I really enjoyed the Rick Wormeli videos we viewed in the carousel activity. Each of the videos held valuable information that all teachers could benefit from hearing. It felt as if many of the points he would make in his videos should just be common sense to all teachers, but often teachers instruct in the exact opposite to how we should be teaching due to a number of reasons (teachers feeling overworked, repetition of behaviours/teaching styles we were taught, etc.). In his video on students I felt he hit a number of key points, which resonated with me.
Rick talked about how often teachers see themselves above students, expecting students to go “50/50” with them, and teachers not agreeing to spoon feed students. On major point I got out of this is that as teachers we must realize that we must be the adult in the situation. This may seem like an obvious point to make, however I feel that often teachers get caught up in certain situations and forget that their pupils are still teenagers. The problem with being the adult in the situation is that you will have to take the responsibility in many situations. You will have to help certain students to success by placing a number of supports at their disposal. This will mean that you may have to give more than the “50/50” (as stated above), or “spoon feed” your students by giving them additional supports needed for them to succeed (allowing them a redo/extended due date). I feel that many of these things are just responsibilities of teaching that we often forget about as we progress further into the profession.
The second point I wanted to make it that it is our responsibility as teachers to make the content compelling. Rick gives the example of the student who says/thinks, “I don’t care about school and I don’t care if I get an F”. He indicates that this type of student should not be in charge of their learning, which seemed very obvious to me after he said it, however those are often the students that we overlook. As the responsible adult we must intervene and save the student from themselves. We must utilize strategies that ensure that the student is not allowed to give up. One of these strategies is to make the content captivating so that we don’t allow that student to give up. This can be difficult and much more work, however it is one small price that we must pay in order to become master teachers.
Chapter 7 is all about using assessment to guide instruction. In a way, this chapter merges backwards by design with involving students in assessment because it involves going through the process of thinking about the product and ways to reach it with the students’ input . At the start of the chapter Davies explains, “daily involvement in classroom assessment builds a strong foundation for learning” (p.63). This foundation is crucial in helping a student succeed. I find, even in university classes, when I am involved in the process of building an assessment (even on Monday when building the rubric for our assignment) it helps me to understand what is expected of me. Therefore, I can begin to shape ideas about what my assignment will need in order to meet the required outcome. Much of this chapter gives many examples of ways to incorporate students in the assessment for their learning, and indicates that it will greatly improve their product (sometimes assessment of learning).
One passage that resonated with me was, “educators are teaching students how to learn as well as what they need to know and be able to do” (p. 71). This passage hit home for me because it helped me to come to the realization that at the end of the day, students will not remember everything that we have taught them, but if we can teach them how to learn, that is a skill that they will use for the rest of their lives. If we can get our students to take some responsibility (TPSR, Don Hellison) for their own learning, in turn helping them to discover how they learn best, we can help them to become lifelong learners in whatever they choose. Once we have taught them the foundational skills needed to learn, the door of opportunity is flung wide open. Therefore, as teachers we have the key to help unlock our students’ potential. A HUGE opportunity.
Chapter 8 discusses ways to help your students gather evidence of their own learning. It lays out a process to follow that will help your students understand what is needed of them, and why. For this concept to work it is important that your students see the value in gathering evidence of their own learning, otherwise it will not work. It then gives examples of ways students can gather this evidence through the use of various types of portfolios. It also discusses the importance of parent involvement because, “receiving feedback from people whose opinion they value can increase not only students’ motivation but also their learning” (p.83). I think that this is a great idea that I would like to try in my future classroom. It will be very important to have parents/guardians/role models of the students that want to be involved in their learning process, otherwise the process would only work through having feedback from the teacher (maybe other students as well) and may not reach the potential it could have.
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!
The article expresses that decolonization and reinhabitation depend on each other. Throughout the article both are present because they are the goals/themes of the 10-day canoe trip for the Mushkegowuk Cree Nation of Fort Albany. Decolonization is seen through a) the teachings of the elders and other participants through teaching traditional ways of showing appreciation towards the land, b) through reconnecting with the nature of their traditional land and reclaiming it as an important pillar of their community, c) renaming certain sites, d) and it is in doing this that they hope to resist what has been decolonized from their culture. Reinhabitiation is seen in a) the plan to instill a sense of respect and ownership of the land, b) through mending the broken relationship with nature through making a conscious decision to appreciate and respect what is around them.
Throughout my life I have had many experiences with place. Coming from northwest Saskatchewan I have always found solace in the outdoors as I, essentially, grew up in the bush and surrounded by nature. I am an physical education major with a outdoor education minor and this subject fits directly with my emerging philosophy as a teacher. I plan to instill a sense of appreciation of nature in my students and teach them the respect needed to use of the land properly. It is my hope that through this they become lifelong movers in the outdoors, and come to see the beauty and feel the solace that I do. What can be gained from the outdoors is limitless, the key is developing the students awareness of it.
According to common sense, a “good” student is one who follows the rules and guidelines of the school they attend. These rules or guidelines often include: look teacher in the eyes, only talk when you are prompted by the teacher, put your hand up when you want to answer a question, sit still and quietly in your desk, do not disrupt others, … etc. To me this type of student seems like a robot, with no emotion, energy, or personality. Sure these types of students are easier to manage in the classroom, but I want my future students to have energy and question things that they are being taught.
The students privileged by this definition of the “good” student are the ones who sit quietly, are attentive the entire class, and follow the rules and guidelines of the school. Often what is seen as a polite, “good” student is rooted in western ideas, and takes little consideration for what is seen as “polite” in other cultures. Since this idea of a “good” student is westernized it is often made impossible to see other cultures in the classroom.
I feel that this type of “good” student can be very limiting to the individual student. They are encouraged to share little of their personality, sit quietly, listen attentively, and essentially, behave like robots. In the end of the day, the easier the student is on the teacher, the better the student.
I can think of many experiences throughout my education where Tyler’s rationale played a role. One that particularly sticks out in my mind is in my History 10 class. I am almost positive that the teacher simply read a chapter ahead of us in the assigned textbook, had us write notes on said chapter, and answer questions directly out of the textbook. Once we would finish a unit we would have a quiz on what we have learned. It was both uninteresting and lacked engagement for both the teacher and the students. This example I feel perfectly fits with Tyler’s four fundamental questions, where the instructor is asked to: confirm the goals they wish to attain (the History 10 curriculum), their organization strategy (laid out perfectly in the textbook through chapters and units), their efficiency strategy (also laid out in the textbook through questions at the end of each chapter), and their form of assessment (quizzes after each unit). Through this way of teaching our educator could carry out the curriculum in a simple and effective (for some students) manner.
There are many limitations to Tyler’s rationale in my opinion. One is that students all have different interests, abilities, and needs. I feel that the teacher and students must work together to achieve the task at hand. Sure, reading out of the textbook works for some students, however many students struggled with this type of teaching style. Through working with the students and allowing them to influence the ways in which the teaching is delivered will help to create more effective and engaging lessons where all students can gain the knowledge needed. Another limitation of this type of instructing is that it has no regard for culture. In my example of History 10, we simply saw history of the industrial revolution through one (Western) lens. We know that history can be seen through many different lenses and, as instructors, it is our responsibility to give the students the opportunity to see the world through whichever lens they so choose.
There also are some benefits of Tyler’s rationale, when used in the right way. For one, this type of teaching is very simple for teachers to follow: simply choose what they feel is important for the student to learn (textbook), and assess them through whichever method they choose (quizzes). The four fundamental questions are also valid, and instructors should be thinking about these when developing lesson plans. If this theory is used properly it can be a good starting point for your students. I feel that through this way you can expand and have the students influence the lessons to help develop more engaging and effective lessons.
Kumashiro defines “common sense” as a knowledge that “everyone should know”. One’s geographical location, cultural and educational background help to shape their conception of “common sense”. This knowledge is often taken for granted by the people of said area, and is often only realized by an “outsider” visiting a foreign area and holds a different conception of their own “common sense”.
It is important to pay attention to the “common sense” of the area for a number of reasons. Kumashiro explained his difficulties when not understanding the “common sense”, stating that because he did cook their traditional rice-lentil-veggie combo, the people of Nepal assumed that he did not know how to cook. Immersing one’s self in the culture helps to understand this type of “common sense”. It helps the individual connect and also gain a greater respect from the people of the area.
As teachers, respect is needed in order for your students to see your lessons as valuable and something that they will use. Knowing “common sense” will also give the teacher a better understanding of what the students will see as valuable, in turn a better understanding of what type of lessons will engage them. We must understand our students’ cultural backgrounds and unique learning styles in order to create effective and engaging lessons. For these reasons, understanding the “common sense” of the area is crucial knowledge for educators in order to gain the respect of their students and community.