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TCPCG2011 | Week 1 “What do I bring to the mix as a learner?”

June 3, 2010

My work during our first class meeting was focused on guiding the students through a series of activities (including contemplation, pairs, INTEL Teams, and full-class discussion) that would help them recognize the impact their own histories as learners have on every decision they make as teachers; how their learning legacies inform their current beliefs, values, and frameworks. 

Tuesday (Group 1)

The curriculum I planned for the first week of class incorporated a wide-range of tasks that allowed me to assess students capacities, prior knowledge, perseverance, agility in transition, willingness to engage with new ideas and ways of learning. I also wanted to get a read on their familiarity with technology and other tools, how well they express themselves verbally and in written form, and how they work in teams.

Miscellaneous

  • Drinking too much coffee while teaching makes me hyper
  • I had to make several on the fly adaptations to the curriculum due to the amount of time groups seemed to need to complete tasks
  • A couple of times my directions were not detailed or clear enough (this maybe a result of my own “first date” emotions)
  • I had one student who didn’t get the pre class assignment via email. I think my response in class to this situation was terrible. I could have been more kind and constructive in my response to him. This has never happened before and I was completely unprepared with a back-up plan. Lame. Unprofessional.

Going Meta

In past years, I employed a significant amount of meta analysis during our session. In other words, I would pause the action of the class and engage students in on the fly analysis of the teaching and learning we were doing. I believed this additional level of engagement helped the students begin to understand the nuances of authentic assessment, rationale regarding activity choice, classroom management and work flow, and serve as a living example of how curricular choices indeed represent our pedagogical beliefs.   I did not use this practice on Tuesday.

I elected to forgo the meta analysis for the time being. I based this choice on my evolved understanding and prior experience that during the first week of class my students are incredibly stimulated and having an highly affective experience rather than an intensely cognitive one. Emotion and cognition of course cannot be separated, however the first day of teacher training (at least for our students) is more like a first date. How much do you remember from your first dates?I will roll out “going meta” later in the semester when the students are more settled into their groove and when they have acquired some content-specific vocabulary to articulate their experiences.

T2P: If a teacher is attuned to her student’s affective and cognitive state, then she will be able to make instructional decisions that holistically meet the student where he is as a learner.

Note: My thoughts about “going meta” on last year’s TCPCG2010 wiki.

Monday (Group 1)

hmmm. I kinda hate that the Monday schedule is all torqued around due to holidays. I failed to understand the implications of the holidays.  Now Group 1 is one week “behind” Group 2 by one week in their curriculum. We have few options at this point to rectify the situation, however we already have to make up one day of instruction, and after July 5th, will have to make up another.  The scheduling puts me and the students into a less than ideal situation of having class on Fridays.

On a more positive and productive note, class was great. I had a week to revise the curriculum and the changes I made helped our first session be fun and productive. We accomplished all of the learning objectives and had some rich discussions. Being able to finish the day’s curriculum is not grand in and of itself, because it could mean powering through content so quickly students feel overwhelmed. However, setting an agenda with your class and moving through it thoughtfully means at the end of the day everyone experiences the accomplishment which increases self-efficacy and feelings of relatedness (i.e., community).

T2P: If a curriculum is adaptable to on-the-fly changes, then teaching and learning activities will constantly meet students’ intellectual and socio-emotional needs as they surface while engaging with the content.

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