What Will You Be Reading, Studying, Writing, Doing This Summer?
Here Is My Plan . . .
Eric Jensen, in Education Week Teacher, wrote, “Strong teachers don’t teach content; Google has content. Strong teaching connects learning in ways that inspire kids to learn more and strive for greatness.”
This summer I want to improve my teaching strength! I want to continue to grow as an educator so that I can inspire my students to learn more and strive for greatness.
When children can relate their learning to prior experience and knowledge, learn through their strengths, and access appropriate content through effective strategies, they are inspired and motivated to learn more and strive for greatness. I have written previously about my passion for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CPR) and this summer, between trips to the beach, revisions of my lesson and unit plans, and walks with my children, I plan to continue to explore topics that support CRP and expand my knowledge and ability to practice through its lens.
At its core, CRP is validating, comprehensive, empowering, and transformative. During this summer I plan to spend time researching the transformative powers of CRP in particular. Banks (1991) asserts that being transformative involves helping “students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action” (p. 131). How can we as teachers develop transformative lessons, activities and assessments?
A good place to start is by actively engaging in summer learning. Below are resources that I plan to study and analyze. I hope that you will join me on my journey!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi – The Danger of a Single Story
In her TED talk “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi warns that “if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” Think about your own curriculum. Do you teach from multiple perspectives or from a single perspective? Imagine if other cultures read Tom Sawyer and that was their only impression of American life. Perhaps even if we think about a more modern work of literature or nonfiction text, the reader would still be misinformed.
Consider what you can add or substract from your content and curriculum to ensure you are teaching from multiple perspectives. If we want our students to be engaged, then we need to be sure we are providing them with fair and unbiased education that is also reflective of their own selves and communities as well as to a broader and unbiased world view.
Sugata Mitra – School in the Clouds
Although I’ve previously written about Sugata Mitra and his School in the Clouds, I find him to be one of today’s most inspiring educators and never tire of his message. He is designing a school in the clouds where students can explore and learn from each other. Children are intrinsically curious, and he designs education in a way that taps into that curiosity and empowers students to be the drivers of their own learning. I hope to begin including SOLE learning into my teaching practice.
MOOCS – Massive Open Online Courses
Have you ever taken a massive open online course? MOOCS are an excellent way to access free and quality education that you can master at your own pace. You can start with Stanford Univeristy’s course Open Knowledge: Changing the Global Course of Learning. The course promises to not only introduce you to the concept of online open learning, “It will (also) challenge you to take control of your own learning, to determine your own personal learning objectives, to contribute to the development of the curriculum, to reflect on your progress, to learn new digital skills, and to take a leadership role in the virtual classroom.”
You can then follow up your passion for MOOCS with Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Tasks for the Common Core. Catapult Learning offers a suite of services to assist you in your development of Performance Tasks as well as your Common Core implementation. Moving from traditional assessment to authentic and meaningful performance tasks is a key action for a transformative and culturally responsive educator.
LITERATURE AND BLOGS
Edutopia from the George Lucas Education Foundation is by far my favorite education blog. Edutopia offers brief and concise articles that cover practical application of current theories and pedagogies. They are “…dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process through innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives.
Strategies and Lessons for Culturally Responsive Teaching by Roselle Kline Chartock offers over 40 interdisciplinary and classroom tested strategies grounded in theories developed by CRP researchers.
Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey takes a different approach. Cowhey combines humor and personal stories to discuss, What would a classroom look like if understanding and respecting differences in race, culture, beliefs, and opinions were at its heart?”
In Young Citizens of the World, authors Marilynne Boyle-Baise and Jack Zevin “…lay out a three-part process for civic preparation that prepares students to understand their world and their place as citizens in it.”
I will most likely start and end my research at my own employer! Catapult Learning offers a myriad of professional development resources. The Catapult Learning Blog is a great place to start! Here are some of my favorite past and present posts that support CRP: Teacher efficacy is a critical component of CRP. Check out Allowing Ourselves to Learn by Dr. Andrew Ordover and Why We Need Deep Learning for Teachers by Diane Rymer. Catapult Learning offers a suite of products and services including free webinars, services and products that sustain excellence in a step by step process, teacher training services and so much more. Take some time to explore our website this summer.
What will you be reading, studying, writing, doing this summer?