Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reflection 12

This past week we worked on movie coding our own teaching videos. You can learn quite a bit about yourself as you watch yourself teach! Going through and watching my teaching videos, I learned a few things about myself:

-When I'm nervous and teaching, I say the word "k" alot! This needs to stop!
-I need to better state my teaching objectives to the students
-I need to watch my vocabulary choice so I sound more concrete on my material
-I need to use my space around me more and not just stay
-I need to be more aware of my students and what they are understanding while I am teaching
-I need to be involved in group work
-I need to have assessments for my students
And it goes on!

Anyways, from everything, I have learned two things. One being that I have many areas to improve upon as a teacher. And two, I really do want to be a teacher. I love helping students and I love seeing them grow. I am reminded of times when teachers have helped me and made me see more of what I am capable. I need to work more on my teaching skills, but at least I don't have to work wanting to teach others.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reflection 11

This last week my group had the opportunity to teach a sixth grade class at an elementary school. I learned a lot from this experience as we both prepared our lesson plan and taught the students.

Something that made me think about how I’m going to handle some of my students as a teacher: There was this little girl that would say the sassiest remarks to me! She could be quite the brat, I’ll be honest! It also made me laugh because at one point when she was being sassy towards me, my professor Geoff just walked in. In seeing how she was, he responded to me, “Now you know how I feel!”. This made me smile because this made me think of the times us students in our class have given him a hard time. But at the same time, Geoff most definitely asks for it sometimes too. Anyways, this little encounter with this student made me think about how I’m going to deal with sass from students. I am going to have to figure out what is the best way to deal with that because it is most definitely something I will have to deal with in high school. Being a teacher, there is so much more than knowing how and what to teach. You have to know what is the best way to handle certain situations with your students.

Overall, I really enjoyed teaching at the elementary school. It was very rewarding and has made me even more excited to be a teacher. People always talk about how rewarding teaching is and this experience most definitely proved that. It felt good to teach these children and see their progress as they learned our material. I think I will really enjoy being a teacher.

Reflection 10

Teaching, teaching, teaching.

There is so much that goes into this!! Just recently we’ve been preparing our lesson for a group of sixth graders. As we’ve been preparing what we want to teach them and how we’re going to do it I’ve realized that there is quite a bit of work that goes into this.

As a student, it is so easy to overlook a teacher or professor puts into his lesson. I feel like I’ve grown more of an appreciation for my teachers as I have experienced myself what all goes into it. I feel like no matter what though, the teacher puts in more work than a student recognizes (that is for those teachers that actually plan their lessons!). Our group thought out every detail of our lesson as we prepared different stations for the kids about magnetism. Not only did we have everything well thought out, but I learned quite a bit! As a teacher, I seem to learn the material much more when I KNOW I have to teach it to someone else. Now I just need to get this mindset of that I will have to teach this material I’m learning so that I can learn it that much better!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reflection 9

Last week we were discussing student achievement vs. student learning and how we test students in the classroom. This really made me think of what is better for the student. It is so easy to write a test in which that test is not a clear determination what the student learned. In the classroom it is important to find a clear way to assess and evaluate your students learning.

What is the best way to evaluate and assess a student?? Common testing methods include true/false, multiple choice, and essay form. True/false is a poor way of testing as no matter what a student has a 50/50 chance of being right. Multiple choice can be ok as long as you are simple and direct in your question. Essay is good because it shows exactly what the student is thinking, but as well as this it is also the test that takes the longest to grade (something BYU isn't always a fan of).

I think about myself and testing. I am not a very good test taker. I am typically much better at essay question type tests, although I hate them as well because they are the tests that require the most time, effort, and studying. When writing tests for our own classes, we need to consider the different ways to test them and make sure we are clear in what we want so we can try to be as effective as possible when teaching them. Here is a list of some general rules for when making a test:

simple and direct wording
avoid jargon
avoid trivial items
match items to learning out comes
each item has an agreed upon correct answer
write more questions than you will need
avoid the use of negatives
Enough information to answer the question
Direct questions preferred
Blanks at the end of the test
Include words repeated in all responses
Provide constraints: time, etc.
3-5 per item
Avoid “all of the above” and none of the above
Grammatically correct with stem
Similar length and structure
Avoid absolute words
Listed in a logical order
Distracters should be plausible, can use cliché, use partial answers
Group items by type
Sort items by increasing difficulty
Add instructions
Review layout and pagination
Write answer key
Wait to grade-and all at once (or same conditions).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reflection 8

Last week our professor was out of town all week. It was interesting that with him out of town, in one of my classes several of us ditched class and chose to sleep in or do other things. I'll be honest, I did not attend one of the class periods that week as well. Is this a bad thing or not? Class to many might not have seemed as crucial, as we were only learning STL's which we could easily read up on later to know. At the same time, by not going we are not being supportive to our fellow classmates who are teaching. Some could also argue that by having fewer students there, the pressure of teaching wasn't as high. The arguments go on. In the end, what is good or bad comes down to the individual. What is it that they want to get out of school? It's up to the student.

Thinking about this also makes me think about how each student is different in what is "important" to them in their classes. Each student is different in whether they are always on time and in class, ditch, come late every day, turn assignments in early or late, etc. Where is the best level for a student to be at? We all know that no student can be perfect. What is the right balance for them and their learning? Should the ones that are a little more "lazy" in how they approach class, assignments, and learning change their approach? These are just some of the questions I have as a student and for myself. Each of us as a student need to figure out where that line is and what kind of student we want to be. As for me, in certain areas I know I most definitely need to be better!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reflection 7

Something I've learned this week in 276, everyone has something about their personality that is a strength in their teaching. It's so cool!! For example, Kim's natural care for others that she puts off or Josh's quick pace that keeps you moving along with him. These things are different from person to person and are what set them apart from other teachers.

What I think is important for every teacher is to figure out what a key element of their personality is that plays into their teacher. Once this element is found, the teacher needs to build on it and use it to their advantage. If you don't try and use this quality of yours in your teaching, it could also set you back. For example, if Kim (nothing against Kim!) were to be too sweet to her children to where they get comfortable, it might get to the point where the students felt like they could push her over. This would not be good! On the other hand, she can play off of her her naturally sweet personality to create an environment where the students feel like they can really accomplish things and feel comfortable with getting help from her. This is what we want. Each of us have something about our personality that sets us apart. We just need to see what that is and then make sure to play that to our advantage when teaching!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reflection 6

This week I had the opportunity to teach my STL, standard of technological literacy. I felt like it went ok. I had gone over the material and come up with different ways to teach the different categories, but I know that I struggled a bit and for some reason felt a little nervous! One thing I will say is that I am in a way glad that I went first. By going first, I taught without any impressions from anyone else. With this, I think overall I was better able to learn what are things that I do wrong and need to fix. By making mistakes, I was more able to understand what to do better as Geoff and the class was critiquing me. So here are some things I learned from my teaching experience:

  • Change teaching techniques based how the students are doing (if your technique used is not helping them learn, then change it!)
  • Have basic phrases that are easy to remember when tying into examples
  • Don't apologize! (this is something I would do because I was nervous...)
  • If you have lots of info to go over (which I did) then try a handout to help guide them along!
  • Do not hide behind something (a desk, podium, etc.)
  • At the beginning of a lesson, say the learning objective and outcome that will be achieved during lesson (students like to see where you are going with the lesson)
  • Give the "Why" of the lesson! (ex: the STL is one of the commandments for being a tech teacher)
  • When writing on the board, size and color of stuff matters. It helps things stick more if it is bigger
  • Have students drive (this helps them learn it better and allows you to not waste time at the board or computer)
  • When assessing the students and they are struggling, go back and review the material! Clearly they didn't get it completely the first round!
Overall, with teaching, you need to be aware of your students needs! You need to see how they are doing and if they get it, if not, you need to adapt your teaching styles. This is key. The teacher needs to see what the problems are in the classroom and then try out different solutions til the problem is resolved.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reflection 5

This past week I went to Pleasant Grove Junior High and sat in on Mr. Frey's class. The class was very similar to the last one I sat in on. He quickly lectured and then put them to work in the shop on their CO2 cars. As I observed this class, I could see that Mr. Frey liked to teach like Dewy. He preferred to have to students run the class and try and learn things on their own. He stayed out of their way except when they really did not know how to do something.

For the most part, the students knew what they were doing, but there were certain areas that I felt the students needed more direction. I felt like there were some things that they should have received instruction on but did not. With this there were a few things happening in the classroom that should not have. Besides this, the class seemed to be under control and ran smoothly.

What I gained most from this experience was what I learned from Mr. Frey. He talked to us about being a teacher and what he recommended for us. One thing he mentioned to us is that we should try and get out in the schools as much as possible. The only experience I have had in the schools is what I have had this semester in this class. He recommended that we sit in and observe whenever we can. He also said that we should try and be substitute teachers whenever possible as well. Talking to him about this made me realize that no matter what we will not be completely prepared for teaching our first year. The best way to prepare myself now is by actually going into the schools. I need to take advantage of the time I have now as a student to learn everything I can about being in a classroom. I need to try and find time now for all of this.

Another thing that Mr. Frey talked to me about was my emphasis. Just like me, he was a multi-media emphasis. BUT here he has primarily been a tech teacher doing woods and metals. This somewhat frightened me! What he is teaching now has nothing to do with his emphasis. He told us how sometimes you have to take what jobs are available and that they don't always relate to your emphasis. He told us how we need to try not to focus on just one area in our major but to try and learn it all. Even though electronics, circuits, and robotics may not be my favorite areas, I still need to learn them!! I need to know all of the areas in TEE, as I do not know EXACTLY what I will be teaching. I need to keep my options open by being well-learned in all areas of TEE. Before I had talked to him, I would sometimes dismiss things I did not understand in Shum's classes, but now I think more about what I am learning in those areas of technology and realize I need to be focused on learning those areas of my major as well. For all I know, I might have to end up teaching such areas that are not my preference! I need to prepare myself now so I will be able to teach any area in TEE.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reflection 4

Last Thursday we had the opportunity to go to the Junior Highs. When we first got to the school, excitement to become a teacher hit me! Going to the school first made me remember those awkward years and feelings of wanting to belong. Those years are such impressionable years in which teachers can have such a great impact!

As for the class we got to sit in on, we got to watch Mr. Meeks teach tech 1 and econ. Overall, he was a great teacher. The things we were learning in class could be boring to some of the students, but with Mr. Meeks, he was very talented at tying in what the class was learning to things that related to the students. I think this is very important because it helps the students to relate the subjects to their own personal lives. Just as he did, I want to try and be similar in my way of making things relatable to the students.

As for things to watch for, I think mind tools used in class need to be better evaluated before put in to class activities. In the econ class, they had a computer program they used in which they sold and bought goods. The game did not help the kids learn at all about how economics work by playing this game. For majority of them, it was a guessing game in what to do with the program. It is very important that such programs help the kids develop skills rather than just wasting their time.

Overall, what I gained most from this experience was the actual realization of how impactful teachers can be on their students. I've always known that they can be, but going in and sitting in on these classes made me really see how impressionable students can be and how it is up to you how much they learn. I once heard a quote that your students are like sponges. They absorb as much as you put into them. As a current student, I need to learn not only the materials of what I'll be teaching, but also the best ways to teach my kids. I want to be able to help them capture, expand, teach, and evaluate what they learn. I hope I can one day help my kids learn and enjoy what they are learning.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reflection 3

In class, we have been reading Learning & Teaching Exponential Growth by Susan Gong. This little book is full of intriguing thoughts about teaching and learning. In the book, it discusses 4 different experiences, capture, expand, teach, and evaluate. Each of these are very important to the Learner/Teacher (L/T) and are ways that an L/T gains experience.

While reading about this, there was one quote that stuck out to me. "When you expect to teach, your mind is prepared to learn." This is so true! This made me really reflect on my own life and how I learn. When I am learning something, I may understand it mostly, but if I don't, I don't stress it and move on. When I am learning something though and know that I must teach it, I have such a different attitude! It makes me question things of the material more and makes me think about the material more because I subconsciously have the mindset that I must teach it to others. I MUST grasp the material because I will have to share it with others.

With the help of this quote making me aware of this learning differences in me based on the purpose, I want to try and go into learning things with the one mindset of being expected to teach it. By doing this, I will feel more pressed to gain as much knowledge about what I am learning rather than being the occasional floater (as shum would say) and not always focusing. As I learn, I want to try and incorporate Gong's principles of capture, expand, teach, and evaluate and to do so with the new mindset of teaching others.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reflection 2

In Wong's book there is a quote that stuck out to me. "Learning is an individual activity but not a solitary one. It is more effective when it takes place within a supportive community of learners." I find this quote to be very true. Learning indeed is something each of us must personally achieve, but it is something that we can accomplish in a support group of others learning the same things. As a student, being in a community of supportive learners just like me is comforting and helpful. Such a community helps buoy me up in my studies. Times where I felt learning was most effective was when I felt that community.

In the Technology and Engineering Education program, the supportive community is very prominent. I think this is something that helped attract me to this major. Many of the things we do are in group settings. We must each learn for ourselves but doing so all together. Being in a 'supportive community of learners' first is beneficial because it allows multiple minds to all contribute and share thoughts and outlooks on material. Secondly, it also creates a support system that feels similar to the family. You feel like you can work with them, get help from them and you can accomplish things personally.

In the classroom, I want to offer this same community to my students. I want to help them to feel comfortable with each other and to work with each other to individually grow. I understand that not everything needs to be in a group setting, but it is effective in helping students grow in ways they cannot do alone. I want them to feel brought up and able to learn and do things just as I have felt in the past.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reflection 1

For class, we've been reading The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong. This book has been thought provoking as I've been reading it. One thing that I enjoyed most was the importance of a teachers expectations. It is up to the teacher how much the student learns. The student will learn as little or as much as the teacher expects. This makes me think back to Miss Parker, my senior English teacher. She had high expectations for me and wanted me to succeed and do well. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was because of her high expectations that I worked so hard on my papers for her class. She had a certain bar that she wanted so I had to work hard to achieve that level. It was hard work, but I remember at the end I felt accomplished and like I had actually reached something and had become better.

It is easy to think you do as well or not so well as you personally expect. In reality, the teacher plays a big role in this . Miss Parker had high expectations, thus I worked hard to achieve the high academic performance that she wanted. She expected me to do well and at the same time made me feel that I could do well. She did not change my ways of thinking but instead changed the way I felt about how I could write. I felt I could do better because of her, thus I did better. The expectations and support from the teacher are crucial to each individual student's learning.

As a teacher, I want to be as Miss Parker and make clear my expectations of my students. I want to encourage them and make them feel too that they can do well. My expectations will play a large role in determining my students' academic performance.