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.