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!

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One thought on “Beginning With the End in Mind & Ministry Conversation

  1. I really liked how you discussed the need for us to provide individualized instruction to each of our students. Each of our students will be approaching every lesson from a unique perspective, and may need very different assistance or motivation than what their peers require. I would also agree with you that this may require a significant extra commitment from us as teachers, but it is clear that this commitment will come with its own set of rewards. Like many other areas of education my concern here would relate to balance. As a new teacher I would be concerned about how to provide an individualized learning experience to each of my students if I end up teaching in a class with 35+ students as several of our city’s schools have. I am looking forward to both pre-internship and internship so that I can see how realistic this expectation of an individualized learning environment is in a typical Regina classroom.

    I was also left with many questions following Tim’s visit, and I will be very curious to see what new initiatives are presented in the coming years. With an increasing focus on literacy and graduation rates I am curious to see what changes accompany this in respect to assessment. Will there be a greater expectation on teachers to be lenient and a call for more accommodations to be made(something which I already feel our schools do quite often). I didn’t necessarily agree with his sentiment that a 47% is a pass, and I would worry that if this is the kind of approach that we use in order to increase our graduation rates, that maybe it will do more to discredit the validity of our system rather than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there will always be a need for some level of leniency in life and in academics, I feel like considering 47% to be a pass would be a very slippery slope to start on. With my background being in mathematics, so many of the concepts from one year are expanded upon in the next year. These deficiencies compound year after year, and the students have to work incredibly hard to dig themselves out of the hole that we have put them in by “pushing them through”. Anyways, I’m assuming that the discussion of students being “held back” and “pushed through” is something that will come up in the coming weeks, so that’s where I will leave it for today…

    Have a good weekend!
    -Petina

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