Well it seems to me that the concept of “The Disciplined Mind” parallels pretty closely with constructivism and SLT as both have to do with acquiring knowledge/skills. Further, to achieve the “The Disciplined Mind” there has to be some interest on the part of the learner. For example in my world, the world of drama, students who are not interested in performing arts can succeed on course work and pass the course with an A. But for some, they’ll really enjoy the work and will really want to go the extra mile to acquire the discipline above and beyond course requirements for simply passing. That all said, it’s important that I provide learning experiences that accommodate those who just want to get through it, as well as those who are really engaged with it and want to take it to the next level. I’ve always tried to do this anyway because many of the students in my class are there because the class they really wanted was full and they need to fulfill their VAPA requirement to go on to a UC or CSU and I’ve always needed to provide an authentic experience for both sets of students, concurrently. I do this within my paradigm in a few ways. First, I always have a sort of next level of work. That is, I provide parameters for a project, but include ways to go above and beyond that for extra credit and I include clarification of that in my explanations which are generally written, video recorded and verbalized and posted for their reference in Google classroom.
I have developed to incorporate 1) student constructivist engagement with content first be becoming aware of constructivist theory in general, but also by trusting my instinct to give students as many choices and options in lessons and units as I possibly can. I remember when I was a student in 7-12 and I always engaged so much more authentically when I was able to make choices and I want my students to engage as much as possible. That’s also why I’m so liberal on late submissions – my priority is for them to do the work, not to get wrapped in deadlines etc. Of course, I understand that learning to work with parameters such as deadlines is important, it’s not as important, at this stage of their lives, as grasping and mastering content. I’ve also developed to incorporate 2) student constructivist engagement with peers through experimentation with peer critiquing and collaboration. The latter of those is a huge part of who I am anyway because I’m in dramatic arts field and as a director I’ve learned that collaboration is everything! As for peer critiquing I was a bit nervous at first, but I learned that with a provided framework and modeling, it’s a very powerful and very effective tool! Developing to improve student engagement (overall) with the electronically mediated environment by slowly embracing and incorporating technology in my practice is perhaps the most notable benefit I’ve gained from this program and from being forced in virtual learning. I’m still no expert and I’m still learning new things, but with each passing day I’m feeling more and more competent and willing to try new technology with my students. I’ve already begun to use Canvas to host a threaded conversation with my Drama 2 kiddypoos. I’m only using it, so far, for that purpose but again, as I continue to use it I’ll continue to grow comfortable with it and will use it more. I’m excited and grateful that this program is affording me the opportunity to grow in this way and expand the opportunities and learning I can offer my students. Finally, I see myself in the second of Cuban’s scenarios, the “preservationist” scenario both before this program and now. I really don’t see that changing because it’s the one that is open to any and all tools available being utilized. Hillary Clinton said about raising children that “it takes a village”, well for best practice teaching and learning it takes variety of tools and I’ll not ever stray from that.
My experience designing and building my DEMO UNIT was pretty authentic! I figured it would be a breeze because I’ve done a similar unit in the past. But, once I really got into the meat of it and that paperwork of it, I started really thinking in a much deeper way than I have before. That plus all that I’ve learned thus far in this program, I think I created a pretty strong unit! It’ll be interesting to actually deliver it and see how that feels and works! I feel pretty excited about doing that and I’m looking forward to 629 where I’ll actually do that, so by the end of this program I’m gonna have an amazing unit ready to deliver! YAY!!! I for sure felt like I was doing the work of a 21st century teacher because I know so much more now about 21st Century learners! There’s pretty much no going back now – and really, why would I even want to? I didn’t have changes when I imagined a student going through the unit because I was pretty careful to consider that in the design in the first place. It didn’t make it to the paper until I had put myself in my learner’s shoes – like that would even be possible with my size 15 feet! LOL. But I did spend time with that before finalizing anything, so I was pretty good on that front. My experience with this project and this program in general has been transformative! The word “authentic” has a whole new meaning for me and it feels great by the way! I love teaching and learning and I just love the educator I’ve become! In some ways I’m doing what I’ve always done, BUT, I’m coming at it in a much more informed and knowledgeable way! I can back up/clarify/explain anything I design now because I have so much knowledge behind me. As for what more we could have done in this class to make it more authentic for me, very honestly, nothing! As the prompt states, short of going out and doing it, this experience has been incredibly rewarding and transformative, sometimes repetition is called for!