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TCPCG2011 | Week 2 Refractions

June 14, 2010

The farther away I get from the moment of contact with students, the more difficult it is to recall essential elements from the weekly curriculum I may want or need to change for the future. This refraction (rather than reflection) remains potent, yet I believe not as precise as it could be if done in the moments immediately after class.

I’m struggling this year because my two sections are off by one week. What does this look like for me? Last night I was looking over work from last week’s “Week 2” session, while attempting revise the “Week 2” curriculum for this week’s session, while at the same time preparing the lesson plan for “Week 3” (for Tuesday and Friday sessions) and designing the curriculum for “Week 4” (for next Monday and Tuesday).

T2P:  If an educator puts off reflecting on their daily work in the teaching and learning environment, then she may be more likely to loose track of important points, concerns, and take-aways from the experience.

In the past, with all the sections on the same schedule, this burden was definitely less.  However, because I employ an adaptive curriculum design (meaning I design the course as we go along in order to attend to learners’ needs and interests, and to be able to include the latest news and resources surrounding our course content), I have always felt some pressure. In addition, I change the curriculum each year to respond to changes in the educational psychology literature and in technological affordances. These changes are in fact invigorating and keep the course fresh for me each year–this keeps me coming back to TCPCG each year.

T2P:  If an educator keeps up to date with her content area and new technologies, then she will be more likely to learn and experience along side her students thereby adopting the role of an expert co-learner.

Overall, I have noted profound differences between this year and  last in the areas of students’ deep engagement with our daily curriculum, and their concept attainment.  I attribute theses positive changes to the way I evolved my use of the course wiki (2010 vs. 2011) to contain only essential information with clearer directions, and to my use of a few techniques from Lemov’s (2010) “Teach Like a Champion.” [New York Times article on his work.] Although his text is written for an audience of teachers working in K-12, I have adopted a few of his “tips” with my students and they seem to be working. I am still collecting data on the impact of techniques like “cold calling” and “right is right” on student learning.

T2P:  If educators decide to employ new pedagogical practices in their teaching, then they should collect various sources of data to assess the results of the techniques on specific, desired student learning outcomes.

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