Beginning With the End in Mind & Ministry Conversation

First off, I would like to discuss Chapter 3: Beginning With the End in Mind. I enjoyed this chapter because it helped to clarify that, when planning, one must be cognizant of what they want to assess. This may seem like a logical thing to do, however I feel that often we, as teachers, overlook it. When we know what we want our students to be able to achieve (outcomes) before hand, we are able to use this information to plan for future lessons that will directly relate. This not only important for the teachers, but it is important for the students as well. The chapter then goes on to state the influence clear expectations can have on students’ success, explaining, “when we know what we’re going to be doing, we mentally prepare ourselves to activate more of our brain by doing so”. This passage helped to clarify that students will have a better learning experience when they have a clear goal in mind. After reading this chapter I feel that it is very important to work with my future students to come up with a goal for their learning that they clearly understand. In doing this I can teach them much more effectively, in turn helping my students to learn that much better.

Another portion of this chapter that stuck out to me was that often we assume that all of our students are going to learn in the same way and in the same amount of time. Obviously this is not the case. This section reminds me of the idea of equality vs equity. I think it is very important to give the students what they need to succeed, and often what one student may need to achieve success will be very different than another student. Along with this, it is very important to be able to understand exactly what each individual needs, through establishing relationships, as well as having a deep understanding of the subject matter. When we have a good relationship with each of our students we are able to understand when they may need: some extra time on an assignment, a kick in the butt (motivation), supports (eg. scribing), or simply some one-on-one learning time. It sounds like a lot of work, and it very well may be, however I think that if we want to be successful teachers, not simply “go through the motions”, it is necessary for the success of our students.

Lastly I would like to talk about the talk we had with Tim from the Ministry. I felt that this opened up my eyes to many different things, from funding to graduation rates. Before this session I simply viewed the Ministry as the group of people who wrote curriculum, however as I now see, there is much more to it. I really enjoyed when he was talking about some of the new initiatives,that have been successful in New Zealand, that they plan to incorporate and improve graduation rates of First Nations people. I am very curious of all of the details and have many questions. What will our role as teachers/administrators/citizens be? What will change in schools/public? Who will be involved? Is it a completely new facelift on the curriculum? I have many questions that I can only assume will be answered in the years to come. Growing up in a northern, rural community surrounded by reserves and First Nations people, I have always been intrigued with their way of life, and I look forward to future opportunities where I can help to influence this kind of change. It is an exciting time!