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CTM 1: Bringing New Thinking Into Classroom Practice

Module by: Fred Mednick. E-mail the author

Summary: In Course 1, you'll explore (a) aspects of effective teaching (b) educational theories (c) approaches to learning (d) contemporary issues in education, all for the purpose of applying what you learn to your classroom.

Figure 1: Learning with joy
Schoolchildren
Schoolchildren (susiepostrust.jpg)

Learning Objective

In Course 1, teachers explore (a) aspects of effective teaching (b) educational theories and approaches to learning and (c) contemporary issues in education. The focus is on applying what has been learned directly to your classroom.

Resources

Course material and conversations with global colleagues.

List of Assignments

Assignment 1: Your Assessment of Aspects of Good Teaching

Assignment 2: The Power of Questions

Assignment 3: Towards an Imagined Dialogue

Assignment 4: Applying Theory

Assignment 5: Critical Questions

Assignment 6: One Day of Multiple Intelligences

Assignment 7: Applying Multiple Intelligences

Assignment 8: Towards a New Intelligence

Assignment 9: Active Reading and Creating Dialogue

Assignment 10: Starting with Your Classroom

Assignment 11: Professional Reflections

Assignment 12: Effectiveness of Course One

Timeline

4 - 6 weeks

Required Reading: Education 2050 by Dee Dickinson of New Horizons for Learning.

PDF Version below

Education 2050

A Different Perspective

The 21st century marks the beginning of some key changes in education. A shift from:

  1. regional views to global views
  2. covering the material to uncovering the material
  3. passive receipt of information to active inquiry
  4. product orientation to process orientation
  5. compliance and competition to collaboration and inquiry .

Here is what we mean: Education has often focused on one's own regional views. In a society with no interaction with the outside world, this might suffice. However, in our global society requiring different kinds of skills - an awareness of cultures, and collaboration across borders - a regional view may not be enough. In fact, those regional views may be pushed by the current power in charge.

It used to be, too, that if one mastered a body of material and memorized facts, one would be considered a master as well. This view has held that there is a finite amount to know, and the one who accumulates the most - succeeds.

An educated person, however, is more than the sum of facts; s/he is able to think, to solve problems, to collaborate on new approaches. An educated person relies on research and experience to uncover new questions, rather than simply cover the material. This requires an active and imaginative mind, an appreciation for risk and inquiry, and an ability to learn from one's mistakes.

We tend to think of these views by remembering the name of a person: Dr. CROSS. Each letter stands for education that meets the needs of children and inspires learning:

D iscovery: learning to uncover information and use it

R isk: taking a chance and learning from mistakes

C amaraderie: using the value of the group to enhance learning and pool resources

R eal Tasks with Real Consequences: providing opportunities to take on and be held accountable to challenges

O ut of the ordinary: moving beyond passive seat time to active learning in the community, out of doors, through one's own exploration of interests

S kills: connecting all curriculum to national standards and educated competencies

S ervice: using education in a way that meets the needs of one's society

Defining Terms

Global Education vs. Education that is Global

Teachers Without Borders is not about global education as the accumulation of facts about the world or geography lessons. While these are, indeed, important, we are focused on education that is global in the encompassing of methodologies that treat the whole child, the subject as whole exploration, the integration of subjects with learning as a whole.

Traditional vs. Tradition

Another highlight is the difference between traditional and tradition. Alfred North Whitehead made this distinction clear: He defines traditional as the "dead ideas of the living." He defines tradition as the "living ideas of the dead" - a nice distinction and a guide. No one wants to eliminate the masterpieces of bygone eras or dismiss one's history for the sake of the newest trend.

An educated person for the 21st century remembers and appreciates history, while simultaneously embracing the present. In fact, anything sustainable protects the future by grounding it in the past. Our courses reflect wisdom, whether that comes from the villager relying on oral tradition, or the scholar relying upon the written tradition of text and context.

Teachers Without Borders respects tradition and learning that stems from local communities, wherever they may be. In fact, we depend upon indigenous knowledge. We consider the cultural aspects of a society as one of its pillars. We want to emphasize, therefore, the importance of the contributions that come from societies that may not have a written language or contemporary technological devices. A 21st-century education, therefore, should not be substituted for "modern," "better," or "western." It follows that a 21st-century education celebrates and enhances wisdom wherever and whenever it takes place.

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