Learning Manifesto

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Transcript for Learning Manifesto

Introduction
This presentation introduces and defines my philosophy of teaching, defines the role of the teacher and student, presents emerging issues related to digital learning and leading, presents a problem and possible solution in education, and finally, concludes the presentation with a brief statement and references used throughout.

About Me
Hello, my name is Isaura Herrera. I am a second-year first grade bilingual teacher in a self-contained classroom in a Title I elementary school. I am also a graduate student in the Master’s of Education in Digital Learning and Leading program at Lamar University.

My Philosophy of Teaching
When I began my first specialized course at Lone Star College, “Intro to Teaching,” I wrote an essay explaining my philosophy of teaching. My response elaborated on a traditional approach where the teacher taught and the students learned. I imagined myself being at the front center of the classroom and my students at their desks in rows and columns. Then, during my first professional development semester at the University of Houston-Downtown, I again, was asked to state my philosophy of teaching. I said, “Lev Vygotsky teaches us to be constructivists. He teaches us to teach students by allowing them to learn by doing. We must allow our students to have meaningful learning experiences in the classroom” (Ozer, 2004). Of course, by then, I had already completed courses that taught me what teaching truly was and what it involved. To this day I still believe that. But now and again, my philosophy of teaching has changed. Today, my philosophy of teaching involves an approach that prepares students for the real world.

My Philosophy of Teaching Defined
In order for students to be prepared for the real world, they have to be taught skills that will be used in the real world. First, they have to be taught what those skills are and understand what they mean. Second, they have to learn to apply those skills to the curricular content that is being taught. In other words, they must learn to problem-solve through real-world applications. As mentioned in Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy’s “A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning” (2014), the six C’s are the skills students need to develop and master in order to be successful in the real world. The six C’s are character education, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, and creativity and imagination. Fullan and Langworthy further explain that learning has to be “restructured.” They state that restructured learning activities involve the explicit development of students’ capacities to learn, create and proactively implement their learning in real world situations (2014, p. 22). My philosophy of teaching is implementing meaningful learning experiences that combine content, the six C’s, and real-world application through the use of technology and other 21st century resources.

The Role of the Teacher
Before the implementation of meaningful learning experiences, there must be a “learning partnership” (Fullan & Langworthy, 2014, p. 10). This relationship between the teacher and the student should be “built on principles of equity, transparency, reciprocal accountability and mutual benefit” (p. 12). They must also be “co-learners with kids, expert[s] at asking great, open-ended questions and modeling the learning process required to answer those questions” (p. 14). And finally, the teacher should act as an “activator.” Fullan and Langworthy define a teacher as an activator as someone who plays a dynamic, interactive role with students— “pushing students to clearly define their own learning goals, helping them gain the learning muscle to effectively pursue those goals, and supporting them in monitoring how they are doing in achieving those goals…” (p. 20).

The Role of the Student
According to Fullan and Langworthy, “[l]earning to learn, where students become meta-cognitive observers of their own and others’ learning processes, is a fundamental goal…” (2014, p. 17). The goal is not only to master the content knowledge; it is to master the learning process where it requires them to define their own learning goals and success criteria, monitor their own learning, critically examine their own work, incorporate feedback from others and “use all this to deepen their awareness of how they function in the learning process.”

Emerging Issues Related to Digital Learning and Leading: The Role of the School and District
Developing simulations and/or animations through the use of technology is considered a “high level” of use of technology according to Fullan and Langworthy (2014). Unfortunately, the Innovative Teaching and Learning Research project shows how “teachers across seven countries report on…” three percent of that type of usage (p. 31). Thirty-six percent report using technology for “finding information on the internet”—this is considered a “basic use” of technology according to that same publication. I believe this to be one of many issues that schools face when implementing technology in their classrooms. Although my school has desktops, laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, and SMART Boards, we are having difficulty using that technology in a way that is meaningful based on developmentally appropriate practices and higher level order thinking skills. Similar to everyone else, we are dealing with the same issues of how to implement technology efficiently and effectively to produce real-world ready citizens. Within this issue, schools and districts are also in need of providing extensive professional development to teachers. Being able to use Microsoft Word is not considered being technologically advanced anymore. Without the support of our schools and districts, we have nothing.

What is wrong with education and how can the world fix it?
What’s wrong with education is that the content that students are expected to master is not consistent nationwide. Each state has their own standards. How are we expected to compete globally if we have not solved our own issues at home? One way to fix this issue is by outlining a common core curriculum that all states are required to implement in their public schools.

Conclusion
My philosophy of teaching involves an approach that prepares students for the real world. It is implementing meaningful learning experiences that combine content, the six C’s, and real-world application through the use of technology and other 21st century resources. In order for this to function, there must be a “learning partnership” where the teacher and student have specific roles to play.

References
Fullan, Michael & Langworthy, M. (2014, January). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find
Deep Learning. Retrieved on April 27, 2016 from http://www.michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/3897.Rich_Seam_web.pdf

Ozer, Ozgur. (2004, October). CONSTRUCTIVISM in Piaget and Vygotsky. Retrieved on June
12, 2016 from http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/CONSTRUCTIVISM-in-Piaget-and-Vygotsky

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