Thursday, April 30, 2009
entry stage of teacher development!!
Sketch Swap - wow.
How did this happen? Is it a robot somewhere on the other side of the world? This process is similar to when Ginny found Tom Riddle's diary in Harry Potter - Chamber of Secrets. Tom, of course, turned out to be Voldemort. There's an integrated literacy unit for Grade 5-6 waiting to happen!
I've approached this subject all wrong - I used a traditional 'factory model of education' (Kurt Squire) approach, whereby I studied everything and tried to master a set of predefined objectives to come up with a hypothesis. I've created posts, edited, deleted, and basically tried to make this fit a narative structure with a beginning, middle and end. Of course, that's not how it works any more.
I've worked in a Steiner school, and my kids spent early primary years there. I sent them to a "normal" school in Grade 3; as the daughter of primary school teacher, and someone who's always been studying, I just couldn't get my head around some of the philosophies. Educational pedagogy is something that's always bothered me - I definitely take a holistic approach, as I love learning, and I hope I've fostered it in my kids.
Having said that, things go wrong. One child is doing VCE sciences, maths and Japanese (by distance ed) at a private school; the other child had a breakdown after being bullied at the local high school last year (Year 9). He's just started a program run by Maroondah Hospital, and things are looking up for the first time in 8 months. Consequently, I've been doing a lot of soul searching about both my own ideas, and various teaching pedagogies. I know from personal experience that one size doesn't fit all.
Week 5 readings really struck a chord. Piaget's ideas about play ( I learnt them when studying secondary school teaching many years ago) definitely shape how I approach learning. Building on this, I liked the quote from James Gee:
"... a teenage student who plays Civilization outside of school ought to be able to integrate this into his or her formal learning of social studies through building simulations or some similar activity."
Students won't learn if they aren't motivated; like all of us, they need to understand how what they're doing fits into the grand scheme of things. If I get an 'F' on an exam, what have I learnt? I'm useless? I definitely haven't learnt any metacognitive skills, just traditional cause/effect.
"I can't learn, I'm an idiot." I recently heard my 7 year old niece say this, and it nearly broke my heart. She's just swapped schools, and is having a rough transition period. The learning pedagogies are very different, and what she is used to doing isn't working this year. My niece is very creative - she loves drawing, doing jigsaws and making things. The parallels between the way she learns and the way my younger son learns are so similar, it's very weird. They both have strong problem-solving skills when they are motivated. I just hope that a teacher recognizes this, and can create appropriate learning opportunities.
As teachers, we need to know our students - our lecturers have been drumming this in for weeks now. Only then can we understand how prior knowledge shapes the way our students learn.
I can totally see the benefits of ICT for integrated learning, and recognizing multiple intelligences.
When using multimedia, the design process of a student's work is really important, as it is a visual representation of understanding the learning focus, as is being able to tie it all together in a format that other people can understand.
I have so much anxiety over this assignment, but I guess it's because my proximal learning issues are so apparent to me. There is a huge divide between what I know, and what I need to know. However, what I have learnt through doing this topic is the absolute importance of using ICT to analyze, synthesize and evaluate (Bloom's higher-order thinking skills) learning outcomes. ICT develops skills that our kids are going to need in order to adapt to new technologies, much faster than their parents!
I just need more practice!!