ED 524 Reading Response, Week #3

This week, as I read the readings I thought about how we always say “learn by doing” or “hands-on” learning.  Upon reflection of these terms, the readings by Brown and Knowles show exactly what this means.  It is more than just hands on learning that makes learning meaningful.  Educators should make learning authentic by making it "minds on”. This includes active learning, critical thinking, and the brain based learning that is listed in the book.  We as teachers need to include the whole brain, include meaning and context in our lessons by setting up conditions that include student exploration.  I relate this closely to the Pace Inquiry workshops I have attended, where I learned a lot about setting students up and pointing them in the right direction, providing feedback, to ensure accurate understanding but having them discover meaning and answers without always having direct instruction (Brown and Knowles, 2007).

To create a meaningful learning environment, I believe that students should be held responsible, ask questions, reflect on their learning, and socialize with each other.  Brown and Knowles point out that working collaboratively may be something that needs to be taught explicitly in the classroom, which from my experience, is definitely true.   Younger students are taught to have to work together, however it is not always in the most meaningful or engaging way.  In addition to having these expectations for students, teachers must be set up with flexibility and ways to implement active learning between students.

I could create a collaborative classroom by creating smaller learning communities.  I think the way to do this is to make things on a human scale, or a small community. This will also benefit the technology aspect when it is introduced.  We can do this by making interdisciplinary teams that get together for common planning and brainstorm common themes.  Creating collaborative classes through technology, as mentioned in the reading, will help students solve problems and introduce a level of socialization in the class.  As stated in the reading “We, robot,” students can be grouped and engaged in problem solving situations, forcing them to discuss and create together.  Today, I tried a coding program for the first time in my classroom, thinking that putting students in pairs would encourage the same type of discussions as we heard from the guest speaker and in the article, and so far I have seen students say to each other “No, you can do it” and others just take over without their partner's consent.  Due to this, and the fact that Brown and Knowles state that collaboration needs to be taught, we will be going over appropriate sentence starters that students will have access to tomorrow to ensure that the partnership works out a bit better on our second day!

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Theresa,

      Your response to these readings if very thorough and thoughtful.

      Two things that you said really stuck out for me. They are:

      1. To create a meaningful learning environment, I believe that students should be held responsible, ask questions, reflect on their learning, and socialize with each other. 

      and

      2. I could create a collaborative classroom by creating smaller learning communities.  I think the way to do this is to make things on a human scale, or a small community

      I often hear teachers and schools talking about making students responsible, which in my view is a noble aspiration. However, mostly I find that they mean it in terms of the teachers' workload. I hear something like, the students are going to take on more the teachers' work which will be helpful. However, that is very different than what I hear you saying. I hear you inquiring into what is the nature of learning? what role does responsibility play in that process? and how can we design learning environments that promote, support, and foster student ownership?

      I endorse your idea that community is the way to go on this. In my experience, the emergence of communities plays a huge role in student learning.

      Please continue to share your thoughts and progress on this.

      • Theresa Connelly
        Theresa Connelly

         Fostering community is the best way to engage the middle school child in the learning because it is a way to ensure that students will continue to be engaged, no matter the content area.  Students can discuss with each other, bounce ideas off of each other, and explore and learn how to be part of a community together.  I think that through what I wrote previously, outlines the ideas that smaller learning communities and having minds on learning all helps students create dialogue between themselves.  Within smaller communities, teachers will have more common planning time and can create thematic units that span across multiple disciplines.  The communities benefit both the teachers and the students, but ultimately, the benefits that the teachers acquire, also benefit the students as well. 

        • Gerald Ardito
          Gerald Ardito

          Theresa,

          I agree with you about fostering community, but I have some questions for you:

          1. How do you foster a learning community with people who are not there voluntarily?

          2. How does a learning community value diversity and respect everyone?

          3. What role does the teacher play in this community? The student?

        Latest comments