All semester we have been reading about new ways to think, new ways to frame, new ways to reflect, new contexts to consider, new issues to contemplate in order to better approach our teaching as a reflective practice. Lilia Bartolome (1999) suggests that in order to improve the teaching and learning in our classrooms, we need to get beyond the “methods fetish” and instead, “shift our perspective” to look to the social and cultural contexts in which we teach. She argues that
“…a necessary first step in reevaluating the failure or success of particular instructional methods used with subordinate students calls for a shift in perspective — a shift from a narrow and mechanistic view of instruction to one that is broader in scope and takes into consideration the sociohistorical and political dimension of education…” (176)
Per her charge, our course has taken a largely theoretical approach, pushing us to have conversations about how we see teaching, learning, our students and ourselves.
For the final project in SED 561, I want you to make theory into practice.
OPTION #1: CURRICULUM
Create something new/revise something old. (De)design a new lesson, unit, or curricula of some kind that reflects the work we have done this semester. You can use the Rethinking Schools website (or any other resources you find) for ideas if you want, or create something from scratch. Be true to your content area, and design something that takes into account the issues of privilege, power and difference we have discussed this term. Or revisit something that you know you could do better now that you know what you know.
OPTION #2: PEDAGOGY
Reimagine the WAY you plan, prep, organize, connect, evaluate, discipline, assess. This option is about the HOW, rather than the WHAT. Write up a new action plan that explains what you used to do, what you plan to do differently, and why drawing from our course texts and discussions.
OPTION #3: PRACTICE
Teach others about what we have learned. Create a PD for colleagues that helps them take the things we have learned this semester into their own classrooms. Be specific and focused in this option — no one can learn everything in an hour so be selective and what the share and how.
OPTION #4: REFLECTION
Look inward. Write about who you are as a teacher and how the things we have read this semester influence how you think about who you are and who you want to be as a teacher. Think of this as a Teaching Philosophy, or a Statement of Pedagogy.
OPTION #5: ANYTHING ELSE
Show me what you know. Use any format you want to take our course material and make it real for you and your students.
In all of these options, I want you to be able to demonstrate the following:
⇒ Knowledge of and fluency in at least 4 of our course texts
⇒ Gestures to as many other texts as you can muster
⇒ Self reflection (lots of “I” voice”)
⇒ Connections to your day to day teaching life
You can demonstrate these core tenets of our course in a reflective writing piece that accompanies your project or in the text of the project itself. Feel free to use multimedia options (powerpoint, video, blog, photographs, or other creative designs) as you pull together your ideas. I really hope that you can find a way to approach this so that it does not feel like busy work for me, but instead is cumulative, reflective work for you to get something concrete out of this seminar. Make it real for you.
You will also be presenting this work in the form of a Pecha Kucha on the last week of class. Details to follow.