Pushing Forward for Change

Source: http://www.excella.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ChangeDefined-1024x874.jpgLately, I find myself preoccupied with the idea of change.  It is all around us and happens whether we are ready and willing to embrace it… or not quite yet.  Most often, we go on with the ‘new’ and in time embrace the change anyway.  In my teaching, I like change! I am always trying something new whether it be with my lesson design, use of technology, or assessment and evaluation practices. I believe this is key to remaining an engaging and dynamic educator.  

This year, my teaching & learning focus is around how I can improve the role of reflection and feedback in the student learning process.  I am open with my students about this as opportunity for change.  Together, we talk about and then try new strategies for engaging in the process of thinking about their thinking.  It is an exciting opportunity for growth and change in their mindset on learning.  And yet, sometimes it is a bit of a bumpy path on the road to change.

For me, one of the the most challenging parts of teaching senior classes is seen in their  ever-changing outlook on the learning experience (in the big picture).  With university on the horizon, the drive for marks can easily overshadow the desire to learn more about how one learns.  I get it! Marks are the key to post-secondary admissions.  But, what happens next year if students don’t have enough knowledge of their own learning strengths as well as an understanding of their own skills that require further development?   This is a troubling thought for me!  I truly want my students to engage in questioning and wondering about how their skills and effort on a learning task contributes to their overall success, measured in so many other ways than just a final mark.

Source: http://www.traintocampaign.london/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/change-4-1imepyc.jpg The student ‘push back’ around the purpose and methods of reflecting throughout the learning process is an ongoing challenge for me, with students identifying time constraints and questioning the value of the process amidst a fulsome academic program.  The ‘push back’ around meaningful reflection at the end of a project or assignment is a little less as students are growing to understand it as an opportunity to add their comments and process details into the evaluation process.  

It is safe to say that since this topic continues to be at the forefront of my personal reflection around teaching & learning, this is my opportunity to tackle it head on!   

My action plan will focus on how I can engage students in their outlook on meaningful reflection so that they can experience the value of this practice
as part of their overall learning journey.

I look forward to hearing about your experiences with infusing meaningful reflection into your teaching and learning program, at the subject/ course level, or on a larger school wide basis.  What does pushing forward through the push back look like to you?

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2 comments to “Pushing Forward for Change”
  1. Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your thoughts! I agree that reflection is where we can gather the evidence of what our students are learning — about themselves and their skills as well as fostering an ability to self-identify areas of growth and next steps.

    We’ve started in the direction of a paired down version of SLC’s with our middle school for this spring and we are going to pilot peer-to-peer sharing of digital portfolios in the senior school. I look forward to seeing where this takes us as a learning community.

    Looking forward to catching up on Friday too!

  2. I love this plan! I think that reflection is where the magic of learning takes place – hence our blogs! I think it’s important to make time for it but I think it also works into showing evidence of learning which can factor in the Product Observation and Conversation. Making Ss aware of their learning and how their can represent it or reflect on their learning speak to their metacognition which is so important!

    I like this article about Student-led conferences – perhaps it could help with the reflection at the end of the project? Can you add reflective times throughout the project?

    Can’t wait to catch up on Friday!

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