2019-2020 Reflection

At this point, it is unknown how the current education system will change and grow. This has made me think about the place of technology in education and how it is being utilized. Teachers have been reforming the classroom, but I worry that the online classroom will be a step back. I think there are ways for students to have a great online learning experience, but this requires all people to have easily accessible and fast internet connections. This is not feasible at this point. I hope that the future society will put in aid for all people to access education from home.

Students for Change Project (abridged report)

After developing rapport with the students and teaching the Grade 10 and Grade 11 class full-time the students knew me and knew I was available to help them if they wanted. I was often at school 45mins before the bell regardless of if I was doing math help, so students would see me come in and ask me questions. Some days, the students just wanted clarification on a couple of points while other days they would need my full attention. I learned to better manage my mornings and how I was helping students, so that the student could have time to practice the types of questions they were having trouble with and I would have time to plan and finalize handouts for the classes. In addition to some morning math help, I would also be in the Math Help Room at various lunch times.

Overall, I could not move the math help room to a completely student-driven model. Students became more motivated to find the answer themselves and would also ask other students for help. They became more autonomous and aware of their own knowledge by being asked to phrase their misunderstanding as a question. I also gained a lot of experience from this project. I learned to ask for what I needed from students, so the help could be mutually beneficial (they would get the help and I would learn to better manage my time between students and in the mornings). I think students will continue to use this resource throughout their time at Ridgemont.

My Updated Philosophy of Teaching

As a teacher, I believe that I have changed and grown in this past 6 months in teaching. I would like to put student-centered and collaborative learning at the forefront of my Philosophy. As a teacher, differentiated learning is vital and mandatory to meet the majority of students and different types of learners. The collaborative design in lesson plan is a way to differentiate learning. This is the case because students can work in groups of similar ability or of mixed ability or completely randomized. This helps the teacher to tailor lessons to the students and layer in level 4+ questions for those who would like to push the boundaries. I would like to make the learning student centered by incorporating students feedback on activities. Feedback in itself comes in many forms:

  • Observations
  • Verbal
  • In-class discussion
  • AoL

By taking these into account I can better prepare students for an AoL and build competency for the Overall Expectations in the course. By engaging the students in different ways and, more importantly, in ways that they have expressed to be engaged a teacher reach students through their own student voice.

Thus far, this philosophy concentrates on students working for themselves and working together. i would like to brig in the peak levels of bloom’s taxonomy in my Assessments to reach students’ independent and creative side. Students are expected in AoL to analyze, evaluate, and create which will help them to reach a deep learning state.

Reflection on 2018-2019 (My thoughts on education)

My working philosophy of teaching concentrates on student-centred learning. I would like to help students become more creative and independent people and learners. As a intermediate/senior teacher, I am helping students every day to become more independent and build vital skill for the ‘real-world.’ Will all of my student become “straight-A university graduates,” probably not, but that is not the goal. The goal is to help them move towards being more independent and curious about the world around them. I want to have students actively engaged in their learning and have opportunities to give me feedback so I know what topics they would like to learn more about. I apply this philosophy in this practicum by have more activities where students gives themselves and others feedback the majority of these are not AoL. The goal is to give students the choice and the methods to improve if they so wish. I also want to give them choices and options for the AoL projects because it gives them the time and place to investigate something that matters to them. This is not to say that the students stay in their comfort zone or only work on a small part of music, instead they are learning about various ideas and creating connections between them on their own.

Some goals for myself:

  • Think about making smaller and more bit sized approaches to varying ideas. I often underestimate the time an activity will take, due to the discussion and engagement I get from the students
  • Always come from a place of curiosity and understanding
  • Remember that students are creative and independent, they will challenge you with their insightful questions and comments

5 Classroom Principles

people in couch

My top five principles for the classroom are simple, diverse, belonging, engaging, and creative. I would like to explain each of this ideas in relation to the classroom starting with simple and diverse together. I would like the classroom to have a very simple layout and walls, so they are not distracting to the students. Conversely, the space must be diverse to allow for different kinds of learning. There must be quiet spaces, interactive spaces, spaces with access to technology, and collaborative spaces. This offers students more options for how they wish to learn and the teacher must allow them to use such spaces. This does not necessarily mean that the layout of chairs need to be moved to different part of the room, it just means that students can create the space they need and there must be space to do so. For example if students want to work in groups, but all of the desks are bolted to the ground facing front, this is not a diverse space. This can be changed giving the students the ability to move desks and chairs as needed. Belonging is important because if the classroom does not meet this basic need, how can we expect students to learn? Engaging or an engaged student is created by the teacher. If the teacher is bored and disengaged themselves, we cannot expect students to pay attention. Students need to be let loose sometimes; they need to be creative. By engaging with material in their own way, this strengthens knowledge retention and adds meaning to what they are learning. What I did not include in my list is a safe learning environment, because that should not be a choice. Every environment should be safe for the student. Case Closed.

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Making “Gritty” Kids

As someone who interacts with learners on a regular basis, “grit” is brought up as a way of children trying to persist and learn. Grit is a funny way of looking at things. It is the idea that by persisting students can achieve any difficult task. I believe this is true, but not in the way it is presented. With proper scaffolding and multiple points of entry, students can come to understand just about anything, but this is often left out of the ‘gritty-equation.’ This way of making gritty kids seems like we just leave them to figure it out and persist, but we should be helping them along… which is not reward or punishment. 

In simple, we can make “gritty kids” by helping them learn the way they learn because later in life, they may not have someone showing them how to achieve a goal in a way that suits them. The learner must figure out the way they learn and how to translate the messages from others into something that works for them.

Who is Music Education for? (HINT- Everyone)

Music education, and, in particular, classical music education, is often seen as something for those who have higher incomes, live in nicer neighbourhoods, and can start from a young age in an after-school program. In contrast to the norm, I believe that classical music education can reach further bounds than traditionally thought because it can reach people through sound. Music itself is part of many cultures around the world and my research in world music can help me bring this to the classroom. I believe that learning an instrument is an integral part of middle school and instruments are often available through a school’s music program; this is how I became involved in music. By simply going to school and attending my school music program, I changed the likely course of my life. My family puts extra-curricular and non-school activities as low-importance because getting an “standard” education is more important. To many, the arts do not seem like a path to a independent and self-sustaining adult.

As a teacher, I want to share music and give children an opportunity to learn a subject that is often seen as extra-curricular and of low importance. By learning an instrument, children learn that methodical repetition and practice can help then to achieve a goal which is an important skill regardless of the subject matter. In a global perspective, that encompasses both mathematics and music, what I hope to do in my classroom is inspire at least one student to follow their own path. I hope to show my students that anyone of any background can achieve what they want regardless of what is stacked against them.

Interest and Engagement

 

The ability to get students’, who are interested, engaged is easy. The difficult part is getting students engaged when they are not interested. This can be done through my learning about what they are interested in which is a part of the adaptive expert model. Understanding that a set of students do not enjoy sitting quietly, but rather discuss and be active participants in their learning can be used to the teacher’s advantage. I also notice that one’s view of a challenging class varies on past experience. One of the classes I teach is viewed as more difficult according to the teachers, but in my experience as a student, I have had much more challenging classes. In my CSL/Practicum, I hope to learn to be okay with  making mistakes and things not going perfectly, I also aim to find new ways to engage my students other the long-term, and, finally, I would like to bond with the students, since this is something I have found difficult being in the classroom once a week.

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