Walking the Walk into a New Semester
It’s always good to have a new syllabus to write. What better way to nudge oneself into ongoing learning, i.e., practice the self-reflection-into-action that I preach to my students? My semester with students who baffled me on a weekly basis (which I wrote about here, here, and here), started me pondering what I learned, why it matters, and what to do next. I’ll do this in a couple of parts. Today, conclusions and implications.
-High-stakes standardized testing has had a major impact on the way we teach and the way students learn.
-have come to expect and rely on teacher-centered classes
-usually seek the “right” answer (and/or the teacher’s ideas about a subject) before they express their opinions
-become anxious when they are asked to think for themselves
-rarely take initiative, such as pursuing opportunities to meet with teachers outside of class, propose alternative assignments, question the purpose or value of assignments or topics of study
What we’re seeing in classes is not only at odds with ideas about and principles of teaching, learning, and living in a digital, collaborative, multimodal, globally oriented society, it’s diametrically opposed. In short, we’re preparing kids for the past. You can read about some of those ideas here:
- –Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century
–Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (From the Digital Youth Research Project at USC & UC Berkely)
–Grading 2.0:Evaluation in the Digital Age
In all the talk about new literacies, where’s the discussion of the kinds of attitudes, beliefs, philosophies teachers need to have in order to frame what they do and how they do it; develop classroom policies & procedures so that students are living the kinds of actions, ways of thinking, kinds of decisions they’ll need to take, do, make in the rapidly changing world?
For example, the assumptions the teacher & students have about about learning, including
-Who’s responsible for what? Is the teacher the only one who determines the content, the classroom practices, what makes a class that’s valuable and meaningful? My students last semester told me they’d never been asked what was working or not working for them in a class. Huh?!?
-Who determines what success looks like?
-What’s a process that embodies independence, reflection, etc., in determining and working toward success? For example, principles of goal-setting, assessment of progress toward those goals, decisions about the next actions
-Where should learning take place? What time? With whom?
More to come as I design my way into next semester….