Photo CC- GotCredit
Richardson’s The Steep “Unlearning Curve”
“In a world where literally any place can be a classroom, we have to unlearn the comforts of four walls that we’ve become accustomed to” (Richardson, 2007, para 1). The idea of teaching in a classroom is what every future teacher envisions, I assume. I picture 20 eager-to-learn children awaiting my arrival in a classroom decorated with the alphabet, learning walls, and bright colors. Well, snap back to reality and that isn’t the iconic classroom anymore. In order to effectively teach children today teachers need to become comfortable with the resources available through multiple technological sources. This semester has proven that trying innovative sources for learning avenues can be successful. A balance of technology and demonstrative classroom work must be found in order to keep the attention of students. Today the attention span of a person is eight seconds, on the average (I’ve heard that a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds…just food for thought there). That statistic proves that teachers need to be on their toes when teaching; the old ways are out & it’s time to revamp the classroom to embrace the easily-accessible resources that are valuable to education.
I was in elementary school years ago and my elementary experience is much different than that of today. I must “unlearn” the ways I was taught and conform to the new age. One tip that I need to actively work on is Richardson’s idea: “We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.” Another one is: “We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?” I’ve thought for years that every student need their own IEP; by this I mean that no two students are the same and having an individual learning program for each would be beneficial for the student’s best interest. However, that is not possible when classrooms have 20 or more students. In rural, small classrooms this may be an option, but in most cases it’s not possible. Teaching students how to take responsibility for their learning by giving them options, using their imagination, and creativity is essential to the world today.
Photo CC- Celestine Chua
Couros’ The Mindset of an Innovator
Thinking with innovation on the mind has been the focus of this semester. New technology resources have been introduced and we have been able to experiment with them in a controlled, purposeful atmosphere. This semester I have kept Couros’ statement in mind that says, “I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”. With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point” (Couros, para. 5). As I worked on each assignment I thought of how the content could be applied to a classroom; especially an elementary classroom in my case. Education is intimidating. Sometimes I get scared thinking about what I want to accomplish in a classroom—I want to use technology, introduce my students to new resources, have interesting activities, meet standards, get the best test scores, try new things without failing, etc. Frankly, that’s a fall, scary order to fill. But the words of Couros comes back with reaffirmation that teachers need to be confident, saying, “I will utilize the tools that are available today and I will continue to search for new and better ways to continuously grow, develop, and share my thinking, while creating and connecting my learning” (para. 7). Confidence in the classroom is built through drawing on strengths, developing those skills, and improving on areas that are not as strong. I cannot limit myself to a comfort zone; if I don’t push forward and try new ideas then how can I except that from students? Innovation needs to be the focus of a 21st century classroom.
Teachers maybe don’t realize how important they are to the puzzle pieces of a student’s educational journey. The skills gained through one year in an innovative teacher’s classroom could benefit them for the rest of their years in the public school system. Lastly, a teacher can’t ever have a “final draft” of a teaching format. It is a process, not a rubric that fits each classroom of students uniformly. This semester I learned just how important a teacher is to students’ success.