I have learned a lot over the EDUC 491 practicum about behaviour management, planning, and assessment.
However, my biggest take away was the use of proficiency scale and standards-based grading in my grade 10 course. Making the test in sections based on the competencies that students are using in the unit allows more targeted feedback on how they are doing. It also allows the students to re-write specific sections of the test to demonstrate the skill that was require improvement.
Who am I as an educator?
Pedagogy – I really value the constructivist approach to learning. Student needs to actively construct their own learning. I think that the way we learn is through interpreting information, taking what we know and applying it to a new context. I feel this leads to students developing a deeper connection of what concepts are, how they are related to others, and what we can do with them. The way that I feel that students can create these connections are through giving them curricular competency-based activities where students are using a specific set of skills to interact wit the content.
Assessment – I value assessment for learning. I like to only give students summative assessment at the end of the learning. Whereas throughout the learning we are going to be give lots of opportunities for formative assessment and feedback. For example, I like to use exit slips as a way to assess how student have taken in the learning of the lesson. It gives me feedback on where students are at and where we need to start the next day. We also do frequent quizzes that are also formative. So, the students can put themselves in a test situation, and see what they know, and what concepts they need to keep working on. On the quizzes I can also give them targeted feedback in what specific mistakes they are making or need to pay attention to. After students have these learning opportunities, then they can come into the test, and we can assess what they have learned.
My main goals going forward are about assessment.
I would like to find a way to create an assessment for math and science that are not centered around tests. I know that all students cannot best show their learning in a test scenario. However, at the same time, when students show their learning on assignments and projects there is the opportunity to use the internet, answer keys, help from others. So I feel at the same time that these are not truly demonstrating what a single student can do. Therefore I have some work to do.
This year, school district 57 hosted an Indigenous day of learning, that I was thankful to be able to attend two amazing sessions.
I was able to listen to Ashley Callingbull’s empowering keynote speech her own personal experiences on the impacts of intergenerational trauma on mental health and wellbeing. In addition, the call to action that she put forward through her own story about the impact that one person can have on the world if we try.
I was also fortunate to attend Nikki Sanchez’s session on way 10 ways to live sustainably in a time of climate change. In her session Nikki described that one way that we can do better to live sustainably is to be mindful. I feel like so often we go to the store and go on autopilot mode, and buy thing wrapped in multiple layers of garbage, or we go to Tim Hortons and forget our re-usable cup,etc. However, being mindful to place creates a connection where we notice the changes, where notice what it needs. I think this connection is going to help us feel be mindful in all aspects of our life outside of being in nature and the impact of our choices on that relationship.
I think that the biggest take away or underlying theme was that learning involves recognizing the consequences of our actions. In both the way that we treat people, and treat our world, there are going to be lasting consequences. We need to look at our own underlying biases and belief systems if we want to make the changes so that the consequences of our actions are not as negative. My call to action is going to follow in Ashley’s and Nikki’s lead and use my voice to support suggested in using your voice for good, and to support others and our world.
My main goals this semester centered around three main areas of my practice as an educator.
1.Implement building thinking classrooms. — To start, I want to improve my ability to scaffold learning so that it has an entry point for all students but also, so that each stage of moving along the learning progress is taken as a challenge rather than intimidating. In addition, I want to focus on creating extension opportunities for students who are excelling in the learning. Secondly, I want to utilize the vertical non-permanent surfaces to scaffold math skills and work in groups to help reduce students stress around the idea of math and make it more approachable and interesting.
2. Holistic assessment in math .– I would also like an opportunity to further look at implementation of gradeless and holistic assessment in math and science. More specifically the application of learning sequences to allow students a chance to self-assess growth in their skills. I think this will be helpful in creating transparent assessments and having students see a pathway in how they can improve.
3. To continue placing First Peoples Principles of Learning at the center of my practice — I want to represent the principle that learning requires the exploration of one’s identity. More specifically, that we need to determine our own strengths, weaknesses to determine how we learn best. So, my goal is to create assignments that allow for this individuality and that valuing different ways of knowing and representing learning and understanding (outside of a standard test).
For example, in my grade 8 math where I am focusing on the curricular competencies, I want to give them the opportunity to show me their learning in their own way. What we have planned so far is to have students work on problem solving skills and represent their solution and ways of knowing in a way that is meaningful for them.
Another way that I am Incorporating FPPL into my pedagogy is based on the idea that everyone learns at their own pace and adding this into the structure of the class through the means of no grade is final until the end of the course. This means that by the end of the semester if they can show me their understanding that is all that matters rather than following a strict timeline. At this point, students can write the test, and assignments however they can rewrite the concepts that are necessary to show their knowledge later on. This ensures that these isn’t a penalty on the student for arriving at the learning at their own pace.
In this assignment, we were tasked with the goal of creating an inclusive lesson plan created an equitable learning environment for student with either dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia. Personally, I had chosen to create a lesson plan for Chemistry 11 (which I had taught in my previous practicum) and implemented adaptations for a student with dyslexia. This lesson plan is attached above, in a PDF format.
The main way that I worked towards creating an inclusive lesson was through the classroom dynamics, technology, and pacing of the class.
I made sure that the classroom would be a safe learning place for all students.
Equity: Ensuring the understanding of equity where all students are going to get what they need to be successful, and this may no look the same for every student.
Respect: In this classroom rules are enforced about being respectful, patient, and quiet when anyone else is talking. This means not interrupting. It also means being supportive of others for trying their bests. I have created this classroom as a safe space for students with any learning disabilities to participate and not be afraid of being judged or made fun of.
I think that including adaptations can be done seamlessly in a classroom, and benefit more than just the students with a IEP.
In this case, the adaptations that I use was the implementation of graphic organizers and short summary of specific topics or learning goals.
There was also adapted amount of work because students with dyslexia require more time. So, assigned work was presented in a list of must be completed, should be completed and extension questions. This way, there was no obvious exception and gave students the choice in what they wanted to accomplish.
However, this student was also given a filled in version of the note packages, and extra time on assignments and tests, which was not available to all students.
There were a variety of technological resources that would have been used in an ideal world. But these really depend on what is available in the school.
Audio recorded lectures, speech to text / scribe for assignments, spell check, and reading uploaded into Kurzweil.
Overall, I think that being an inclusive teacher requires more attention, dedication, and just more effort into our teaching practice to create learning experiences and supports that allows all students to enter the same learning. In addition, I think that this work is essential to giving each student the opportunity to feel important enough to deserve that effort.
Knitting requires a lot of time, patience, attention to detail, and dedication. A few things that I love about knitting, is no matter what you do, each stitch is unique; and is essential to the whole; and there are endless opportunities of what you can make given a yarn and some knitting needles.
This metaphor represents my views on teaching careers and the diversity that we see in the classroom, in which the students can be seen as the stitches or the knitters later in the posts.
If we start looking at knitting to represent the core values of teaching career theory… we can think about if we think about knitting a project, has anyone ever dropped a stitch? What do you do?
Do you take advantage of this the hole and it now becomes a design feature of the shawl?
Do you toss the project in the garbage?
Do you pull out the whole project apart?
Or do you find a way to fix it?
This can be a great representation of the values that I think we need to teach our students in career.
We want them to learn how to plan, but also how to be adaptable (aka fixing the dropped stitch or taking advantage of that dropped stitch). If there is one thing for certain, is that life isn’t going to work out perfectly along a path that was planned in high school. I mean personally, I thought I was going to be a dentist since I was in elementary school, but it wasn’t until I had gotten an interview that I realized that it wasn’t going to be able to make me happy.
So, I want students to apply the idea of happenstance, where we take advantage of the random occurrences and opportunities that occur in each student life and find a way to apply that to their goals, plans or future trajectories to get them to where they want to go (Krumboltz, 2008).
I also want them to build the gumption, and resilience to learn from mistakes, work hard to overcome challenges, and all the while build the skills that are going to help them deal with problem easier in the future (Truyens, 2019).
Lastly, the idea of using the skills we are building now to better ourselves in the future. For example, learning fix the whole in our knitting or using our skills we already have in a new way. In terms or careers, we do not know what kind of jobs are going to available in the future so planning for it is nearly impossible, but what we can do is build up skills or transformative competencies that are transferable. Then use these skills to allow you to grow and fill that roll in the future (OECD, n.d.).
Overall, giving students the skills so that they can plan, adapt, and take responsibility for their future.
I think that my metaphor can also help us look at diversity in the classroom
Visioning each student in the class as a stitch in a project, like in the shawl below.
Each stitch is unique, just like in the picture, some have different colors, some are lace stitches, some are textured, but each one contributes an essential component to the scarf.
Just like in our classroom each student is going to have a different background, cultures, personality, socio economic status, academic ability, strengths, weaknesses, and exceptionalities.
But each one of those makes our students unique and different, meaning that they are going to have something different, to bring to the classroom, need support within the classroom, and desire to take way from the classroom than myself in high school, and what I originally planned. Which is why we need to be flexible in our practice.
A quote from the textbook that really outlined the importance of including diversity into the planning practices is “We begin our planning with all students in mind and with the conviction that our planning for a full range of learner strengths and styles means that more students will have opportunities to be successful more of the time, and that fewer adaptations and modifications will be required for students with special needs” (Brownlie, Fullerton, and Schnellert 2011, p3.).
I think that this highlights why we need to use universal design for learning, allowing a low floor and high ceiling, so that no matter the ability, there is an entry point into the learning, and all students can feel included in the classroom. Rather that having to create several different projects and assignments to create a fair learning experience.
I feel like my learning and growth from this block aligns with the First People’s Principles of Learning.
“Learning is holistic”
In order to prepare a lesson that is going to be useful for our students, we need to think and plan holistically. Taking into account and providing space for all students to be able to be their whole selves including the physical, mental social, emotional, and spiritual selves (Chrona, 2016).
If we don’t make room and accept the whole of who our students are, then I think we are going to get only a part of their efforts reflected in their work. You need that reciprocal respect and value.
“Learning quires exploration of one’s identity”
Students need to learn who they are, their strengths weaknesses and skills in order to help understand their own needs and supports, but also to figure out where they fit in the present and in their future careers (Chrona, 2016).
Impact of Blocks 4 and 5 on my pedagogy
Before these two summer blocks, I feel like my pedagogy was centered around a few philosophical beliefs including constructivism, humanism, and progressivism.
So, I as a teacher I valued the idea that we need to build our knowledge and understanding through active processing and social interactions; that we need our basic needs met in order to actually focus on learning and school; and learning happens at a different rate and in a specific way for each child, so we need to focus on them.
However, my pedagogy also felt hollow in a way because I felt like I had the shell values, but not quite the skills or methods yet to really implement them.
Where am I at now after the summer blocks?
I feel like I am figuring out how to fill in those missing implementations.
From My diversity and inclusion and curriculum and instruction have laid out how I can plan to create learning experiences that are accessible through UDL, clear expectation, co-created criteria, and implementation of adaptations and supports to create an equitable child centered learning environment.
From Curriculum and instruction, and Innovative community-based approaches I found the importance of inquiry, story, and hand on learning to engage students and allow them the space to personalize their learning. While at the same time utilizing the skills to that are going to translate to the workplace later in life and making this that translation transparent.
From careers – I have learned the importance of the class as an underlying theme through any course. Rather than only being taught in its own class. The cross-curricular links to careers allows for students to see the real-world relevance in terms of the skills that they are building and help them students see the broad world outside of high school, and the connections of courses to jobs around the word.
Brownline, F., Fullerton, C., & Schnellert, L. (2011). It’s All About Thinking: Collaborating to Support All Learners in Mathmatics and Science. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.
Chrona, J. (2016, April). First Peoples Principles of Learning. Retrieved from First Peoples Principles of Learning: https://firstpeoplesprinciplesoflearning.wordpress.com/
Krumboltz, J. (2008). The Happenstance Learning Theory. SAGE Journals, 135-154.
OECD. (n.d.). OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030. Retrieved from OECD Better Policies for Better Lives: https://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/
Truyens, M. (2019). Coherent Career Practice. Retrieved from MARCR: Career Professionals: https://marcr.net/marcr-for-career-professionals/career-theory/career-theories-and-theorists/coherent-career-practice-kris-magnusson-dave-redekopp/
At the start of this class, I wasn’t sure what my question was.
I was thinking who am I as a science teacher?
How can I make students interested in science?
How can I make science accessible?
But it was all really content based, rather than about me as a teacher. So, with some guidance, and feedback, I started looking for something that would be more applicable to me, because there is a good chance you are going to be teaching a lot of things.
At this point thought back to my previous favorite teachers: which ones did I like, which ones made me work harder, which ones made me care about the learning. This lead to my inquiry question, which I think I was kind of dancing round with my original questioning.
My inquiry question was:
“What was it about the people, the “stuff” and/or, the context that made it impactful?”.
Basically, what was it about the teachers that we have had in the past that gave them the “it” factor?
So, the way I went about looking into this question, was through empirical research in journal articles, looking at stories through blog posts, and reflecting back to my own stories and experiences
Findings from research..
In terms of what I was able to determine through research and reading articles (which was somewhat unsuccessful), I found 2 general trends.
The first being the way that education programs that set up to ensure teachers are successful.
In order to have well rounded teachers coming out of school (and I assume meaning that they will create meaningful / impactful classrooms) is through having “strong core curriculum… extended clinical experiences… well defined standards of professional practice… extensive use of case methods, teacher research, performance assessment and portfolio evaluation that apply learning to real problems of practice… explicit strategies to help students to confront their own deep seated beliefs and assumptions about learning and students” (Darling-Hammond, 2006, p. 306)
However, this finding, I didn’t really feel connected to the depth of my original inquiry question, but does describe how you would begin choosing a university to attend.
The second trend included instructional ways of creating meaningful educational experiences, focusing on the content and the act of learning.
Overall, what I found was to create experiential learning experiences (like a practicum, or internship, or co-op), creating realistic learning situations (modeling a real world) and utilize project based learning (Speier-Pero & Schoenherr, 2020).
This was helpful to my question in terms of planning, and what kinds of activities to do in the classroom.
Findings from story …
I read stories of students reflecting on teachers that had an impact on them and found a few themes that all related to more the emotional and relational side of teaching (4 Inspiring Stories of How Great Teachers Changed Somone’s Life, n.d.; Galazka, 2014)
Having teachers that “see” their students
Having teachers that believe in them
Having teachers that show interest in their students. Teachers that ask about students and that is going on in their lives and students interests.
Teachers that show a passion for learning that they pass on to the students.
Overall, I felt like these results related to my question a lot more than the journal findings for the sake of my inquiry question but also related to my own experience and reflection.
Findings from my own reflections… In terms of my own reflection experiences and teachers and found the ones that I think of for being impactful really matched more the findings from the emotional and relational side.
Personally, I had one teacher, my Biology 12 teacher, who always told stories, and students were always engaged. She had high expectations of us, was strict, and had a really defined way of running her class. I think for her, that ‘it’ factor was the relevance of her stories to the learning.
Where does my inquiry align with FPPL
Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.
I feel that the purpose of my research question is to support the myself.
Finding a way to approach teaching in a way that can make my class “care” may be a way to sustain myself in teaching and find a purpose to what I am doing in the classroom.
I think this inquiry also supports the community. The idea that my own perspective, and learning is essential to creating a better learning experience for all learners, and in turn hopefully through that also supporting the community.
Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions
I think that this principle really applies to my inquiry because I am looking into the impact that I have on my classroom, outside of just the curriculum.
I think part of becoming an impactful teacher also comes from the understanding that there are a lot of outside influences that can impact one’s actions. So, understanding that actions don’t happen in isolation.
I think this may help make the connection with students through several different ways to be that impactful teacher.
Learning involves patience and time
I think this also acknowledges that this inquiry process takes time.
But I want to acknowledge that these self growth inquiry are going to continue with me into the classroom and practicum experiences.
How has this inquiry impacted myself as a teacher?
Personally, in my teaching practice, I always want to improve. I want to see what worked, what didn’t and how can I make it better for student learning the next time. I want to create experiences that are meaningful and not wasting the students time either. So, I think this inquiry really supported my ideals that hands on learning is important to creating meaningful practices. But at the same time, it’s the relationship and seeing each student for who they are and what they need.
In conclusion, I feel like I have somewhat found a small fraction of what that impact factor is – but at the same time I still think it depending on each teacher and on each student. At this point, I don’t feel my inquiry is over, and I am going back to reassess my methods. I feel that I left out a crucial step (because of time and resources) but I would have really liked to interview teachers and students in my community and hear their stories of impactful teachers.
4 Inspiring Stories of How Great Teachers Changed Somone’s Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wabisabi Learning : https://wabisabilearning.com/blogs/mindfulness-wellbeing/4-stories-great-teachers
Chrona, J. (2016, April). First Peoples Principles of Learning. Retrieved from First Peoples Principles of Learning: https://firstpeoplesprinciplesoflearning.wordpress.com/
Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st Century Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 300-314.
Galazka, K. (2014, September 10). 8 Heartwarming stories of teachers changing people’s lives. Retrieved from Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kasiagalazka/teacher-appreciation
Speier-Pero, C., & Schoenherr, T. (2020). Creating Impactful Student Learning in a Business Analytics Program through Leveraging Scholar-Practitioner Engagement . Decisions Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 59-89.
Education 372 was a blast this summer. I feel like this course opened my eyes to the world of science outside of the work sheet. Using worksheets and memorization of content, is a style of learning that has been traditionally used in the classroom for a long time, however it only is accessible to a very small portion of the classroom. Other students have different skills, abilities and interest that do not really allow them to engage in the learning.
The new BC curriculum really focuses on the importance of teaching curricular competencies, or the skills that allows students to work with and understand the content of the course. These types of activities allow for a lot more entry points into the learning experience, and as a result can get a lot better engagement and learning in a lot more students.
In this class, we spent a lot of time doing experiments and activities to teach the content of the BC curriculum using curricular competencies. The one that really stood out to me was an experiment mixing aluminum foil with Copper (II) chloride.
In this experiment, you give students a small ball of aluminum foil to place in a beaker with aqueous copper (II) chloride with a thermometer. During this small experiment, you can have students practice making observations, recording qualitative and quantitative measurements, making hypothesis, and writing conclusions. All the while, also allowing students to either discover and learn about law of conservation of mass and energy, exothermic reactions, and types of reactions based on their own observations.
But what I like most about this activity, is that it allows students to actually experience science, as compared to exclusively read, write, and look at pictures about science. They can actually take part in and experience the concepts that they are working with.
What are some of my strengths as a teacher? What are you doing that is working and how do you know?
I found throughout this practicum that my strength as a teacher was filling in gaps in student learning though one on one support. I found, that as the practicum went on, I was able to identify which students constantly need more support to grasp the concepts and to be able to work through the examples independently, and which students only needed clarifying questions.
What I found successful was preparing practice questions in increasing difficulty, following a “I do, we do, you do” format. During this time, I could circulate to the few groups who needed more support and guide them through the first part of a question, then circulate to the other groups. While, at the same time stopping in and seeing if other students had any questions. By the time I had gotten around the room, the first group was ready for the next step. In addition, for the students who really understood the learning, could move onto the textbook, and practice, and have enough time to get to the challenge problems.
During this circulating the room method, I made sure to talk to each student individually about, how they were doing and if there was anything I could clarify for them. I found that this was effective in making sure that every student in the class was engaged in the learning, felt supported, and seen.
What are some of my stretches as a teacher? What are you working on or how have/will you overcome them?
My biggest improvement during this practicum was taking in class feedback and using it to teach reflexively so that learning was maximized.
At the beginning, I found that I did not have a strategy to determine if the students were really understanding the lesson that I was teaching in the moment. For example, were their blank faces because they already knew the information, because it was boring or because they were lost? So, what I had come up with was polling the room in terms of thumbs up, side, or down.
Thumbs up meaning: you get it and want to practice now;
Thumb to the side meaning I’m not sure, can you do another example,
Thumbs down was I have no idea.
I introduced this and it gave me better ideas of what students were feeling. However, when first introduced this, I realized from conversations with my CT that it was not as reflexive to the students learning as it needed to be. For example, I had just moved on in content if only some students had a thumb to the side. Which is not the goal of polling the room. Or I had moved to another practice problem, but it was a different kind of practice problem which again was not what they needed.
So, what I had decided to do is to prepare multiple iterations of the practice problems in the note packages into my own notes. For example, if they don’t understand question A, then here are some alternative numbers to put into the questions to try another. I found that through this extra layer of planning I was able to be more reflexive to the students in the room. I also noticed a lot better results in class, and more effective time for myself in circulating the room. Since, I was not re-teaching the same thing to all the groups individually.
3. What is one favorite memory, lesson, or event that happened during practicum? Include an image or lesson plan.
My favorite lesson that I taught in Chemistry 11, was on the curricular competency that “Collaboratively and individually plan, select, and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and lab experiments, to collect reliable data (qualitative and quantitative)”.
We were in the part of the course, where students were learning about the mole, and how we can use this concept to allow us to relate the mass, volume, and number or particles, such that it is relevant for use in the lab. So, when we were learning about molar concentration, and dilutions,
I had students complete an exit slip:
“What mass of copper (II) chloride do you need to make 100mL solution of 0.5M CuCl2 ?”
“What volume of the 0.5M CuCl2 stock solution do you need to make a diluted 100mL solution of 0.1M CuCl2 ?”
The next day, students came into class, and I asked them to write a procedure, using the list of materials on the board, to make the two solutions from yesterday.
I broke them up into groups of 3, and at the whiteboards they brainstormed how they would write the procedure for make the solutions. It was interesting to see how students took to the task. They were brainstorming and coming up to the front to see what all the materials looked like, then back to the white boards and started writing. I had some groups talking out their procedure in their most David Attenborough accents, so you know they were engaged, but also having fun with it.
Afterwards, we all collaborated and created one main procedure for making the solution. So, all the different groups added to the procedure, and we added information to make it more detailed. Then I had students make those solutions.
What I really liked about this process is that there was a lot more understanding in what they were supposed to be doing in the lab. In addition, I got a lot of “Aha” moments for student understanding the dilution process, and why you take a little of a stock to make a more dilute solution.
It was a great representation the importance of the FPPL “learning is experiential”. I cannot wait to come up with more hand on learning opportunities for chemistry that are centered around the curricular competencies, that teach the content on their own.
What method of inquiry will I bring into my practice?
“Transformative inquiry is a dynamic process that helps educators negotiate the complex and vibrant terrain of learning [to] teaching” (Tanaka, 2014).
For the moment, I have chosen the transformative inquiry as my method of moving forward with my career as an educator and a learner. I felt that this method of inquiry really resonated with me because it connects research, learning and teaching together. Where if we are focusing on one without the other, than we are leaving out a key component to our inquiry
In Transformative inquiry there are four main ideas that we need to consider to really have a well-rounded inquisitive practice (Tanaka, 2014).
1) Look at what is happening in your own classroom. Take observations, of what is relevant to your inquiry. What is working? What is not? How can we connect learning to real life examples? What do we see in the classroom that motivates our inquiry?
2) Looking into the most recent literature. Examining published research on questions similar to your inquiry. See how academia feels on a topic or in what direction their research is going.
3) Connecting with others. Talking and building relationships with others to gain their perspective and ideas. This includes going to community, to parents, to colleagues and building relationships that will in turn help you gain different perspectives about your inquiry.
4) Self reflection. Looking at yourself, your beliefs, experiences, and passions. How can these inspiring or shifting your inquiry from its original starting place? What kind of biases are we personally applying to our inquiry?
I feel that this method of forming an inquiry really relates to me as an educator, because I personally believe that we need to keep modifying our teaching practice to become the best version of an educator that we can be. Also, I think the transformative inquiry practices gives educators the tools on how to become reflexive to the diversity in the classroom. If we are always watching what is happening in the classroom, diving into professional development, seeking help from others, and reflecting on our practices we are going to be more in tune to who is present in the classroom and their needs.
Reflect on your Inquiry Question from Block 1 and what you have experienced so far. What have you learned?
Previously, the center of my inquiry as an educator was “How will changing the focus of schooling from ‘getting good grades’ to ‘learning’ through the implementation impact students mental health?”. However, this question, has already been shown in the literature. It has been determined that using grades can put an unnecessary pressure and stress on students to preform and receive a high mark, or if they cannot achieve this, they often become discouraged and remove themselves from the learning experience (Gonser, 2020). However, this is exactly the opposite of our goal as educators. We want students to learn, not to get an arbitrary letter grade.
Therefore, I am shifting my inquiry to the question: “how can we implement gradeless and holistic assessment as summative assessment in our classrooms and get all the students and parents on board?”
So far, what I have experienced is reluctance from both parents and students towards using holistic assessment because it is familiar to them and they understand it. Or having parents and students wanting to know what the equivalent rank a step in holistic assessment is to the letter grade system. However, I have had only a small amount of time in the classroom in my most recent practicum. So, I hope, with more time and practice in the transformative inquiry I will learn how to better incorporate it into my classroom.
Connect your inquiry with your EDUC 391 practicum experience, coursework, and EDUC 405.
So far this block, a common theme was inclusion. Where each class gave us a strategy to bring all students into the learning space. Either through holistic assessment (EDUC 421), through making and choice (EDUC 399), by through lesson planning (EDUC 391), by bringing the First People’s Principles of learning into our pedagogy and valuing and giving space to practice teaching through story and the exploration of self and identity (EDUC 446). Lastly, the process of transformative inquiry (EDUC 405) I think will allow me the reflective and inquisitive strategies to figure out how to incorporate all these strategies into my teaching practice and optimize it.
However, what was common throughout all the courses is that we want all students to be included in the learning. I feel connects to my transformative inquiry though creating a way to bring our focus back on the learning and away from the result of the assessment so that all students feel represented in the learning such that all students can feel success and not only the students who get A’s.
I think that if we can generate the buy-in from student and parents into the holistic assessment practices, we can change the mentality around learning which should relieve the stress that students feel from grades.
Goals moving into next semester…
Commit to the creation of holistic learning experiences with wide entry points so all students can enter the learning.
Work on the practice of transformative inquiry – connecting with coaching teachers, parents, and the students about holistic assessment and how to make the learning relevant to the students who are present in the classroom.
Gonser, S. (2020, March 16). 4 reasons teacher are going gradless. Retrieved from edutopia: https://www.edutopia.org/article/4-reasons-teachers-are-going-gradeless
Tanaka, M. (2014). Transformative Inquiry. Victoria: Transformative Inquiry Research Group. Retrieved from https://books.apple.com/ca/book/transformative-inquiry/id854038743?ign-mpt=uo%3D4
This semester, I was fortunate to take part in EDUC 391 otherwise known as our short practicum. This comprised of teaching 25% of the time over a three week period.
What went well? What were my strengths as a future educator?
I felt like I have really grown as an educator during my EDUC 391 practicum. I found that I gained a lot of confidence in myself as a presenter and as a source of information for the students. With that confidence, I felt that my pacing and transitions in class also improved.
Prior, I was nervous to give the lesson, and as a result, I would go way too fast, and students would not have the necessary time to copy their notes or process the information so that they could ask questions. However, as the practicum went on, and my confidence grew, I able to have better pacing, reiterating the information in a different way, finding applicable examples which in turn made my lessons more meaningful.
I also felt through the practicum that I was able to improve my transitions between work periods, the lesson, and the break. I quickly found that I was not going to be able to speak over the students to get their attention. So, what I did was dim the lights as a signal for the students’ attention, then I could tell the students that we were moving into the lesson etc. Conversely, I would make sure that I gave the instructions to the work we would be doing before I turned the lights back up. I tried to make the association ‘dim lights = lesson / I need attention’ and ‘bright lights = work time’.
What needed improvement? What were your stretches?
After this practicum, I felt that my biggest stretch was teaching from the self.
Throughout the practicum, as I had previously mentioned, I gained a lot more confidence in presenting the lesson. However, what I found challenging was really teaching from the self. I felt it was easy to hide behind a note package and present the information traditionally- especially at the beginning when I was nervous about presenting the information in the first place. Even as I grew more confident, I still did not really feel like I was showing any personality in the lessons. In a way, I question if I may have felt this way because I was using my coaching teacher’s note packages, with little modifications. So, since it was not the wording or order I may have put it together, is why I did not feel myself entirely.
I hope to work on this as I move forward, becoming more comfortable with the content modifying resources to fit my teaching style, I will be able to teach from the self. I also think that with experience, I will be able to mind more relevant examples and stories that help connect myself to the content, as well as to the place.
What are you curious about? What’s next? What do you want to learn or develop further in EDUC 490?
What I want to learn more about before the next practicum is how to plan for diversity and implement it. I found during my practicum it was hard to plan for diversity when teaching Science 9. I found that I would give the same worksheet or textbook questions, but my plan for diversity was giving that student more support to complete the same task as the rest of the class. However, I felt like this was not enough; or that I should have done more.
On the other hand, there is very little that I was able to find in terms of resources to teach to a grade 9 classroom at a variety of levels. So maybe, a point of future inquiry or professional develop will go into looking for or making those resources accessible to others in the future.