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  1. 1. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY A. It has been said, “It’s what you know after you know it all that counts.” This statement holds a truth to life, while at the same time reflects what I have learned over the last seven weeks. I have studied various pedagogical ideologies and have gained a wealth of knowledge from my teaching experience, therefore I have a strong understanding of what it means to motivate and inspire while sculpting young minds. However, even though I have this knowledge base, I constantly learn more about what I already know. Each time, an opportunity is presented to strengthen my understanding and improve my pedagogy. It is what I know after I [think] I know it all that really counts. When one looks at content from varying perspectives, a new understanding takes place. Student motivation is a concept that many teachers, including myself, find intriguing. What motivates one student does not always motivate the next. I have learned that there are many outside factors that influence student motivation. As Jere Brophy (1987) expressed, “motivation to learn is a competence acquired ‘through general experience but stimulated most directly through modeling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization by significant others (especially teachers and parents)” (Lumsden, 1994). As an educator, it is my ultimate goal to inspire and motivate students to reach their full potential. With this in mind, achievable classroom expectations are established for all students to thrive. As a role model, I take the time to learn about each and every one of my students. The more I know more about an individual, the better I can motivate. When one takes the time to learn about each student, open communication, trust, and respect are further established. In turn, a welcoming learning environment where each student feels important is recognized. 1
  2. 2. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY “Classroom climate is important. If students experience the classroom as a caring, supportive place where there is a sense of belonging and everyone is valued and respected, they will tend to participate more fully in the process of learning” (Lumsden, 1994). Through my experience, I have learned that when students know you care about them, their motivation to achieve and participate is increased. I help students to see the potential they possess and I motivate them to reach their goals. I am constantly learning motivational theories and understanding how to implement this driving force in education, however, knowledge of what I have learned applied to what I already know strengthens my pedagogy and understanding. Preparing meaningful lessons, in which all students are successful, is crucial. “..The idea of understanding is surely distinct from the idea of knowing something” (Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J., 1998). It is not enough for students to learn facts. “Simply knowing more facts does not necessarily mean greater understanding; students may learn facts without having any idea what they mean or why they’re important” (Levstik, L. S., & Barton, K. C. (1997). Students learn a wealth of information, however if meaningful connections are not made, understanding cannot be fostered. I have learned that meaningful lessons promote transfer of understanding. “The ability to transfer our knowledge and skill effectively involves the capacity to take what we know and use it creatively, flexibly, fluently, in different setting or problems, on our own” (Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J., 1998). When significant lessons are taught, students can easily comprehend material and apply the knowledge learned; thus transfer. As an educator is it my role to create meaningful examples that students can connect. Ultimately, when students can connect to the material being taught, meaning is attached, and therefore 2
  3. 3. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY greater understanding occurs. Deeper connections can also be made to material through activities and discussions. Through social interactions, student knowledge is also improved. “...In a setting where serious activity and/or discussion is possible, that knowledge is enriched and elaborated by social interactions with people who have also experienced their own process of getting what’s inside out. Thus learners construct their sense of the world by applying their old understandings to new experiences and ideas” (Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J., 1998). Promoting a collaborative learning environment, where social interaction constructs a reexamination of material presented, allows students to make connections and create meaning. An in depth understanding of fact based content builds on prior knowledge, while connections are made in an innovative manner. I have come to more fully understand that creating a meaningful classroom, where students make connections to their prior knowledge and life experiences, promotes more than learning. It builds understanding. A teacher who understands the theory behind how students learn can more consistently develop effective plans” (Levstik, L. S., & Barton, K. C. (1997). As a lifelong learner, I am continuously perceptive as to how students learn and ways in which to help them grow as individuals. Each student has varying capacities to learn. Therefore, in order to educate young minds, it is important that I over learn material to be taught. To impart knowledge in a powerful way, it is necessary to “..Practice the basics until they become second nature” (Langer, E. (1997). When over learning occurs, I am able to see multiple perspectives and impart material in a diverse meaningful fashion allowing students to further understand content. Understanding various learning theories is applicable to learning my content better in order to achieve differentiated instruction. 3
  4. 4. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY Over learning, in part, is acting as a reflective practitioner, where experience and time will help me evolve as an educator. Through teaching the same content day after day and year after year, I learn from my students just as they learn from me. Student experiences and stories give me the opportunities to over learn material, attaching new meaning, as their knowledge is then added to my understanding. More significance is attached to my knowledge base and a deeper understanding is gained. Application of learning theories, coupled with purposeful learning, will encourage differentiated instruction. Through these courses I have extended my understanding, learning how to implement differentiated instruction using technology. Teaching …”Emerges from thinking deeply about the nature of discipline in conjunction with strategies for helping students learn that discipline over time… Teaching requires the transformation of content in ways that make it intellectually accessible to students” (Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2009, May). Thus, using technology to transform content knowledge, allows students to gain a better deeper understanding of material. Using Web 2.0 technologies in my domain speaks to the digital natives, allowing the 21st century students to make connections, collaborate, and learn in a compelling way. Utilizing technology motivates students to learn as well as deepens their insight. Providing the opportunity to learn with technology inspires students to actively participate. There are many ways in which I aspire to use technology in my classroom. Through implementation of technologies I have previously incorporated into my pedagogy, I have already observed students more eager to learn material and reflect upon their experiences. When students are asked to “blog” instead of write a paper they are engaged void of off task behavior. The connotation attached to writing a paper is often one of negative feelings, however the 4
  5. 5. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY connotation attached to blogging elicits an enthusiastic learner. “Teachers need to develop a willingness to play with technologies and an openness to building new experiences for students so that fun, cool tools can be educational” (Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2009, May). I have learned a great deal about various Web 2.0 technologies I would like to incorporate in my pedagogy. However, at this time, I need to develop a greater understanding in order to present these technologies in a meaningful manner. It is not enough to know about them. Time, practice, and experimenting with educational technologies will help me to comprehend various programs, giving me a deeper understanding. Consequentially, these tools will be used in a manner to promote active engagement. Understanding Student motivation, preparing meaningful lessons, and over learning content to the point of mastery, in order to establish differentiate instruction, are all concepts that I have been taught though my studies and learned as a result of experience. However, as I gain more knowledge of each of the aforementioned ideologies, a greater understanding is attached. As a lifelong learner, I am constantly learning ways in which to impart knowledge in meaningful and innovative ways. As I revisit theories on student motivation, how to create meaningful lessons, as well as implementation of differentiated instruction (and what it looks like), I recognize that I have a vast knowledge base. However, when concepts are re-examined, I acquire a firmer grasp of understanding this material and therefore execute lessons in a more powerful manner. Each time I return to concepts that I already know, I analyze them further. A quality educator reflects on her practice, searching for new ways in which to become a better teacher, in order to construct a learning environment where students 5
  6. 6. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY understand material and can apply learned concepts to their daily life. In learning to educate and sculpt young minds, I am on a journey to understand ideologies that will enable me to inspire youth in a powerful manner. B. This experience, learning more about technology and various educational theories, has inspired me to rethink my pedagogy, analyzing resources and professional development that will improve implementation of my instruction. In order for my teaching instruction to mature, there are essential areas to focus. Thinking forward I find that I need to re-evaluate in order to improve my pedagogy, as it pertains to authentic assessments, student motivation and using differentiated instruction. This process of reflection and “rethinking” will also include technology not merely as a means to an end, but help uncover content such that learners are engaged through technology enhanced lessons and instruction. I will implement authentic assessments using various technologies, providing students with an alternative means of measuring retention of material. Allowing students to be creative, using Web 2.0 technologies, offers an opportunity for students to express their knowledge in inventive ways. Authentic assessments not only express knowledge, but an understanding of content. This transfer of knowledge, application of learned material, provides a more in depth understanding. “Developing the ability to transfer one’s learning is key to a good education” (Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J., 1998). Providing students with an opportunity to transfer learned material, allowing deeper understanding using technology, presents me with more insight with respect to student comprehension. Furthermore, implementing an alternative means of evaluation, students will be actively engaged in reflecting upon various units of study. There are a variety of authentic 6
  7. 7. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY assessments that will improve student understanding. In order to apply authentic assessments effectively in my pedagogy, I will need to research web resources, books, and journals. Professional development and Michigan State University educational technology courses will give me greater awareness as I re- think alternative assessments using technology. Alternative assessments I would like to integrate into my teaching include blogging, wiki creations, as well as video editing software such as iMovie. Blogs are beneficial tools to be used in the classroom, if used properly. As a teacher, incorporating technology into the classroom in a blog format would not only motivate students to become more engaged in material it will enhance their technological skills and deepen understanding of learned material. Weblogs, or blogs, are Web pages often likened to online personal journals. They are noted for being the "unedited, published voice of the people" (Winer 2003). Ferdig, R., & Trammell, K. (2004) Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere". T.H.E Journal.. Using blogs in my health education classroom can utilize Web 2.0 technologies as well as hold students accountable for participation and learning. This alternative means of assessment poses an opportunity to utilize the computer labs at school in order to engage and enhance student learning. It has been said “…teachers whose students blog within the context of lessons report improved writing and dramatically improved attitudes toward learning, classrooms and schools” (Blog Rules). Integrating blogging in my Health Education classroom will help students comprehend health material to the point of understanding. This innovative, alternative assessment will allow students to transfer their learned knowledge and serve as a means for me to evaluate student cognitive intellectual capacity. 7
  8. 8. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY Including Wikis as an alternative means of assessment will allow students to work collaboratively, generating a group effort in order to truly understand health content. Students will create a Wiki as a final project for varying units of study. Each group will be given a different topic as it pertains to the chosen unit. Therefore, student understanding is deepened and students can collaborate. In implementation of Wikis into my pedagogy, I will show students how to build Wiki web pages using, Google Sites as well as Wikispaces. When students are given the opportunity to work together, multiple perspectives are taken into account, and a greater comprehension of material is attained. Incorporating iMovie as a means of assessing student learning will allow students to tap into their right brain; creativity. Students will be able to produce movies, and edit them, as they apply their understanding of health related content. One way in which iMovie will be used as a valid means of measuring student comprehension, is through generating commercials. Students will be able to utilize programs such as Jing to aid in the editing process. Each iMovie will signify understanding of health concepts, as students will have to apply content learned in order to craft a meaningful commercial. In an effort to motivate students, one needs to utilize differentiated instruction coupled with alternative assessments. As I re-evaluate my teaching philosophy as it pertains to the previously mentioned ideologies, I will strive to employ teaching methods that allow all students to thrive. Differentiated instruction means reaching all learners. “The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success…” ( When technology is applied to learning, student motivation is increased and active participation is transpired. Through differentiated 8
  9. 9. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY instruction, using technology, critical thinking skills are elicited. As critical thinking skills are used, a greater understanding of content occurs. Transformation of known facts emerges into deeper realizations. Students are motivated when educators find new and innovative ways in which to present material. As I understand the true meaning of teaching, I will incorporate technology through differentiated instruction, assessments, as well as a motivational technique to help students know what they think they know. Employing technology through teaching will broaden student learning and increase achievement. REFERENCES: Ferdig, R., & Trammell, K. (2004) Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere". T.H.E Journal. Lumsden, L. (1994). Student motivation to learn. Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse 9
  10. 10. FINAL REFLECTION ADERY on Educational Management. Langer, E. (1997). When practice makes imperfect. In The Power of Mindful Learning. (pp.9-31). New York : Addison-Wesley. Levstik, L. S., & Barton, K. C. (1997). The theory behind disciplined inquiry. In Doing History: Investigating with children in elementary and middle schools (pp. 9-16). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2009, May). Too Cool for School? No Way! Learning & Leading with Technology, (36)7. 14-18. Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria , VA : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Chapter 2: Understanding understanding 10