EDU 6363: Reflective Thinking

As John Carroll states “without sufficient time for reflection, what is taught is not internalized or connected to other learning (Scheuerman, 2014). Many times, students are not given the opportunity to reflect upon their activities throughout the day. Sometimes the issue is due to the lack of time or the teacher’s preference not to do so. Whatever the reason, the opportunity for reflection should not be disregarded. Drake and Burns (2004) state, “that students learn best when the material is relevant to them (p. 53). How can we build this relevance within our students? One way is by giving students the opportunity to reflect. Reflection on how the lesson connects with other subjects or our own personal lives. This connection which students are making will help deepen their knowledge and understanding of whatever is being taught and learned.

Allowing the opportunity for students to reflect upon a lesson does not guarantee that the student will internalize or connect the lesson to other subjects. Teachers must create an engaging lesson that will excite their students, causing them to want to learn more. Teachers need to use a variety of teaching strategies to meet the diverse learning needs of each individual student (Drake and Burns, 2004, p. 58). One way this can be achieved is through various visual organization tools. Students can utilize circle diagrams, multi-flow maps, or bubble maps in order to organize and make sense of the information. These tools also provides component for those individuals who may learn better visually. When a lesson has many dimensions or aspects to it that will cater towards the diverse needs of students, incorporating a reflection will help students to be able to connect with information at a much better level.

References

Drake, S.M., & Burns, R.C. (2004). Meeting standards through integrated curriculum. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Scheuerman, R. (2014, January 29). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 4: Reflective Thinking and Language Arts Standards

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Reflection 2: American Education History

This is my first reflection posting for EDU 6120. This represents the starting point of my growth and development of knowledge of the history of American Education.

I have learned much in the realm of American education because of my studies in EDU 6120 American education: past & present.  I can now confidently say that my personal knowledge of American education goes as far back as the first inhabitants of our continent. My mindset prior was that education has to coexist with classroom but this is obviously not the case. Native Americans taught their children skills of hunting, agriculture, and gathering. In addition life skills/lessons were taught and passed down through storytelling (Urban & Wagner, 2009). Both are examples occurring outside of a classroom and because they require the process of acquiring new knowledge, each would constitute as education.  Furthermore I have learned about the many critical thinkers who contributed to American education. For example John Locke and Tabula Rasa – because of this, teachers formed recitation. Thomas Jefferson believing that all should have the opportunity for an education. The McGuffey Reader which is one of the first textbooks – lessons with foundation of moral beliefs (Urban & Wagner, 2009). This is just to name a few examples of how my knowledge has grown and I now have a better understanding of the events which took place before the civil rights movement.

The notions of Brown vs. Board of Education and the Coleman Report of 1966 were major events and well known in civil rights movements especially in the realm of equal education. What I did not know was that the fight for equal education has been occurring since the first schools were established. During the reconstruction era (1865-1869), the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill was created to provide support for freed slaves and displayed whites. The government believed that through education equality would be gained. Many issues in education have been observed previously in some way or another – some instances like equal education may have taken longer to overcome or to improve. This is very useful information because it is critical to understand where our education has been in the past in order to prevent similar issues from reemerging and to learn from the trials and tribulations.

Previously, I thought I knew more about current American education but that was definitively not the case. Prior to the class I had never heard of America 2000, A Nation at Risk, or McCleary v. Washington State. Additionally, I had heard of Head Start but knew nothing specific about the program. Head Start was not just an education program, but focused on the children’s developing intellectually, socially, and physically (Urban & Wagner, 2009). Head Start is to provide education, health, nutrition, and parent services to the low-income children and their family. Head Start is an instrumental program that is still used effective today. These examples are all newer efforts to improve American education, which I am knowledgeable about. In summary, I have learned a great deal about American education in the past and in the present and now have a more defined foundational base which will support my efforts in becoming a teacher.

Urban, W.J., & Wagoner, J.L. (2009). American education a history. New York: Routledge.

Cultural Competence

I really enjoyed taking the Sue and Sue cultural competence evaluation as it was a valuable experience in seeing my own progression in becoming a culturally competent educator.  The notion Sue and Sue has on the issue of becoming culturally competent incorporates four major components: awareness, knowledge, skills, and advocacy. Through the evaluation I was able to gain insight on what my strengths are as well as areas which will need continued improvement. Nevertheless, it is always important to remember that areas of strength should not be overlooked; all areas will need continuous work in order to become culturally competent. Sue and Sue states that cultural competence is “active, developmental, an ongoing process and is aspirational rather than achieved”. It is not a passive process and will require continuous effort in order to support the diverse student population. In becoming more culturally competent, I am better equipped to be effective with all students.

I view myself as being aware and sensitive to my cultural background and in valuing and respecting differences with other cultures. I am respectful of those differences and feel very comfortable around those who may view things differently than me. This respect and comfort level is because of the effort I put forward to view others as individuals. Likewise, it is a personal goal of mine to move past the stereotypes and biases I have instilled, as I know these assumptions are misguided. Many times it may be unintentional – this is why it is so important to be more aware that this thought process is even occurring. In order to promote growth, I will incorporate the traditions, values, and opinions of different cultures to gain knowledge. I will become more aware and respectful of how mine and my student’s culture may affect learning in the classroom.

I feel that my knowledge of cultural competence has improved the drastically in the past year. This is largely due to taking the course diversity in America, which has created me to become more actively involved in understanding diverse populations. The Isik-Ercan (2010) article emphasizes the importance of parent involvement and the knowledge which can be gained. Knowledge doesn’t just involved reading about a culture, but must be done actively. This can be achieved by reaching out to students and parents so that a better understanding may occur. I would like to continue to study and learn about various cultures in order to better equip me as a teacher.

Skills of cultural competence possess the ability to practice appropriate, relevant, and sensitive strategies and skills in working with diverse students. This is especially important in adapting my own teaching styles to fit with how a student may or may not learn. One student may respond to a particular teaching style more effectively than another. Thus, it is crucial to be knowledgeable and comfortable in implanting and teaching through various styles and methods. Growth in skills of cultural competence can be developed through the consultation with others, participation in professional development, and the willingness to seek help when needed. I know I will be relying on my colleagues when I begin teaching when limitations may occur. Furthermore, I will utilize professional development opportunities to further develop my skills.

My weakest area is in advocacy, mainly due to the fact that I have little experience leading a classroom. Many of the issues I have not encountered yet and for this reason most of my advocacy answers were “never” done. I hope to be an advocate for racial issues not just pertaining to myself – but to advocate whenever any racial situations occur. Additionally, I would like to advocate and take action on issues of cultural relevant curriculum and the identification of bias materials. Finally, I hope to have opportunities to actively engage my students in conversation of race and social issues. Simple conversation can help support individuals point of views to be expressed and understood. This in turn will create a safe environment where students are aware, knowledgeable, and respectful of those differences. Many times issues of race, social class, or gender arise because of a misunderstanding. Actively advocating on behalf of the needs of my students will create a culture of respect and equity.

The development of my cultural competence is an ongoing process that is not achieved but a goal to aspire towards. This process must be actively done, seeking the best measures to better understand students. I hope to continue and develop my cultural competence in all four areas of awareness, knowledge, skill, and advocacy.

Isik-Ercan, Z. (2010). Looking at school from the house window: Learning from turkish-american parents’ experience with early elementary education in the United States. Early Childhood Education, 38, 133-142.

My Personal MCE Manifesto

According to Banks (1996) multicultural education has five interrelated dimensions: content integration, knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture and social structure (pp. 336-338). I feel that these five dimensions are strong foundational pieces in creating my personal MCE manifesto.

Content Integration:

  • I will use examples and content from diverse ethnic and cultural groups.
  • I will use culturally relevant curriculum and material that reflects my students’ racial backgrounds.
  • Furthermore, using a diverse curriculum will allow for the opportunity to view ideas, history, and social relations in new perspectives.
  • I will recognize that learning is strongly influenced by cultural background. I will utilize their background in the learning process. This is to establish a connection between the curriculum and the students own experiences.

Knowledge Construction Process:

  • I will teach transformative knowledge. In order to help students understand how knowledge is constructed and how the creators experiences, values, and perspectives are reflected. I will also use multiple perspectives to portray the viewpoints of various cultures.
  • I will help my students construct their own knowledge and point of view. This will be achieved through cooperative learning, discussions, and problem solving.
  • I will promote and maintain high standards and expectations regardless of ethnic, cultural, or language background.

Prejudice Reduction:

  • I will be aware of my own bias and how it may affect my opinions, perspectives, and most importantly how I communicate or interact with my students.
  • I will identify and dispel the stereotypes and biases used by the students. In addition, I will recognize the stereotypes within lectures and/or textbooks.

Equity Pedagogy:

  • I will modify my teaching to equally adapt to the needs of my diverse classroom in order to facilitate academic achievement.
  • I will create a culturally compatible learning environment for each student.
  • I will respects the students for who they truly are – where they came from, what they wear, or how they look like will not affect my teaching.

Empowering School Culture and Social Structure:

  • I will promote and encourage equity for all students. This is not limited to within the classroom, but throughout the school as well.
  • I will create a safe and comfortable learning environment, where students are able to culturally express themselves without any fears.
  • I will empower students to be confident and proud of their cultural heritage and to not be ashamed in showing it.

Banks, J. A. (1996). Transformative knowledge, curriculum, reform, and action. In J.A. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action (pp. 335-348). New York, NY: Teacher College Press.

American Education: Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 was to prohibit the discrimination based upon gender or blindness from any educational institution or activities receiving federal money. Title IX was added as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in 1972. Title IX (1972) is most famously known for closing the funding gap between men’s and women’s sports in colleges and universities. It is interesting to note that the original statute of Title IX made no explicit mention of sports, yet this is what Title IX is commonly associated with. The historical context in which Title IX was enacted is based upon the Women’s civil rights movement to abolish discriminatory treatment based on sex in order to close the gender gap.

Probably the most substantial thing I learned from Title IX (1972) was the statement mentioning no individual due to blindness or visual impairment could be denied to any course of study admission. In addition, I too only associated Title IX with athletics and never took the time to think about the implications it may have had on other educational activities. It was interesting to see all the areas where there is an exception to the ruling of Title IX (1972). I never affiliated many of the activities to even fall under Title IX’s jurisdictions. For example, girl scouts or boy scouts being in the exception Title IX (1972) has upon voluntary youth service organizations.

Title IX (1972) has been instrumental in closing the gender gap especially in education. This is evident today, as there is no longer a gender gap between men and women completing college. In addition, Title IX has also supported the efforts to increase the number of women administrators in the schools (Urban & Wagner, 2009). However, despite the efforts, women are still under-represented in administrative roles. In the scheme of things, Title IX has helped the education reform in the shaping of educational equality.

Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, 20 U.S.C. sections 1681 – 1688 (1972).

Urban, W.J., & Wagoner, J.L. (2009). American education a history. New York: Routledge.

Teachers and Faith

The article which I choose to read was Teachers and Faith written by Jonathan Eckert (2011). This article interested me because faith is a very important aspect of my life and I felt like I would relate well with this article. The primary focus of the article was on the issue of public schools being an appropriate place for “teachers of faith who respect the legal and ethical boundaries of this open forum” (Eckert, 2011, p.23). The article supports the claim of a teacher’s faith being important in public schools. This is because good teaching comes from identity and integrity, and teachers are responsible for teaching knowledge, skills, and developing character (Eckert, 2011). Many times resulting from one’s faith is the identity and integrity seen with teachers. Eckert (2011) demonstrates this claim with four examples of faith impacting the way people teach. The examples demonstrate passion and commitment derived from beliefs, not serving out of obligation or recognition but because of a calling (Eckert, 2011). Additionally, Eckert (2011) emphasizes that faith does not necessarily mean a strong teacher, however the calling to teach can be a powerful influence upon teachers. Ultimately the articles main focus is on the issue of faith being an important aspect in teaching even in public schools.

Eckert (2011) suggest many implications between the article topic of faith and teaching and learning. Teaching is of both intellectual and moral practice. Effective teaching expands students’ knowledge, insights, and interests in order to deepen their way of thinking and feeling (Eckert, 2011). This will allow teachers and students to pursue knowledge and truth, therefore replacing misconceptions with understandings. For this to be achieved teachers must move beyond informational transaction of content (Eckert, 2011). Furthermore, Eckert (2011) states that perseverance, diligence, and courage are all dispositions that are ultimately derived from faith. These implications can relate to the four dimensions of character: intellectual, moral, civic, and performance (Eckert, 2011) where faith is positively affecting each. As for aspects relating with students – Eckert (2011) notes that public schools must be a place where religion and religious convictions are to be treated with fairness and respect. This is especially important in creating a safe learning environment where students feel comfortable.  These implications are the focal point of Eckert’s (2011) article on teachers and faith in regards with teaching and learning.

Eckert, J. (2011). Teachers and faith. Kappan, 94(4), 20-23.

bPortfolio, Principles of HOPE, and WAC 181

The relationship between the Principles of HOPE and WAC181 are very similar in that each is a set of standards regarding effective teaching and professional development in our teacher preparation program. The WAC181 is an approval standard of knowledge and skill. This encompasses effective teaching by using various criteria such as adapting standardized curricula for the diverse needs of each student or using technology effectively. It also includes the professional development through reflective, collaborative, and professional practices. Finally, it demonstrates teaching as a profession and performance assessments approved by the professional educator standards board. HOPE focuses on a set of categories of competency outlined in WAC181. HOPE asks educators to honor student diversity, offer an organized and challenging curriculum, practice effective teaching, and exemplify service to the teaching profession. The bPortfolio will document my learning and development as I demonstrate competency in the standards of WAC181 and the Principles of HOPE.

The bPortfolio is where the standards of WAC181 and the principles of HOPE can be demonstrated through my own blog posts. This is an efficient way to reflect and show the knowledge and skills developed through my readings, assignments, and experiences. More specifically, the blog posts will incorporate the reflection of my development as a teacher, teacher or student artifacts demonstrating competency, and reflective assignments. All postings will be aligned in some way with the Principles of Hope and the standards of WAC181. In addition the bPortfolio allows me to organize in such a way that makes entries easily identifiable while maintaining a professional appearance. Through my bPortfolio I am able to emphasize on the Principles of HOPE and WAC181 to show my competence on teaching knowledge and skills.