The following is a reflection I wrote for my ED552 class...
I’ve learned so many things over the course of the last 10 weeks. If I have to pick just the top two (well, I cheated, its three) things I am most interested in digging deeper into, they would be:
- Achievement gap & Non-traditional teaching styles/constructivist teaching
- Formative Assessments
I put achievement gap and teaching styles together because I think changing teaching styles will help students learn and shrink the achievement gap. I know that CCSS is going to be implemented in just a few years and this worries me because I see where my current students are as far as how much they know. I know there is an achievement gap in Bridgeport and its something that I need to find a solution to. I’ve talked with my cooperative teacher and others in the Math field and realize that it starts at the early ages.
I think CCSS will help to close the gap in one way, but the first several years will be rough. Students coming into my classroom are going to be expected to know things that they may not have learned yet. Currently, the 8th grade has three Pre-Algebra classes and one Algebra class but when CCSS is put into place, all 8th graders must be in Algebra.
I need to find the best ways to teach my students, ways that will help them to understand and learn what they need to know. I would love to have CB as a mentor and learn from her outside the box thinking. If I’m not in her high school or if I were in a middle school, I would love to sit with her and learn how she changed her curriculum, which seemed to engage the students more.
When I have down time, I find myself thinking about how I could possibly teach topics in a constructivist way. When I was learning math, I just took things as I was told them; just like my belief in God, I believed that a2 + b2 = c2. Not all students (if many) will blindly understand things and more would learn better if they knew why: why something is and why they need to know it. Watching the CNN “the next list” story about Blue School as well as reading about the Met in our readings as inspired me to find other ways of teaching my students.
Formative assessments can increase self-efficacy, which would help students in so many ways, I can’t even begin to express. Between creativity being considered a positive trait and inclusion of all students, the classrooms are filled with students who learn and process in different ways. I love the idea of not having just a black and white, right or wrong approach to assessing students. I feel that formative assessments are the way of the future and while it may not be used much today, in the next 10 to 15 years, it will likely be the leading way of assessing students knowledge.
Having qualitative feedback from teachers rather than just grades seems to be a brilliant idea to motivate and inspire students. I never did very well on tests when I was younger and always wished there were other ways I could be graded on topics. There was something about the Multiple Choice Test that made all the choices backwards in my head. Between that and having to memorize exactly how things were in a book to pass a history class, made Ani a very stressed-out student. By using formative assessments, teachers can see how students are applying things they learned in ways outside of a test. As an artist, this sits very well with my creative brain.
I’m excited to learn more about these topics, and more, as I get closer to having my own classroom. I have met many people along the way who have offered to advise me and lead me on my journey as a teacher. While it was difficult to find teachers and administrators to interview for class, the ones I interviewed were gems.