Course Reflection

Program Standard E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice

Writing Prompts:
1. Citation of the program standard (one standard from HOPE principles) along with an interpretation of what
the standard means.

I believe this program standard E1- Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-center practice means for a teacher to evolve with knowledge. To gain that knowledge through self reflection and peer feedback. To collaborate with other professionals in the field and embody a continual self edit.

2. Presentation of evidence with description. The description includes context and related research or theory
associated with the creation of the evidence.

The evidence of gaining knowledge through self-reflection can be seen on my topics of P2

Blog posts with P2 filter (enhanced by a reflective collaborative professional growth centered practice)

But more interestingly something that came up in class is that artful teachers match the learning with the realms of interest, uniting something about what interests them. In this manner, one will always be evolving with the knowledge gained with each years interests.

Learning Illustrated 

The peer feedback I received this year was very helpful when I walked into a class of 8th graders and was looking to engage them with materials based on the current work I do in relation to pediatric brain tumors.

I Can Teach

3. Justification of how the evidence demonstrates competence, or emerging competence, on the program standard.

I believe the purpose of the personal background essay was to give an idea of your philosophy at the beginning of the semester, to show how my knowledge has been informed and shaped by the professionals, and self -reflection. The manifestation of that is the Professional Philosophy of Education and Developmental Theory that was based on the culmination of what stood out to me this year, and what I have learned to incorporate.

4. Summary of what was learned as a result of creating the evidence or having the experience.

Like I mentioned in my Personal Background Reflection:

As an educator I seek to create an environment that attracts and holds learners, moving them towards the objectives of the state requirements, but outside of that I believe people learn best when they are free to explore ideas they are curious about. I think nurturing this innate curiosity outside of the confines of requirements is where real progress is made. In following that belief a teacher could plan instructions by asking what the learners what their interests are, not only to show that their interests matter, but that they could make a difference.

Another of my philosophies lies in being a facilitator rather than a director thereby instilling resilience in having courageous conversations and difficult discussions. I feel most successful in situations that are structured, and then finding the ways we can be flexible within them. I believe good educators start planning instruction by considering the end behaviors they are looking for and finding ways to produce them and using the learners feelings to accomplish objectives. This comes from an appreciation for clear goals, and wiggle room within them, and from the times that a teacher has acknowledged my non-verbal cues and engaged me for a response to the materials instead of bulldozing over them to get what they want done. The teacher as facilitator: teacher as learner, learning as teaching: a fundamental shift in role with a focus on student learning, not teacher behavior (Scheuerman, 2014).

5. Comment on the implications for student learning.

I think the implications of my professionally informed philosophy is that of student centered learning. I believe I will be nurturing their innate curiosity and creating an atmosphere of comforting acceptance that will enable honest feedback. Engaging the students with thought provoking interests that lead to self-betterment and improving communication. I look forward to helping students realize that they are capable of learning, and motivating them with a compelling vision that will hopefully influence them to reach for their ideal selves. I look forward to helping them look for more sides than just one, and determining what is within their choices. I am excited to discover new ways of accommodating, adapting and communicating to a diverse set of individuals and finding what makes them work.  I also look forward to finding a resonance between requirements and what is on the hearts and minds of the youth, and in these moments cultivating the self-awareness, self-assessment and self-confidence that are oh so necessary for progress.

6. Propose specific changes or next steps to increase effectiveness in the area under examination.

Actually engaging my peers to solicit feedback from them more often would be an excellent way of increasing effectiveness in this area. Also spending more time chatting with the instructors about the materials and strategies I can incorporate with my current youth outreach.

Resources:

Scheuerman, Richard. (2014) Session 1 EDU6120:Foundations.

http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-1-goals1.pdf

Professional Philosophy of Education and Developmental Theory

Introduction

I recently put the finishing touches on my personal background reflection essay and because of this not much has changed in how I thought I would teach so I intend to explore how my professional philosophy of education and developmental theory has changed but more importantly what were the reinforcements to this philosophy that I gained this semester.

Professional Philosophy of Education and Developmental Theory

I find myself in teaching situations where I rely heavily on the works of others to provide merit to the instruction. It’s the idea that it has been said before, and most likely said better. Or perhaps what I feel is necessary to support a claim is that backing of someone else’s words. The readings of Tolstoy gave me the inspiration I needed to recognize that the requirements of each generation of learners evolves from the previous requirements and to continue to find the best way to teach each new set, is to evolve with them. He remarks that at each time in history that corresponding school of thought was pertinent for that time, but now is our time to make a difference in the student’s current environment. I appreciate that permission to adapt, and within this adaptation we are able to provide what the student’s needs.

During this semester I received affirmation of the merits of learner-centric teaching. I feel like most people remember the intention behind the content, not so much the memorization of it. So in this sense the learner becomes the subject, and in watching how they interact with the materials, one could find out what sticks and work with that to create a sense of self-discovery. I still believe people learn best when they are free to explore ideas they are curious about. I think nurturing this innate curiosity outside of the confines of requirements is where real progress is made.

This philosophy relies heavily on an honest feedback system. So I believe it is imperative to first create an atmosphere of comforting acceptance. In this manner fostering that feedback as well as practicing and encouraging that honesty will help to not only evaluate the system, but to tailor their experiences. I was just recently introduced to the idea of exit surveys, they are anonymous and because of that invite honesty. I think another way to create a conducive atmosphere to self-discovery is to start lectures off with thought provoking quote, and to give kids a fun once a week quiz based on a topic that is currently interesting them about lifestyles, social, economic, political or environmental topics. I have also been introduced to the concept of “me” charts, starting a year out with the students public self-description and having them develop the rules of conduct that they wish to instill for their class will help create a starting point. As is evident at this point I am very interested in working science into self-betterment, global education should involve learning for something, rather than about something (Ellis, pg. 8).

One of my philosophies about the importance of building communication skills involves finding ways to get students to become interdependent in a way that is not cheating. Robert Muller inspired me to consider that “a child born today into a world of 4 billion people will, if he or she reaches the age of sixty be sharing the earth with three times that many human beings.” Muller goes on to say that “A child born today will be both an actor and a beneficiary or a victim in the total world fabric, and he may rightly ask: ‘Why was I not warned? Why was I not better educated? Why did my teachers not tell me about these problems and indicate my behavior as a member of an interdependent human race?’” (Ellis, pg. 7). This reminds me that people will need the skills to work with other people, more so in the future than ever before, and I believe it is our place as teachers to not only provide them the tools and practice to do so, but inspire them to want to. In this age of YouTube instruction it is easier than ever to co-exist with minimal interactions, or finding these interactions on public forums that are unburdened of the responsibility of immediate personal consequences.

I feel the pinch of specialization in our field, capitalism encourages people to find niches, and in these pockets of experts there are often few interdisciplinary connections. But this is an eventual detriment because we are missing the potential applications. While I feel it is unrealistic to do all, it is important to keep in mind the potential sources of bridges to other disciplines and find time to explore them. This can be mimicked in the classroom, by bringing in content related to their other classes, or guest speakers and materials from other disciplines.

There is so much to know about our natural world, and it is easy to feel like ones subject is the most important, but if the chemistry student understands how a chemical is structured, but can’t deduce how it interacts with the cells biologically then they lose the most valuable perspective of their work, the potential of application. Our current system relies on a few people to connect the dots among a sea of information and we can better prepare students to look for the bigger picture of society (without overwhelming them), instead of only narrowing the focus to find economic wealth.

In utilization of my philosophies: I look forward to helping high school students realize that they are often held to higher expectations than that of “adults” or of their own parents, and finding ways to reinforce that they are capable of learning, and motivating them with a compelling vision that will hopefully influence them to reach for their ideal selves. I look forward to helping them look for more sides than just one, and determining what is within their choices, and accepting what they have no control over. I am not an expert in my field, so I also look forward to the challenge of keeping up with them and their interests, but most of all I am excited to discover new ways of accommodating, adapting and communicating to a diverse set of individuals and finding what makes them work.

References

Ellis, Arthur. (2014) Multicultural Education Session 7. http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-7-ellis-multicultural-education.pdf

Personal Background Reflection Essay

Introduction

I started gaining appreciation for both science and teaching while I was in the 5th grade from an inspirational instructor named Mr. Boyle. This was further reinforced in 6th grade with Mr. Roth. Both made lasting impressions through their engagement with the materials and students. I got a degree in chemistry because I knew I could do it, and it would give me more choices upon graduating, but it was really a backup plan for if I couldn’t get through the memorization required for my upper division biology classes. When the school requirements stated I would have to get through Calculus 3, and I was starting college at pre-algebra I just put one foot in front of the other, and made my way with resilience and not without failures. In the same manner I worked my way up through Fred Hutch to be working in the most estimable laboratory on campus.

I intend to be a high school biology teacher. This subject is where I found my passion, and where I found the passion of our teacher to be most infective. Albeit to be teaching public high school is surprising and will be most assuredly challenging, seeing as how I never passed my first and only experience in public high school. I reasoned in 9th grade the predominance of my fellow attendees were not there to learn, but rather to engage in things I did not or did not want to understand. My mother picked up on this, and realizing how very difficult it was for me, searched for alternatives until I was cozy in a group homeschooling situation.

These experiences affect my personal educational developmental philosophy, as does my gender, spirituality and socio-economic status and I intend to find the ways these relate to that philosophy. “True professionals know not only what they are to do, but also are aware of the principles and reasons for acting. Experience alone does not make a person a professional adult educator. The person must be also be able to reflect deeply upon the experience he or she has had” (Elias & Merriam, 1980, p. 9).

 

Personal Educational Developmental Philosophy

As an educator I seek to create an environment that attracts and holds learners, moving them towards the objectives of the state requirements, but outside of that I believe people learn best when they are free to explore ideas they are curious about. I think nurturing this innate curiosity outside of the confines of requirements is where real progress is made. In following that belief a teacher could plan instructions by asking what the learners what their interests are, not only to show that their interests matter, but that they could make a difference.

This philosophy stems from my own freedom to follow my curiosity. I was raised under avoidant agnostic conditions but was allowed to come to my own conclusions based on what I was interested in. This hands-off approach lead me to appreciate religion and find faith in an organic manner. The impacts of my actions in my role as a professional educator is hopefully one of inspiration. I look forward to finding a resonance between requirements and what is on the hearts and minds of the youth, and in these moments cultivating the self-awareness, self-assessment and self-confidence that are oh so necessary for progress.

Another of my philosophies lies in being a facilitator rather than a director thereby instilling resilience in having courageous conversations and difficult discussions. I feel most successful in situations that are structured, and then finding the ways we can be flexible within them. I believe good educators start planning instruction by considering the end behaviors they are looking for and finding ways to produce them and using the learners feelings to accomplish objectives. This comes from an appreciation for clear goals, and wiggle room within them, and from the times that a teacher has acknowledged my non-verbal cues and engaged me for a response to the materials instead of bulldozing over them to get what they want done.

In an image of my ideal self, I am the instructor that is successful when the learners have awareness of social and political issues and are willing to explore the impacts of these on their lives, and while I feel compelled to the importance of such things I doubt I will feel capable to practice the concept. This is my ideal self, because it wasn’t until college that a teacher felt comfortable and knowledgeable enough to engage his class in this way (bio-chemistry and nuclear sciences). I find myself wishing for these interactions earlier in life to better prepare my future self.

Resources

Elias, J. L., & Merriam, S. (1980). Philosophical foundations of adult education.

Huntington, NY: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.

Final Foundations Paper

Introduction

I gave a response to two selected questions:

(3). Of all the individuals and philosophies we have discussed during this course, select one or two whose ideas have influenced you the most. What are those ideas, and what relevance do they have to your own philosophy?

Plato’s Cave “On Breaking the Chains of Ignorance”

I particularly enjoyed the revelations and mental confirmations I received from this reading. He starts off with a dialog that was difficult for me to follow, but his conclusion was undeniable. “But then, if I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put knowledge that was not there before into a soul, like sight into blind eyes.” (Allen, 232) this statement reaffirms everything I have thought about concerning the different stages of development. Like when one asks another what love means, they will describe only what they have known, and until they experience something different, they are unable to learn the next level of understanding by just telling them what that stage of love looks like.

Plato talks about dragging man out of the cave, and I believe that is the goal of education. I feel that not only should education aim to put knowledge of these stages into the soul, but also at turning the soul to desire the light.

What relevance it has to my own philosophy is that I feel there is no higher form of contribution, than education. In this story that comes at a cost, that these enlightened folks need to return to the cave to pull people out. This is a remarkable characteristic of humanity, the desire to share ones knowledge to short cut the struggles of other. Plato spins this even further to place the responsibility onto the higher stages to inspire others to reach for the truths and desire them. I believe an achieved educator does just that.

Leo Tolstoy “On Popular Education”

I believe education is best received when one is ready to hear the information. Perhaps it does not become clear until one has already thought about it. It seems it isn’t until they have thought of something similar or are close to the same conclusion do they receive the education. In this manner Tolstoy talks about “every thinker expresses only that which has been consciously perceived by his epoch, consequently the education of the younger generation in the sense of this consciousness is quite superfluous: this consciousness is already inherent in the living generation” (Scheuerman, Session 8 pg. 5).

Tolstoy also brings up the fact that curriculum is easy when there is no doubt. Plato did not doubt the truths of his ethics (Scheuerman, Session 8 pg. 5) and neither did the religious pedagogues of the medieval ages etc. but he questions how to select what must be known among so many choices. I agree this is overwhelming to think about, but he provides hope when he points out the unconscious commonality between all pedagogues (in spite of their divergent opinions) and it is that all of them wish to liberate the curriculum from the “historical fetters” which weigh it down. That the schools of the past corresponded effectively with their times, and ours schools need to be current with right now to be effective. To be guided by an expression of the peoples will (Scheuerman, Session 8 pg. 7) to let the students decide what they want to learn, because what we have learned, is in a realm of “historical”.

This is relevant to my own philosophy in the fact that a seed has to be planted in the minds to yearn for knowledge, and after that students tend to search for not only what relates to the now but also what interests them about the past. I wonder how we could better the next generation if we are not adaptive and receptive and thus leading by example.

(2). Taking into consideration the three best ways by which we obtain knowledge (received, discovered, constructed), what are the implications for achieving proper balance in teaching and learning?

In revisiting this concept it wasn’t until after I finished this class, that the intent behind the content became clear. The implications of achieving a proper balance in my opinion is a synergy between student and teacher. It is tapping into that person’s innate abilities and wonder, to present the knowledge in a manner that can be manifested. The role of the teacher is that of instructor, expert, and facilitator while the role of the learner is that of both passive (traditional view of learners receiving information from authorities) and active (engagement in process, creating constructing knowledge by doing, discovering and reflective thinking). (Scheuerman, Session 1 pg. 2) I think the most effective of teachers facilitates learning in both passive and active means to find what works.

The balance comes from being proficient in all means of imparting knowledge. Knowledge received/revealed: didactics, i.e. “being told”, someone else’s knowledge, oral traditions, ancient and recent. Knowledge discovered: induction, “finding out for one’s self”, “Discovery,” “Inquiry based” learning, more active, engaging, enduring, “D” vs. “d” . Knowledge constructed: understanding built creatively: writing, drawing, original construction, etc. (Scheuerman, Session 1 pg. 1) That effectiveness and synergy with one’s student comes from the execution of these forms with clarity, expertise in that subject, passion, communication of expectations and goals, understanding ones pupils and their situations, soliciting feedback and constructively adapting that into the next time. Teaching them the bigger picture of interconnectedness, and giving them the environment to reflect and develop the cognitive intuitions that will provide the foundation for them to make decisions about their surroundings.

There is a balance between teaching and learning that can be achieved in confidence when everything is approached with love. Both student and teacher are in both roles and sometimes doing what is best for the relationship, is not always what one thinks is correct. I was just writing about the difference a teacher makes when they stop relying on the “zero-tolerance” policy and engage with the student to determine the cause of a disturbance. The disturbance is not without repercussions, but it provides an opportunity for both parties to learn and teach.

Something to consider in these situations of learning and teaching is the sentiment: “what is fair is not always just, and what is just is not always fair”. Perhaps what one thinks is just in that situation is to rely on the policy and that it’s not fair to the other students to take the time to engage. But perhaps what is best for the student teacher relationship would be to take a moment to understand how much of that disturbance behavior is from a choice, and how much is a stress reflex response that is outside of their control.

With only 5% of suspensions being attributed to weapons or drugs, the other 95% were for “disruptive behavior” or “other” according to a 2011 report from the National Education Policy Center, means that teachers are often on the front lines of keeping that student out of a suspension situation. “Studies show that one suspension triples the likelihood of a juvenile justice contact within that year,” California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told the California Legislature last month. “And that one suspension doubles the likelihood of repeating the grade.” (Cantil-Sakauye, pg. 1). So this this synergy that is so desperately needed comes from that balance of teaching and learning, and I am eager to implement the things I have learned thus far and put these into practice.

References

Allen, R.E. (2006). Plato: The Republic. New Haven: Yale University Press

Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice Tani G. (2012). State of the Judiciary Address to a

Joint Session of the California Legislature.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/17293.htm

Losen, Daniel J. (2011). National Education Policy Center, Discipline Policies,

Successful Schools, and Racial Justice 8. http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/NEPCSchoolDiscipline.pdf

Scheuerman, Richard. (2014) Session 1 EDU6120:Foundations.

http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-1-goals1.pdf

Scheuerman, Richard. (2014) Session 8 EDU6120:Foundations.

http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-8-

progressivism1.pdf

Authentic Applications

How one learns is just as important as what one learns. It wasn’t until college that I finally learned how, and if we can get that into the lives of people earlier I feel like this would increase the potential for societal growth. Having exciting curriculum creates engagement,  finding ways to make the subject interesting provides the value and makes the subject worth knowing. People remember the intention behind content, not so much the memorization of it.
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I particularly liked the application of the first amendment in these cases, although I get the impression that teachers do not feel as free to express controversial view in lectures and readings as would be put forth from the Sweezy v. new Hampshire (1957) case.
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Regardless, these I found interesting:
Barnette v. W.V. Board of Education (West Virginia, 1940): Enforcing flag salute on Jehovah’s Witnesses abridged their First Amendment rights as they considered the pledge an objectionable oath. The court goes on to say that all Constitutional privileges are protected in school settings (cp. “disruptive to the educational environment”).
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McCollum v. Illinois Board of Education (Illinois, 1948): Forbids thirty minute voluntary religious classes on public school premises, court notes that the First Amendment “erected a wall between the church and state which must be kept high and inpregnable.” A precedent-setting decision for strong separation.
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Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957): Affirms First Amendment freedom of teachers to express controversial views in lectures and readings.
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Pickering v. Board of Education (1967): Affirms teachers’ First Amendment rights to publically criticize the school administration in a professional and informed manner, an important “freedom of expression” ruling.
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Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969): Court rules in favor of students’ right to express opinions on controversial subjects (i.e., armbands to protest the Vietnam War) as long as it does not interfere with normal school activities.
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Wisconsin Board of Education v. Yoder (Wisconsin, 1972): Amish successfully sue for right to complete school after finishing the eighth grade. Court rules that the state must place First Amendment religious freedom above its interest for compulsory secondary education.
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Board of Education v. James (1972): Teachers have the same rights and reasonable limitations as students with regard to freedom of expression in school setting
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Bethel School District (WA) v. Fraser (1986): First Amendment rights to freedom of speech do not prevent school officials from disciplining a student for the use of lewd and offensive language.