H1 – Honor Student Diversity

H1 – Honor student diversity and development. Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt learner centered curricula that engage students in a variety of culturally responsive, developmentally, and age appropriate strategies. This means that the teacher is planning for students needs based on experience or historical understanding of students. The teacher is adjusting lessons to engage students at an appropriate level to maximize understanding based on experience and student culture. One of my moral obligations as a teacher is to encourage students to go to college and help students realize avenues for achieving college, such as funding and support. Outside of the school environment, I associate with the College Success Foundation, a Washington State Organization which is aimed at helping students who would not traditionally attend college, find ways of pursuing higher education. The school where I work has an ethnic population of about 42% (Washington State Report Card, 2014). While working with these students, as a former scholar of the College Success Foundation and my learning of their contributions to divers populations, I can speak with students about the contributions of this organization and help students learn about options for higher education. This includes work with students who are undocumented United States Residents. For these students in particular, college is a challenging and scary path to pursue because many barriers block these students from higher education.

CSFlogoThis year, I have talked with all of my classes about my experiences as a College Success Foundation Scholar and the experiences I have received working with a diverse community. While sharing of experience for higher education is not formal instruction, many of these students are planning for higher education and need an experienced person to help them through the process. As a current college student, I have a lot of relevant knowledge that can directly help students.

Currently, I am reading a book called Teaching as Inquiry by Weinbaum et al. (2004), where in one vignette, a middle school english teacher is discussing how to encourage students to find a love for reading. She models her love of reading to the students by sharing the recent books she has read and shares a brief synopsis of the book she is about to read. This teacher is encouraging behaviors by modeling those behaviors in her own classroom. I am impacting students of diverse cultures by modeling what a good college student looks like, and sharing my experiences with an organization which caters to first generation, undocumented, foster and low income students who are interested in pursuing higher education.

I would like to implement more direct culturally sensitive material within my classroom, but haven’t had a good opportunity yet because of the current curriculum track we are using. When writing assessments (yes, my mentor teacher and I collaborate to write context based questions) I am sure to review the context of those questions to ensure we are not discriminating against a student who doesn’t understand the context of the question. For example, in order to introduce a question about golf and using words on an assessment such as “tee,” “fairway” or “green,” students need to be introduced to this before the assessment to ensure fair testing conditions for all students.

Source:

Washington State Report Card. (2014). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=3601&reportLevel=School&year=2013-14

Weinbaum, A. (Ed.). (2004). Teaching as inquiry: Asking hard questions to improve practice and student achievement (Vol. 30). Teachers College Press.

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Learners in Context Post-Course Meta-Reflection

[1] The Learners in Context course focused on two principals of HOPE, E1 — Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice and H1 — Honor student diversity and development. The standard E1 means that teachers are adopting best professional practices based on research and tested to maximize student learning. The H1 standard means that teachers are able to recognize that students are different and have very unique needs. Taking these differences into account, teachers are strategically thinking about their practices to improve student development.

[3] During the course I learned about the importance of exploration for students during their learning process. Medina (2008) talks about his learning growing up and his mother’s willingness to adapt to Medina’s changing needs as he explored his interests. Teachers must show willingness to adapt to students interests and work to encourage learning, not inhibit exploration through standardized testing. [2] Jamie Gephart is a student in our class and responded to a discussion post about incorporating exploration into learning while recognizing the requirement of testing, she writes

I had a teacher in high school that referred to his tests as a “celebration of knowledge”.  I know that may sound cheesy, but this subtle twist helped to relieve some of the pressure.  And in reality, shouldn’t this be the purpose of an exam?  Students have worked hard to understand and incorporate this new knowledge.  What if teachers presented exams more like game day, as an opportunity to show off all the hard work and practice they have endured? (Gephart, 2014)

[5] This matches the standard of H1 since it encourages student development through an effective way of allowing exploration and a creative way to test students without hindering natural curiosity. [4] From exploring and engaging in this discussion post, I learned that when students change their frame of reference from the testing frame to the game day frame their anxiety is drastically decreased and students can demonstrate their true knowledge. I have not needed to use these tools because I have been fortunate not to suffer from text anxiety, hover some students are not as fortunate. [6] In my classroom, I will try to frame tests as demonstrations of learning rather than a ritualized practice used to assign grades and create a classroom hierarchy.

Another point of learning from this course was Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the use of scaffolding to guide students’ learning (Pressley and McCormick, 2007). [1] This aligns with HOPE standard E1 since Vygotsky has conducted significant research on human development and learning. [2] These two pictures from Pressley and McCormick (2007) have been incredibly beneficial to my understanding of the ZPD and how good educators should teach students to maximize learning.

Module 5 did not facilitate much discussion about the ZPD as much as the book or classZone of Proximal Development lectures, however, the concept was impactful. [3] The ZPD is an essential tool for teachers to know where students are located in the curriculum, the process of scaffolding provides an essential tool for teachers to implement and practice providing work to students which is in their ZPD. [4] Prior to this reading, I did not know how to best implement challenging material, Vygotsky’s research has explained the precise level of challenge to present to students. I learned a lot about scaffolding and how to present challenging material and provide a guide to full understanding by providing many resources to students. [5] Students benefit the most when teachers practice these techniques. By scaffolding lessons of Scaffoldingchallenging materials, students receive adequate help and can feel successful in their work while also learning. [6] Practicing using ZPD and scaffolding in my classroom will not be challenging, in fact this will be an essential tool. I will use to explain complex materials, especially during my internship while working with exceptional students and provide support to students where the content falls beyond their ZPD. Finding the balance between too challenging and not challenging enough will take the most amount of practice.

Sources:

Gephard, Jamie. (2014, July 9). Module 3 Discussion Forum A-G. BlackBoard Discussion Post. (Web).

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Pressley, M., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

M6 Reflection: Social and Cultural Influences

H1 – “To demonstrate a positive impact on student learning, teacher candidates honor student diversity and development.” (Seattle Pacific University). This standard implies that each student has a unique set of personal and developmental differences where teachers can use recent and relevant research to positively impact student learning.

Students, Parents and Stress discussion post

Stress is a relevant and very real part of students lives. The impact of such stress has adverse effects on brain development and learning (Medina, 2008). Educators should use research based strategies to be aware of student stress and learn how to assist students in maximizing learning potential. The following screenshot is taken from a class discussion board which demonstrates my understanding of research showing stressful home live and the impact on student development within the classroom. In this piece of evidence, I discuss how creating an inclusive classroom community can negate some of the harmful effects induced by stress. This is relevant to the H1 program standard since unique home experiences can directly impact student learning and educators should address the effects of developmental challenges students face, even when they are beyond the control of the teacher.

In writing this post and discussing the impact on student experience, I made new connections with the importance of creating a classroom community to help students overcome stress from outside the classroom. When students have a safe classroom environment, even with uncontrollable stress, students can continue to learn and develop in content areas. Awareness of student stress and getting to know students can positively impact student learning. In my classroom, I will create a learner friendly environment to foster learning. Additionally, I will use best practices to engage my students with multi sensory lessons (Medina, 2008). By increasing engagement in learning, no matter the situation, students will learn more (Borich, 2014). Classroom communities and sensory integration in learning all provide opportunities for students to engage in the content and increases learning. There are many other social issues classroom teachers have the opportunity to impact. Using research based strategies to impact the community will positively influence student development.

Sources:

Borich, G. D. (2014). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education, Inc.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Seattle Pacific University (n.d.). HOPE Standards. Seattle Pacific University School of Education. (Accessed Aug. 2, 2014).

M4 Reflection: Cognitive Development to Assist Student Learning

H1 – Honor student diversity and development. To me, this standard means that teachers should be studying current and relevant research articles which pertain to educational development and work to apply the findings within the classroom. Modern educators have the duty to use cognitive research surrounding student learning in their classrooms. After reading “Brain Rules,” (Medina, 2008) chapters about short and long term memory, researches have clarified many tools educators can use to help student retain information. Medina states that sadly “People usually forget 90 percent of what they learn in a class within 30 days”(p. 100, 2008). Many classmates have suggested tools for helping students remember, two stands out in particular. First, using cumulative tests and quizzes encourages students to revisit old ideas. According to Medina (2008, pp.147), “The way to make long-term memories more reliable is to incorporate new information gradually and repeat it in timed intervals.” Other class suggestions for repeating information was incorporating games in class as review at the end of a unit (Benton, 2014).

Another cognitive development strategy which can foster learning in the classroom is constructivism teaching. With constructivism, teachers build upon older ideas, this too requires students to rehearse old concepts for long term memory storage. Particularly in math, where content continually builds onto itself, constructivism provides teachers the opportunity to remind students about how their old knowledge can apply to a new situation. Prompting and coaching can be assistive for this teaching strategy in which students develop critical thinking skills consistent with their own perceptions of information. This does not imply teacher provide answers, but rather give students resources to direct their learning. Students can learn to adapt their current schematic understanding of math concepts and adjust their thinking of new information when teachers construct learning to build upon itself.

Constructivism Evidence

Teaching methods assist educators in implementing these cognitive skills into the classroom. Students can review concepts through words-, quote-, person-of the day, suggested by Antje Brewer (2014) when supported by rich class discussions. Additionally, providing students with opportunities to explore, though class projects can encourage curious learners similar to that of Medina’s explorations through his childhood (2008, pp. 272). Using many strategies to encourage cognitive development helps educators teach their students through proven, research based discoveries of cognitive development.

 

Sources:

Benton, Alex. (2014, July 17). Teaching Strategies to Help Encoding & Consolidation. BlackBoard Discussion Post. Module 3. (Web)

Brewer, Antje. (2014, July 16). Teaching Strategies to Help Encoding & Consolidation. BlackBoard Discussion Post. Module 4. (Web)

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Pre-Course Student Development Reflection

Psychologists provide some insight to understand the development of humans. Educators can take advantage of psychological research by analyzing how human development impacts student’s learning. Through my undergraduate psychology courses I have learned about several developmental influences on students and humans in general. In this reflection, I will focus on three which I am most familiar with, they include schema theory, types of memories and the Atkinson-Shiffrin modal model of memory.

First, through my introductory Psychology course, I learned about schema theory (Riordan, 2014). This theory claims that ideas and theories are formed by an individual’s experiences and then are adjusted when new information is presented. For example, children develop a theory, If i pull this string, the attached toy will follow. Other things that have string like qualities (such as the tail of a cat) could also be pulled with the hopes of the cat moving in the desired direction. However, the child may soon learn that the cat does not like their tail being pulled in a direction and may hiss or scratch at the child. New schema was then developed for the child. They have learned that string like objects will only move in my direction if they are not alive. Schema based learning can be extended to a secondary classroom when students learn about topics over a long period of time. They will need to continually add new concepts to their pool of current knowledge and develop a more rounded view of the topics.

Next, in a cognitive psychology course (Hyman, 2014), I learned about the various forms of memory systems and techniques. With many classroom demonstrations,  we covered the distinct differences between semantic and episodic. In class, we discussed how students tend to remember episodic experiences better than semantic knowledge. Because the human brain prefers events over pure knowledge, we are inherently better at retaining knowledge based in concrete examples rather than intangible ideas or feelings. (Hyman, 2014) Relating this back to teaching, students are more likely to remember an event that was engaging rather than a concept read and memorized for exam purposes. Helping students create episodic memories in the classroom can help increase their understanding and development in subject content.

Finally, the Atkinson-Shiffrin modal model of memory (1968) prescribes and outline of how humans interpret events and store them in their memories. Human’s use their senses (e.g. sight, sound, touch, smell) to intake new memories in the sensory memory. Then, some, but not all, information from the sensory memory is transferred to the short term memory store. Within the next few seconds, our brains transition the short term memory into the long term memory where information is stored indefinitely. Many arguments surround the retrieval of long term memories or the validity of this model, but that is outside the scope of this topic. One agreed upon element is rehearsal increases the ability to retrieve information (Atkinson-Shiffrin 1968). Rehearsal in the classroom can come in many forms, testing encourages rehearsal to increase the ability to retrieve information in a stressful situation. Additionally, simply reviewing ideas within a classroom can help student dedicate the semantic knowledge into their long term memory for easy retrieval. While this ideas of the modal model sound complex, the process is surprisingly natural for humans. (Hyman, 2014)

Developing understanding for how the brain is able to acquire new information in the form of memory helps educators understand how to best assist students. In line with the HOPE standards, by better understanding how humans learn, educators can honor student diversity and development (H1) as well as provide efficient access to content material to encourage subject understanding (H2).