grades rather than being engaged in what they are being taught (Kohn, 2015 pg.54).  With the implementation of standardized testing across America the point is to create a system of measuring student learning. I do not believe that a number or a letter grade signifies a student’s knowledge and understanding in any way.

A grade oriented environment causes high stress and fear of failure (Kohn, 2015 pg.36). Students are being “prepared to pass other people’s tests” (Kohn, 2015 pg.39) Students are not learning for themselves but are instead being forced to jump through bars and hoops set by standards. Ryan noted how standardization has narrowed curriculum to only focus on what is being tested on. “There’s less time for learning with testing and test prep” and “students are learning how to take high-stakes-tests, but cannot demonstrate subject mastery when tested in a different format. ” (Strauss, 2014). Julie added that “Most standardized test focus on a narrow spectrum of skills, abilities, and content resulting in surface learning and memorization of topics for the test. True deep learning with the ability to understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create is something that cannot be tested (Carnegie).” Isn’t the point of learning to inspire creativity and discovery, not achievement and performance competition? (Kohn, 2015 pg.54).

A student writes a piece of work and receives a 60% for their efforts. I challenge you: can you tell me what a student understands based on that grade? No? Quantitative measures are only numbers on a scale, which does not provide any substantial feedback to the learner or evidence of what the student understands. Kayla stated that feedback is crucial to student success because grades do not give feedback.  Students need a healthy amount of feedback throughout their learning process to help guide them in the right direction, a grade is not capable of that action. Seeing a low grade may cause a student to fall into the trap of thinking that they just don’t understand something and never will.

So Quantity over Quality? or Quality over Quantity? For my students I will fight for Quality over Quantity. Assessments aren’t meant to be used for measurement..they are two very different things. I am an advocate for deep learning, a supporter of individuality, and a nurturer of student growth. As much as it would ever be hard to break away from grades, and as a teacher I will still have to put a measurement on student work, my focus will always be on giving feedback that will enable meaningful learning. Instead of placing value on grades, lets start placing value on the many wonderful students who are full of potential. It’s time we start giving students the opportunities for learning that they deserve.

 

Over & Out, Until next time

-Mia

 

References:
Strauss, V. (2014) 13 ways high-stakes standardized tests hurt students. The Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/10/13-ways-high-stakes-standardized-tests-hurt-students/

Kohn, A. (2015) Schooling beyond measure & other unorthodox essays about Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Carnegie Mellon. “Align Assessments With Objectives”. Retrieved 3/21/2016. (https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/assessments.html)

 

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Inside the Mind of a Teacher

During Modulpeter pane 4 we were required to interview a teacher of our choice. I chose to interview my former 6th grade teacher Mrs. Brinkman. She now teaches Universal Pre-K and has been teaching for 20 years. It excited me so much to hear what she had to say in regards to teaching that I am sharing my feelings here.

This far in our coursework I have learned so many things and key concepts that have in a way become a part of the teacher inside of me. If in the future I find myself teaching I want to build relationships and connect with my students. I want them all to feel accepted in the face of diversity. I want my classroom to be place where my students learn to fly and take risks.

Something Mrs. Brinkman talked a lot about in our interview was teaching a child as a whole, which means tending to the social and emotional aspects of learning. When I asked her what her students need, she said to me which a huge smile like she was happy I asked: “They need LOTS of Love and patience.” Within the passage “Engaged Pedagogy” a holistic approach to teaching involves acknowledging that the student is not just a receptacle for information but instead a child with their own complex life and experiences (Engaged Pedagogy). It was so exciting to hear Mrs.Brinkman, a teacher that I know and have worked with support holistic teaching. We often don’t get to hear the behind the scenes thoughts that teachers have on the daily. Mrs.Brinkman works with each student to find their strengths in order to help them meet goals. She understands that some students have different needs and what works for one child may not work for another. She mentioned a student in her class who has a hard time being away from home for a whole day, she has been working with him to get him excited about activities at school and lessen his anxieties about being away from home. “I want my students to know this is a fun place to be where they can feel safe.”

As Jessica stated just like the field in “Learning to fly” many students have struggles that can hold them back. But a teacher, much like the medicine man, can remind students that they are not limited in their potential to fly. Students must take risks in order to learn how to fly, when a teacher takes the first risk they lead by example to show the students that good things can come from a little risk taking (Engaged Pedagogy and Critical Race Feminism). Just like students, teachers are urged to try new things especially when working to meet the needs of their students. Taking risks together helps to build trust within the student teacher relationship. Julie mentioned how teachers are meant to inspire their students while also being committed to growth. Teachers must understand that learning is not easy and that challenging their students will allow for growth. Ryan said “it is important to keep the students motivated and to work through frustration.”

Mrs.Brinkman knows that her Pre-K students are just at the beginning of their learning career but that they also must be challenged, appropriately. One thing that is very frustrating for her is working around local, state and national standards. She noted that she wished more teachers were able to be involved in legislation because teachers work so close with the students and understand their needs. Teachers are able to be in tune with their students needs because of how much time they spend together. Mrs.Brinkman supported that legislation thinks they know where students should be at, but in reality all students start somewhere different in the learning process. I watched this great video I found on Facebook about building bridges. The teacher in the video talks about how it takes different methods to get each student to the same endpoint because each student is an individual. It warmed my heart to hear Mrs. Brinkman talking about the same concept.

Overall I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to interview Mrs. Brinkman. Speaking to someone who teaches every day and loves her students so much was inspiring. So I advise if you ever get the chance to, pick the brain of a teacher. Listen to what they have to say, hear their words and understand the dedication they provide to their students. Teachers aren’t just knowledge importers, they are nurturers for learning and growth.

 

Over & Out, Until next time

-Mia

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Teaching and Caring: It’s more than just delivering information

Something that has been weighing very heavy on my mind is how some teachers can be so disconnected from their students. Julie talked in her initial post about hTys_CaringTeacher_Quoteow her worst teacher “had difficulty connecting and had a general disregard of compassion.” This made be begin to wonder what made this woman become a teacher, did she know it wasn’t going to be easy? Did she know she would be challenged every day? Did she know that she had the potential to impact each and every student?

I think of a teacher like a nurturing parent, someone who is there to instill knowledge but also guide the child to grow into their own individual. I was further inspired when I read the part of Julie’s post about how her favorite teacher made each and every one of her students feel like family. This teacher embraced each child along with their positive and negative traits. She taught all of her students and not just those who were easy to teach. Saying a student is not ready to learn is an excuse for not putting in extra effort to be caring and understanding. It is clear that there is a trend here that caring compassionate teachers build bonds with their students that allow for deeper learning. I was willing to learn for a teacher who cared about me and my well being, that is proof enough that a teacher’s relationship with their students can make all the difference. I read a great article this week about 4 ways that a teacher can show they care, I suggest giving it a read. My favorite thing from this article was “actively listen to students.” Teachers spend so much time doling out the information that it is sometimes forgotten that the students have many thoughts in their head as well. A student could be thinking: “I am struggling” “I don’t get this” “Wow, that’s cool…I wonder if…”

By actively listening to students, a two way street of trustful communication is opened up,. Gunderson says that creating an environment for open conversation will aid in transmitting information (Nieto, 2013 pg 35). Cindy mentioned how Mr.B was caring toward his students, and as time went on she became more curious and comfortable asking questions. She got excited to do a bit of research through prompting by Mr.B and even earned extra credit for her hard work (DEEP LEARNING ALERT!). She was not forced to find the answer, yet she felt compelled to do because of her own curiosity and a small push from a teacher who could see the wheels turning. This I believe must have been rewarding for both student and teacher. Michelle really focused on how much of an impact her teacher’s positive, caring “you can do it” attitude helped her make it through dental hygiene school. Michelle felt like her teacher believed in her and was one of her biggest fans. That is how a student should feel. Learning is challenging and risky, when it doesn’t feel like your teacher is on your side it can make you feel like they don’t care.

So! I think the biggest lesson I learned this week was that if I am to become a teacher, I must listen to my students, care about my students, push my students, and most of all take joy in their successes along with them.

“Their success is my success” -Angeles Perez (Nieto, 2013 pg 38)

-Mia

 

Nieto, S. (2013) Finding Joy in teaching students of diverse backgrounds. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Zakrzewski, V. (2012) Four Ways Teachers Can Show They Care. Greater Good: The Science of meaningful life. Retrieved from: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/caring_teacher_student_relationship

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The Real Issue, are we focusing on the students? (mod2)

As I spent time working through our module materials I pencil-311818_640was taking brief notes and thinking about what all this information meant to me. During this module so many different ideas were presented. I am not going to lie, I was becoming overwhelmed. Some things really lit a fire in me to spawn this blog post: The Real Issue, are we focusing on the students?

Within the United states standardization has become a large topic. Many believe that through standardization our students will rank higher in education, therefore boosting our economy. But is this what our students need? It has been shown that standardization is not linked to student growth or success in closing the acheivement gap (Nieto 2013). According to Kohn there has been no proven correlation between economic growth and student test scores (Kohn 2015,p1 chp1). We are not meeting out students needs for deeper learning, yet we have so many great philosophies that would help students to excel. Teachers are being placed in a figurative box and blamed for poor student performance due to the removal of freedom within the classroom (Kohn 2015, p1 chp6). Standardization has corrupted the teacher’s role to assess the needs of their classroom and students. Ryan reflects within his initial post noting PISA scores of white wealthy students are higher than those students who are at poverty level and within primarily Hispanic and African American areas. Teachers are not being allowed to structure their classroom to incorporate methods that embrace diversity. Within  “Reflections of the Purpose of Education and the Manufactured Crisis”Diane Ravitch notes how it seems like our government is an oligarchy exercising control for selfish purposes. I believe that our students would be more successful if teachers were given more freedom to gauge their students learning instead of enforcing standardization.

If you think about it so many different teaching philosophies exist outside of the 5 most widely accepted: idealism, realism, pragmatism, existentialism and postmodernism. Many of my peers made statements that discussed how they feel that more than one of the philosophies applies to their beliefs. After initially reading I felt that my teaching philosophy was a blend between realism and pragmatism. Realism focuses on rationalizing information within the environment and using logic to apply it (Ornstein & levine 2008). Pragmatism emphasizes construction of knowledge by problem solving (Ornstien & levine). Between the two philosophies I felt that students would be able to gain a base of information while also being pushed to challenge what they already know from their environment. I think developing problem solving skills is one of the most valuable things a student can take away from their education. Cindy and I felt the same about realism and pragmatism, but she also brought existentialism to the table. Existentialism involves deep self reflection about purpose which relates to deeper learning. I often times think about what will make me happy and what is important to me. I would want my students to be able to ask the same questions freely. Deeper learning is key component to learning that MaryEllen Weimer discusses on her blog. Teachers take an active role in growth that enables deeper learning because students learn best from challenges placed in front of them. Overcoming challenges while gaining problem solving skills opens up many doors to success. Don’t we as Americans want our students to feel fulfilled, successful and embrace their learning process? To close this blog out I want to leave you with a quote from a peer (Robyn) that I really love: “You learn for the sake of learning, not because you have to”. I feel that I have learned the most when I was excited to learn, excited to face a challenge, and willing to fail before I got it right. Standardization needs to go, and the focus needs to shift toward our students real needs rather than the selfish wants of United states to compete.

 

Nieto, S. (2013) Finding Joy in teaching students of diverse backgrounds. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Ornstein & Levine (2008) Foundations of Education 10th Edition. New York, Houghton Mifflin Company

Kohn, A. (2015) Schooling beyond measure & other unorthodox essays about Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Ravitch D. Reflections of the Purpose of Education and the Manufactured Crisis. July 4, 2013. Retrieved on 1/31/16, from: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/07/04/reflections-on-the-purpose-of-education-and-the-manufactured-crisis/

Weimer, M. (2012) Deep Learning Vs Surface Learning. Faculty focus retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/deep-learning-vs-surface-learning-getting-students-to-understand-the-difference/

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