I would like to think that most educators, regardless of the age of their students, strive to accommodate the varying needs of their students. Reflecting on my own practice as a high school math and physics teacher, I reckon that although I combine community-centred, knowledge-centred and assessment centred strategies, I heavily favour knowledge-centred. In senior math and physics, students must have a strong knowledge base prior to engaging in critical thinking processes. Without that base, numerical confidence is non-existent and misconceptions, typically laced with anxiety, runs rampant through a learner’s work. It actually does matter HOW work is presented. Logically presenting one’s reasoning is a skill that is not “Googled”—it is demonstrated, rehearsed, critiqued and rehearsed some more.
And yes, my students interact with each other via their class blog, via Google Classroom and face-to-face collaboration, whiteboard practice. We complete labs and projects, collaboratively and individually. Assessment is varied, although I still believe in unit tests and final exams (to the horror of some folks, admittedly). Ultimately, for myself, I am huge fan of hybrid approaches to learning that combines old school with new school techniques. Everything I do, may not tap into everyone’s most efficient learning style, but hopefully, I will touch on something for everyone.
To my colleagues, I always maintain that it is important to be one’s authentic self, to stay “fresh” with your practice (in whatever way that looks like for you) and to enjoy what you are doing. If we are enjoying it, it is pretty much guaranteed that our students aren’t either. To suggest there is but one way for learning to effectively transpire is equivalent to saying that there’s only one way to prepare shrimp.
This week’s reading was “Towards a Theory of Online Learning” by Terry Anderson