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Author: hwinsnes

Blog Post #6 – Final Reflection

For the final Blog post, I want to thank Georgann for her patience and understanding as we worked through some hiccups. I have enjoyed the units and have come away with a more robust understanding of learning theories, how to integrate technology purposefully, and how to design curriculum units with a solid assessment.

I developed a teaching philosophy for this course, and I have returned to this philosophy for my final reflection. I believe education is needed to be holistic, inclusive, and diverse and that it continues throughout one’s lifetime. My philosophy also states that all children can and do learn when presented with a nurturing environment that is safe and able to meet their needs academically, socially, and emotionally. These are both core belief statements, and they have been confirmed through the study of philosophers such as Nel Noddings. Nel Noddings’ philosophy of care in the classroom emphasizes the importance of nurturing caring relationships between teachers and students, prioritizing students’ well-being and emotional development, and incorporating caring activities into the curriculum.

Moreover, my philosophy states that students need to develop a growth mindset where they set goals, reflect, and actively participate in their education. To this point, I now know that not only students but anyone involved in the education process need to embody these ideals. In this course, I was introduced to various delivery formats, and these ideals can be nurtured by offering a variety of delivery formats, such as asynchronous, blended, hybrid, or online models, to meet the needs of the learners.

A final element that I would add to my philosophy is that all the needs above must be addressed with purpose. The unit we developed reinforced the idea of purpose, making us question what we chose for our students and why with objectives, technology, and assessment. The checklist helped as a guide to ensure the technology chosen was purposeful and provided authentic learning opportunities to ensure students know how and why they are using the technology provided. Regarding assessment, I was always taught to use backward design: starting with the objectives you want to assess, creating a summative assessment, and then going into the activities that will lead to this purposeful assessment. However, after the feedback from my partners about my unit, it was clear that I had not made purposeful connections to the assessment. This is an excellent reminder that even though we may have done the ‘process’ many times, we still need to be thorough and purposeful in planning.

Blog Post #5 – Design Perspectives: Indigenization

          I acknowledge living on Treaty 6 and 7 lands in Red Deer, Alberta. This land is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney Nakoda nation, and traditional Métis, Cree, and Saulteaux peoples. I strive to honor and transform my relationship with this land’s traditional people as we move toward reconciliation. It is also important to acknowledge the lens through which I approach reconciliation and my role as a teacher as a Canadian-born, white, Catholic, British woman from a middle to upper socioeconomic class. I understand that these social locations surround me with power and privilege and, in turn, implicit biases that I may not be aware of. Research shows that most preservice teachers are like me, and these teachers reported that “many feel unprepared to adequately represent Indigenous perspectives or fear being accused of cultural appropriation (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 56). Without this knowledge, how can teachers truly adopt an indigenization lens that is meaningful and not just tokenistic?

          In order for one to see through a different lens, one must be willing to listen empathetically to learn. An Albertan study by Milne and Wotherspoon in 2023 was designed to look at how “ Indigenous students and their parents see themselves represented and supported through educational initiatives to foster reconciliation and how these initiatives are understood by teachers who work with these students” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 55). The researchers spoke to various stakeholders, including parents, children, and school staff, to determine what indigenous initiatives were working in the school and what areas needed more support. The findings were that the school had developed “designated spaces where Indigenous programming took place and Indigenous students gathered” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 59) for learning and celebrations. Moreover, there were added “initiatives such as Cree language instruction during lunch breaks, Indigenous or Aboriginal Studies courses, and weekly Elder facilitated sharing circles” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 59). All of these initiatives were regarded as positive steps towards reconciliation. However, the findings also suggested some systemic issues, such as“the lack of adequate support and preparation for teachers, relatively superficial incorporation of teaching about Indigenous peoples, and discomfort that many Indigenous peoples feel with the education(al)” system. (Milne, et al., 2023, p. 64). Consequently, what was happening seemed to be more tokenistic than authentic learning to promote reconciliation.

          In the second article by Wallin and Tunison (2002), the researchers review a provincial initiative in Saskatchewan called Follow Their Voice. The core purpose of this program is to “foster community engagement in education, transform teacher practice, and improve the educational achievement of Indigenous students in particular” (Wallin et al., S., 2002, p. 77). This initiative encourages all the stakeholders in an indigenous child’s education to come together and discuss “what is needed in order to be successful as a First Nations or Métis student in school” (Wallin et al., 2002, p. 78). Once determined, the plans are actualized through a train-the-trainer model, and “school-based indigenous facilitators work with cohorts of teachers over a four-year cycle to support, observe, monitor and provide feedback to their teacher colleagues as they learn about and implement a range of discursive, culturally responsive instructional strategies (Wallin et al., S., 2002, p. 78). The strength of this initiative is that all decisions, programs, and actions are built on the voices of the indigenous community to inform the teaching and learning environment, making these authentic experiences for potential growth toward reconciliation. By following the people’s voice, empathizing, and being willing to work together, it seems that this is the real road to true reconciliation.

References

Milne, E., & Wotherspoon, T. (2023). Student, Parent, and Teacher Perspectives on Reconciliation-Related School Reforms. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 17(1), 54–67. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1080/15595692.2022.2042803

Wallin, D., & Tunison, S. (2022). “Following Their Voices”: Supporting Indigenous Students’ Learning by Fostering Culturally Sustaining Relational Pedagogies to Reshape the School and Classroom Environment. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 32(2), 75–90. https://wrap2fasd.org/2022/08/02/following-their-voices-supporting-indigenous-students-learning-by-fostering-culturally-sustaining-relational-pedagogies-to-reshape-the-school-and-classroom-environment/

Blog Post #4 – Evaluation of ‘ReadWorks”

ReadWorks is a free web based reading comprehension site which has been developed on the science behind what makes readers successful.  It offers a variety of different texts to support students in building their comprehension skills and is used by more than five million educators and 30 million students. The passages are aligned with the scope and sequence of the United States of America’s curriculum standards which allows teachers to create a class and assign individual reading texts based on the core reading standard while addressing the reading level of each student. The assignments can automatically be graded upon completion and the teacher can offer highlights to sections, provide direct feedback, and track student progress using the dashboard.  https://www.readworks.org/# 

 

Question Comments
The technology supports student engagement, collaboration and collective learning amongst students. YES 

 

  • Students are unable to collaborate with projects on books they are assigned the same book and are working together face to face in a group discussion.
  • There are a variety of topics that are engaging for all readers including fiction, non fiction, poetry
  • Book studies can be assigned to a group to discuss and work on together.
The technology is accessible, time-efficient and the navigation is user-friendly.  YES
  • There is some time needed for professional development on the teacher’s end to fully understand the potential of the program and set up their class.
  • Students are assigned texts by the teacher and can easily find the materials in their student libraries.
  • Easy log in for both teacher and student
  • There are student tutorials available in video format
  • There are teacher 1 page tutorial pages with instructions for login and access already developed that can easily be shared with the student.
  • Offline mode so students can access materials and work on them if they do not have wifi capability
The technology is internationally accessible, and considers the cultural background of students. NO
  • This site is intended for the United States
  • All data bases are located in the United States
  • All texts are available in English
  • There is access to a variety of languages on the site such as Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Haitian in translation mode.
The technology meets FIPPA privacy guidelines YES
  • No individual student information is collected on accounts. Information is saved from educators setting up account at a school level
  • ReadWorks does not collect geolocation data, biometric or health data, or behavioral data
  • Student use is stored anonymously 
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted accounts
  • Profiles are not shared for social interactions
  • The laws of New York govern this site
The technology aligns with UDL and is adaptable for IELPs YES
  • Listen to assignments with audio that is in a human voice or a computer based voice for multiple texts
  • Highlight and annotate as student works through an online book
  • Build student background knowledge
  • Ability to choose any grade level from K-12 and set the Lexile level to match your student’s ability.
  • Specific texts developed for ELL learners
  • Distraction free tools built in which allows students to expand the text, removing the clutter from their screen to focus on the text and questions. 
  • Text magnification allows students to enlarge text and the reading strip helps tracking
The technology has built in tools for assessment and evaluation. YES
  • Use built-in alignments, levels and differentiation
  • Automatic grading and view assessment data
  • Integration available through Clever Library and Google Classroom 
  • Students can see their progress and results as they move through each book
  • Data sets prepared for teachers on an individual and a class level
The technology can be adapted to all K-12 learners.  YES
  • Access more than 5000 high-quality texts
  • Texts available in fiction, non fiction, and prose for K-12 learners and adults.
The technology accommodates neurodiversity. YES
  • Build students’ knowledge through listening-level comprehension with Article-A-Day, while helping them practice decoding with meaningful, continuous nonfiction texts.
  • Webinars are available to help teachers understand how to use Readworks for neurodiversity
    • Differentiation through content
    • Differentiation through supports
    • Hybrid and remote learning
  • Teachers can create groups of students based on similar educational learning goals
The technology is used for higher order thinking skills as well as innovative and creative problem solving.   YES
  • Increase reading stamina with Article-A-Day
  • Deeper Dive Book Studies excite students with engaging topics related to the books.
  • Challenge texts available at K through 12.
The technology helps to provide evidence that students have met the learning outcomes.  YES
  • Knowledge Book Studies build deep knowledge around key content
  • Theme Book Studies inspire thematic reflection and discussions
  • Support core curricula with Book Studies
The technology is reliable and cost effective.  YES
  • Non profit run organization
  • Membership is free for educators and students
  • Free professional development sessions are available to support teachers personally or at a school level.
The technology is user friendly for the instructor and problem solving support is available.  YES
  • There are a variety of teacher support pages available with free webinars that walk a new teacher through the process of using ReadWorks;
    • How to use ReadWorks
    • Understanding the use of the variety of tools available such as articles a day, vocabulary lessons, decoding, paired texts, and word detectives.
  • Provided suggested models to run a reading program for new teachers but it is flexible to meet the needs of the teacher or classroom.

 

Teaching Philosophy – Assignment #1

Teaching Philosophy

First, I believe education needs to be holistic, inclusive, diverse, and will continue throughout one’s lifetime. Next, all children can and do learn when presented with a nurturing environment that is safe and able to meet their needs academically, socially, and emotionally. Finally, students need to develop a growth mindset where they set goals, reflect, and actively participate in their education.

Teaching Perspectives Inventory

Nurturing was highlighted as the primary indicator after taking the Teacher Perspectives Inventory (TPI) (Pratt et al., 2000). I see a strong correlation between the values in the nurturing category and my teaching philosophy. For example, in my classroom, I encourage mistakes as I want to change their thinking from being fixed to a growth mindset, where mistakes are necessary to help us learn and grow. Next, I believe in differentiating materials, processes, and scaffolding learning to meet student abilities, as they are all individuals. Finally, I regularly set realistic, individualized goals with my students to ensure they are part of their learning process. This practice helps to establish a mutual, transparent relationship rooted in trust and support for both the teacher and the student (Pratt, D. et al., 2002). 

Theory of Teaching – Bates

The theory of teaching that stands out to me is constructivist. My teaching philosophy resonates with the following ideas from Bates:  

  1. “Each individual is unique,” thus constructing their own body of knowledge (p 54). 
  2. “Reality is always tentative and dynamic,” so we need to prepare students to be successful in a future that does not exist (p 54). 
  3. Learning is a “Complex and multifaceted” process that can grow out of “personal reflection” (p 54). 

The impact this theory has had on my approach to teaching is significant. For example, I set my room up in groups for easy and regular discussion opportunities. I employ a journaling technique where students regularly ask questions and reflect on their learning. I have students set individual goals that match their learning goals, which I guide them through by creating individualized plans. However, I also hold myself personally to this theory as I continue to learn and grow in my practice, evolving with the ever-changing world. 

Content Knowledge – Shulman

According to the article by Shulman, the three primary knowledge domains for teachers are content, pedagogical, and curricular knowledge (p 9). First, I can see the importance of teachers having content knowledge because “The teacher need not only to understand that something is so; the teacher must further understand why it is so” (Shulman, 1986, p 9). Without content knowledge, teachers would not be familiar with their subject matter and thus unable to guide student understanding. In addition, curricular knowledge allows teachers to draw on a variety of teaching tools in which to “present or exemplify particular content and remediate or evaluate the adequacy of student accomplishments” (Shulman, 1986, p 10). Various tools allow teachers to match the intent of their delivery with the expected learning outcomes for students. However, my teaching philosophy is most closely aligned with the importance of pedagogical knowledge as I believe a “teacher must have at hand a veritable armamentarium of alternative forms of representation (Shulman, 1986, p 9). It is essential to reach children of diverse needs, cultures, and abilities and provide individual learning opportunities, as all children deserve a rich educational experience. This belief is my primary responsibility as a teacher and is core to my ideology.

Indigenization

To impact my curriculum with Indigenization, first, I  must recognize the identity with which I approach the curriculum. I am a Canadian-born, white, Catholic, British, heterosexual woman from a middle to upper socioeconomic class who has lived in various locations in Canada. With this understanding, next, I must strive to honor and transform my relationship with this land’s traditional people as we move toward reconciliation. This is vital because Indigenization is the combination of Western and Indigenous knowledge systems with the intent to benefit all students, teachers, and the community (Antoine et al., 2018, p 6). Only through Indigenization can there be a rebalance in power in Canada and a return of dignity to First Nation, Metis, and Inuit culture. But how will this be achieved? It will not only be one Act, one press conference, or one apology. Indigenization will take years of action to implement and make real, effective, and honest changes, starting with community development, planning and coordination, mechanisms for funding, support for people, support for workers, and support for families. Canada needs to be ready to let go of its power, authority, and implicit biases toward the First Nation people and embrace a pure state of empathy about what happened, why it happened, who did it, and how the residual effects of colonialism are still present today. 

Reference

Alberta Education.  (2003). Social Studies Program of Studies. 

https://education.alberta.ca/social-studies-k-6/programs-of-study/ 

Antoine, A., Mason, R., Mason, R., Palahicky, S. & Rodriguez de France, C. (2018). 

Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationcurriculumdevelopers/ 

Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and 

learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates.

French, J. (2021). CBC News: Indigenous leaders, elder feel used by Alberta government 

tactics to bolster new curriculum. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/indigenous-leaders-elder-feel-used-by-alberta-government-tactics-to-bolster-new-curriculum-1.6033499 

Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2000). The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). Adult 

Education Research Conference. https://newprairiepress.org/aerc/2000/papers/68

Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2002). Summary of 5 Perspectives on Good Teaching. 

https://blogs.ubc.ca/srikanth/files/2011/12/TPI-Teaching-Perspectives-Summaries.pdf 

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. 

Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14. https://doi.org/10.2307/1175860

EDDL 5111 – Week 3 – Blog #3 – TPI

          While completing the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI), I reflected on my role as a post-secondary instructor in the Educational Assistant Certificate Program. In this role, the scope of my classes includes:

  • Teaching positive communication strategies
  • Exploring a variety of physical and emotional supports and strategies for students
  • Developing a deep understanding of neurodevelopmental support

          Upon reflection, it is apparent how Nurturing (Pratt et al., 2000) was highlighted as the primary indicator, as my focus in these classes is to not only teach the objectives but to model the ideals in these classes for future educational assistants. In addition, typically, many students in our program have experienced difficulties in their past school environments, and they come into the program feeling apprehensive about their academic abilities. As an instructor, I understand these students need to participate in a nurturing ‘climate of caring and trust’ (Pratt et al., 2002) to feel they can be successful at the post-secondary level. This climate is crucial to building their self-esteem and confidence as learners and practitioners who will move into a classroom setting and support students in need.  

          Regarding technology, I use various tools and strategies so the students can add them to their teaching toolboxes ‘making these applicable in real-world situations (Tondeur et al., 2017, p. 564) once they enter their future classrooms. For example, I record and post all class lectures for students to review after class. This process is helpful for students with a learning disability or students who English is not their first language and need to spend more time with the concepts. Next, I give the students a choice in their representation format to show their understanding of concepts. Furthermore, during class discussions, students will be assigned sections of a website/video to explore and discuss in a group to communicate findings with the class. This process highlights my core beliefs of creating a student-centered classroom built on constructivist ideologies (Tondeur et al., 2017, p. 557) where social constructivists believe that discussion and social interactions, allow students to learn and grow (Bates, 2015, p. 54).

          I love the quote, “There is no one best way to teach that will fit all circumstances’ (Bates, 2015, P43), and this inventory highlighted that there is also no best way to learn. We must remember that our students are all unique, and our responsibility as educators is to provide various learning opportunities. In this way, technology can be invaluable for us and our students.

References

Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates.

Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2000). The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). Adult Education Research Conference. https://newprairiepress.org/aerc/2000/papers/68

Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2002). Summary of 5 Perspectives on Good Teaching. https://blogs.ubc.ca/srikanth/files/2011/12/TPI-Teaching-Perspectives-Summaries.pdf 

Tondeur, J., Braak, J., Ertmer, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2017). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and technology use in education: a systematic review of qualitative evidence. Educational Technology Research & Development, 65(3), 555–575. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1007/s11423-016-9481-2

EDDL 5111 – Week 2 – Blog #2 Congruence

Thinking back to my education in the 80s, I can not recall ever being told what we were learning or why. School was an institution one attended because one had to attend. The teachers provided students with subject-specific learning opportunities and, in most cases, assessed using a multiple-choice exam. Consequently, I did not find purpose in anything happening in school, and I was not engaged in the learning process because congruence was missing. I understood the importance of congruence in education only when I attended post-secondary education.

I attended a Designing Learning course in the second year of my Bachelor of Education degree. The course started with a discussion about the objectives with the course outline, which allowed all the students to understand the ‘big picture’ for their learning. Next, we created ‘I can statements’ for each objective we studied and then used backward design to create the assessment to match the objectives. These lessons demonstrated what was missing in my high school experience as a student: PURPOSE. If I had been more involved in understanding why I needed to learn the objectives or complete the activities, I would have been more invested in my education. This was a pivotal moment for my education as a student and as a future teacher.

EDDL 5111- Week 1- Blog #1- Reflection on Online Learning

The Course

For my reflection, I will discuss my role in teaching an online credit certificate course, The Role of the Educational Assistant, for Red Deer Polytechnic last spring. All courses in our Educational Assistant program are available in multiple formats for students, such as on-campus, online, or the students can choose a blended version by accessing a mixture of these courses.  

I would consider the course I taught to be a hybrid learning environment based on the definition in chapter 9, where ‘ online learning is combined with focused small group face-to-face interactions (Bates, 2003, p. 311) as the students were to attend a live class once a week and participate in small group discussions.  

Teaching Methods

This was my first online teaching experience at the college. My only other experience teaching online was connected with the lockdown from Covid-19 in 2020. My teaching style gravitates to the constructivist approach, where the instructor develops a learning environment so that the “students can grow and develop their learning (Bates,2003, p. 417), and as such, I was nervous about how interactive and rich this type of environment could be since I was inheriting a course that another instructor already constructed. Since the college offers the same courses on campus and online, there is a need to align content to ensure both objectives are being met at the same academic level. Consequently, there is much collaboration between the two instructors to develop assessments and activities that can be completed in either learning environment.  

Since the course was closely aligned with on-campus learning, there was a great deal of thought put into all the lessons, assignments, assessments, and activities to ensure a high degree of interactive learning available in the online environment. I particularly enjoyed that the courses were built intentionally as a flipped classroom where the students were given the materials to review with focus questions before the live classroom. The flipped classroom process allowed our class time to focus on diving deeper into the content, building richer conversations, and extending activities to enrich understanding.

Students

The students in attendance varied from people working in schools during the day, international students who had just arrived in Canada, to people who lived in remote areas of Alberta. All the students in attendance required flexibility in their learning to achieve their certificate due to their unique personal situations. The course was set up for one two-hour live class per week, which was also recorded in case they could not attend. The system created was a good match for student needs.

Resources

As an instructor, I can access technology tools like wifi, computers, headphones, cameras, microphones, Blackboard Collaborate, and Google. All of these resources allowed me a wide range of options for delivery methods and a variety of ways to enhance my online live lessons. However, our students are tasked with providing technology to access the course and assignments. At times, connectivity was an issue with students, inhibiting their ability to complete assignments or participate fully in discussions. 

References

Bates, A. and Poole, G. (2003) Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education: Foundations for Success San Francisco: Jossey-Bass