As we race toward the end of the semester, please take some time to reflect on the readings for our final unit (week 14). The articles by Parker Palmer and Dan Edelstein are especially relevant, and if you are only going to read two more things for this class, please, please, please let these be the pieces you choose. Think about how you will connect the dots from this course and your broader curriculum to become the “New Professional” Parker Palmer invokes here:
The word “professional” originally meant someone who makes a “profession of faith” in the midst of a disheartening world. That root meaning became diminished as the centuries rolled by, and today it has all but disappeared. “Professional” now means someone who possesses knowledge and techniques too esoteric for the laity to understand, whose education is proudly proclaimed to be “value free.”
The notion of a “new professional” revives the root meaning of the word. This person can say, “In the midst of the powerful force-field of institutional life, where so much conspires to compromise the core values of my work, I have found firm ground on which to stand—the ground of personal and professional identity and integrity—and from which I can call myself, my colleagues, and my profession back to our true mission.”
Thank you all for sharing this semester with me and for adjusting so graciously (and gracefully) to all of the flux. I look forward to reading your final set of posts.
Image CC by John Hain on Pixabay
Next week we will continue to explore inclusive pedagogy with a focus on the tenets of critical pedagogy and work of Paulo Freire. Before seminar, please read the Kincheloe article and go through Dr. Fowler’s PowerPoint slides (on Scholar) to familiarize yourself with Paulo Freire’s pedagogy. Many of you are likely familiar with the often-anthologized chapter two from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but please read or review that chapter as well as the selections from Pedagogy of Freedom, and come to class ready to talk about them – perhaps armed with a good nugget (or two). If at all possible, please also have a look at Freire’s video on curiosity and June Jordon’s Report from the Bahamas.
As usual you may post about whatever resonates with you.
Questions to keep in mind as you read and prepare for class next week:
- What does Freire’s approach to teaching and learning emphasize and why?
- How does Freire define dialogic engagement?
- What would a critical pedagogical praxis look like in your discipline?
- What is the difference, for Freire, between being an “authority” vs. being “authoritarian”?
- In what ways does June Jordan’s essay, “Report from the Bahamas,” broaden and complicate traditional assumptions about race, class, and gender? In what specific ways (and why) does she focus on bridging differences?
Image: Scott Robinson, “Freedom“
Next week we will examine contemporary diversity issues and think about how to use inclusive pedagogy in our classrooms. Just as our learning environments are complex, so are the individuals that comprise them. Everyone has visible as well as “invisible” cultural identities, and inclusive pedagogy attends to those differences. Inclusive pedagogy seeks to engage learners in ways that are inclusive and supports environments that are attentive to diversity. It also helps prepare students to contribute productively to an increasingly complex and globalized society by helping them develop a broader understanding of domestic and global diversity issues.
So, this is a big project. And an important one. Some of us have already thought about and worked extensively in this area, some of us are just dipping our toes in, and many of us are somewhere in between. This is ok. In fact, it’s even a plus.
To prepare for seminar next week, please read the required texts.* Start with the two short selections (on the Hidden Brain and diversity in the workplace). The selections by Claude Steele and the article on Brave Spaces / Safe Spaces are longer, but you need to read them and come to class ready to talk about them and work closely with the texts. (This means you will want to be able to access whatever version of the texts you read during class next week.) As usual, you may blog about whatever resonates most with you.
*If you want more of a deep dive or are already familiar with these texts, please explore the supplemental materials on Scholar. If there are items you think we should know about, please tweet them out to #gedivt
This week you have a great opportunity to explore your teaching style and approach. What kind of a teacher are you? How would you like to teach? Please consult the readings for next week — they range considerably in tone and intent, and then tell us about your “authentic teaching self.”
Image: Marthy Dubrowsky, “Block of the Month Block”
CC 2.0: Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike
Many of the posts about assessment this week circled around issues of incentive and motivation (external vs. internal), as well as the various merits and drawbacks of traditional evaluation schemes and regimes. I’m sure we’ll delve much more deeply into the issue of “Outcomes Based Education” (OBE) and the changing ABET standards this evening, and am excited about what that discussion has in store.
Regardless where we end up — and it’s important to remember that reasonable people can see things differently, and that there is no “one size fits all” solution, just revisiting some of the practices and premises we take for granted will benefit our teaching praxis going forward.
Most people do agree that imagination is an essential component of motivation, and next week is all about firing up the imagination for digital learners. We will discuss the film “New Learners for the 21st Century” in class next week. For your posts, please read the remaining materials and write about whatever issue (or set of issues) resonates with you the most. This should be an interesting session, and I am eager to read what you have to say.
Image: Geranium, Wave (Public Domain)
Our topic for this week is “Assessment.” Donna Riley of VT’s Department of Engineering Education will be visiting class to discuss her ongoing work with ABET standards, so please make sure you’ve read her draft paper, “We Assess What We Value” before class.
I’m planning to have us watch one of the Dan Pink videos posted on the Schedule this evening, but if stuff happens and we don’t get there, you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with Pink’s perspective before proceeding further. (Choose between the 11 minute animated version and the 18′ 30″ TED Talk). Then read “The Case Against Grades” (Alfie Kohn) and “Imagination First” (Liu and Noppe-Brandon). If you get to Lombardi’s piece on “The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning,” that would be great.
You may post about whatever issue (or set of issues) raised in these materials resonates with you the most. We know from the discussions we have already had that assessment is a complicated topic and that we have complicated (and sometimes contradictory) ideas about how it works (in general and in our particular field.) This should be an interesting session, and I am eager to read what you have to say.
One more cool thing: We’ll be exploring a relatively new web annotation tool called Hypothes.is over the next few weeks. To get us started, I’m posting some questions and annotations on some of the readings. The links are below. If you want to respond and play with the tool yourself, that would be great. Just follow the directions on the Hypothes.is site.
Donna Riley: https://via.hypothes.is/http://amynelson.net/gedis16/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/WeAssessWhatWeValue-Submitted-DRAFT.pdf
Alfie Kohn: https://via.hypothes.is/http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/
Marilyn Lombardi: https://via.hypothes.is/https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3019.pdf
Image: Public Domain
Once again, everything is on the table as long as it engages the readings for next week and /or the topic of mindfulness in teaching and learning. You might want to respond to the readings in the context of Sir Ken Robinson’s video and discussion we shared this evening. You might want to reflect on your current understanding of pedagogy — connected or otherwise — knowing that this might change.
(This part is back by popular demand): You might want to dive more deeply into some of the material in the first unit of the Connected Courses cmooc, Why We Need a Why. (If you’re interested in how I managed that prompt check this out.) Whatever approach you take, know that it will be fine, and that your colleagues will be attentive, interested readers.
Image: Play-Child-Sidewalk-Chalk by Chraecker
Dear GEDI’s! I write this in great anticipation of meeting you all in person this evening. I am eager to get to know you and to begin a journey of self-discovery, reflection, and collaborative inquiry that will take us not just through the end of the semester, but, if we do it right, far far beyond (perhaps to a galaxy far, far away….).
Once we’ve made introductions and worked through the logistical details, we will talk a bit about connected learning and how we will use the network in this course. After all of that, I hope the following will give you some guidance and inspiration as you set up your blog and formulate your first post:
Blogging guidelines for week one:
Everything is on the table as long as it engages the readings for next week and /or the topic of connected learning. You might want to respond to the readings in the context of the videos and discussion we shared this evening. Here are those links:
What is Connected Learning
Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Academics
Connected Learning: The Power of Making Learning Relevant
You might want to reflect on your current understanding of pedagogy — connected or otherwise — knowing that this might change. You might want to dive more deeply into some of the material in the first unit of the Connected Courses cmooc, Why We Need a Why. (If you’re interested in how I managed that prompt check this out.) Whatever approach you take, know that it will be fine, and that your colleagues will be attentive, interested readers.