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Theory Meets Practice

Module by: Fred Mednick. E-mail the author

Figure 1: Trinidad
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Contemporary Issues in Education

Required Reading:

The articles below, written for the New Horizons website, provide a review of materials associated with educational change and renewal, much of which have been inspired by innovations in curriculum design.

Dee Dickinson: Learning Society of the Future: Questions to Consider

In Maturing Outcomes Arthur L. Costa and Robert J. Garmston present a map of educational outcomes intended for use by educational leaders.

Although the focus is on business, there is much wisdom that can be applied to schools and learning in this article byTachi Kiuchi: What I Learned in the Rainforest

Stephanie Marshall: Principles for the New Story of Learning

Willam Ayers: Teacher Talk: Teachers Building A Professional Community by Talking to Other Teachers About Teaching

PDF Files below:

Dickinson: Learning Society of the Future: Questions to Consider

Costa and Garmston: Maturing Outcomes

Kiuchi: What I Learned in the Rainforest

Principles for the New Story of Learning

Teacher Talk: Teachers Building A Professional Community by Talking to Other Teachers About Teaching

Assignment 9: Active Reading and Creating Dialogue

Assignment 9: Active Reading and Creating Dialogue

HOW TO GET TO ASSIGNMENT 9:

One Way

To do this assignment, click on the link in color at the top of the page. When it appears, press "Save" and name the file so that you can work on this assignment "off-line." You can type right on the assignment template. Be sure to save your assignment on a disk or on your computer hard drive.

Another Way

You can also copy the text below, and save it to your disk or computer.

GOAL: To reflect on contemporary issues in education through the use of a tool known as "Focused Freewriting."

GIVE: Feedback to others on their assignments at the TWB Learning Cafe by clicking here.

Assignment 9: Active Reading and Creating Dialogue

  1. Choose one article from all of the web-based articles you read on the previous page. Find a sentence or phrase within that article that captures your attention. Re-type that sentence or phrase; put it in quotation marks; and tell which article it came from. Now, use that sentence or phrase as a trigger to do a "Focused Freewrite" - 2-3 paragraphs in length.

    Note:

    A Focused Freewrite is when you use a phrase or sentence from something you've read as a trigger for free-form writing - that is, you write any thoughts, questions, stories that come to mind as it relates to this phrase or sentence. Focused Freewrites may end up 2-3 paragraphs in length, and sometimes you'll stick to the trigger topic and sometimes your mind will wander into seemingly unrelated places. Give yourself permission to move between "wandering" and coming back to writing about the topic.

Making Small Changes First

What do students see, hear, taste, touch, smell when they enter your classroom? How do they see something of themselves reflected in the classroom? Is there evidence of student work? Interesting works in progress? Colorful posters on the wall?

Stand in your own classroom and, using this list as a starting point, carefully consider the various aspects of your room as a space for teaching and learning:

Student seating: How is student seating arranged? Do students sit alone, in pairs, or in groups? How flexible is it? Can it be moved or re-arranged easily?

We suggest that some arrangements of the room itself lend themselves to effective teaching. Some arrangements do not. If students are asked to listen to a presentation, the rows might work. If students are to work on projects, their chairs and the room should be arranged to meet these needs. In short, the physical space makes a difference.

Circulation: How easy is it to move around the space? Are there aisles? Which areas cannot be reached? Where is the natural place to stand? Can everyone see? Can students get to the teacher? To each other?

Learning resources: How much of your needed resources are in the room? How will students have access to these resources? If there are resources, how many students can use them? What teaching equipment do you have? Do you have electricity?

The room itself: Is it lit well or poorly? Is it hot in the summer? Can everyone hear? How can you and other teachers use this space effectively?

Assignment 10: Starting with Your Classroom

Assignment 10: Starting With Your Classroom

HOW TO GET TO ASSIGNMENT 10

One Way

To do this assignment, click on the link in color at the top of the page. When it appears, press "Save" and name the file so that you can work on this assignment "off-line." You can type right on the assignment template. Be sure to save your assignment on a disk or on your computer hard drive.

Another Way

You can also copy the text below, and save it to your disk or computer.

GOAL: To make practical improvements in your classroom that also reflect your thinking about Multiple Intelligences.

GIVE: Feedback to others on their assignments at the TWB Learning Cafe by clicking here.

Assignment 10: Starting With Your Classroom

  1. Describe your classroom addressing the categories and questions listed on the previous page. ("Student Seating, Circulation, Learning Resources, and the Room Itself.") Also, filter your written description through each of the five senses - what do you see, touch, taste, smell, and hear when you're in your classroom. (2-3 paragraphs)
  2. In "Assignment 7: Applying Multiple Intelligences" you were asked to incorporate some of the intelligences into your course planning. Revisit this assignment and review what you wrote. For each of the four multiple intelligences you chose, discuss how you could improve something in the physical setting of your class to enhance that intelligence goal. (1-2 sentences for each of the four intelligences you chose.)
  3. "Student Seating, Circulation, Learning Resources, and the Room Itself" are four areas we've discussed. Name 2 other areas to consider in making your classroom more open to learning. Explain their importance to you.

Assignment 11: Professional Reflections

Assignment 11: Professional Reflections

HOW TO GET TO ASSIGNMENT 11:

One Way

To do this assignment, click on the link in color at the top of the page. When it appears, press "Save" and name the file so that you can work on this assignment "off-line." You can type right on the assignment template. Be sure to save your assignment on a disk or on your computer hard drive.

Another Way

You can also copy the text below, and save it to your disk or computer.

GOAL: To refine and gather your thoughts into one professional statement and vision.

GIVE: Feedback to others on their assignments at the TWB Learning Cafe by clicking here.

Assignment 11: Professional Reflections

Please prepare a final Reflection Paper incorporating what you have learned in Course 1. Follow the instructions for each part:

Part One: Professional Statement

Write a 1 - 2 page statement that responds to the following and includes these as topic headings:

What I Believe

Why I Teach

What I Teach

How I Teach

(For an example of a Professional Statement, click on the Word icon below.)

Sample Professional Statement

Part Two: Reflection

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Kabir, once said, "Wherever you are is the entry point." Where are you now in your teaching practices? Where would you like to be? How will you get from here to there?
  2. What do you want to keep in your teaching practices and what do you want to throw away. Why?
  3. What are the challenges that lie ahead?
  4. What in this course material has struck the most responsive chord in you? What idea or ideas stand out for you and stay with you now?

Part Three: The Imagined Classroom

Imagine one day in the life of a student at your school in the year 2010.

  1. Using the research from this course as a source for ideas, as well as futuristic thinking you carry within your heart and mind, describe that student's day through his/her eyes from the moment s/he wakes up until s/he goes to sleep (including, of course, time spent at school and, specifically, in your class). (1-page)

Assignment 12: Effectiveness of Course 1

Congratulations on completing Course 1: Education for the New Millennium!

As you know, there are several other courses for you to choose from. However, before you begin another course, please send an email to us at: ctm@teacherswithoutborders.org and let us know that you are ready to receive the "Effectiveness of Course 1 Survey." We ask that you complete this simple survey as your final assignment for Course 1.

We are eager to learn how to make this course even better. Thank you, in advance, for completing this survey as it will have an enormous impact for future versions of Course 1: Education for the New Millennium.

HOW TO POST TO YOUR E-PORTFOLIO

If you would like to learn how to post your "Professional Statement" and "Imagined Classroom" documents (both from Assignment 11) to your

E-Portfolio, please click here.

SAVE YOUR STUDENTS' WORK

Save examples of your students' work as you go through these courses. You'll be glad you did. Course 5 asks you to post samples of your students' work for your final E-Portfolio.

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What is in a lens?

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