As part of my Masters of Education program Innovation in Teaching and Learning the most recent task was to develop a Philosophy of Practice. Whereas a Philosophy of Education may be deemed more theoretical and idea driven, the notion of practice implies that action will take place. Reflecting on pedagogy matters.
Specifically, my philosophy of practice speaks to my ability to recognize that learning is not merely about assessment but rather the ability for learners to understand how they learn and the importance of personalization. This speaks to my own experience with learning. For me, learning takes place once I am able to make a strict connection between myself and content, while also being able to autonomously build upon prior experience and shape new learning through a self-directed context. Thus, learning is not dependent on a singular figure like a teacher but rather is continuous.
Learning is a living organism – growing and taking on a life of its own.
In regards to the experience of reflection within my current Masters of Education course, I have worked to challenge Gr. 9 STEAM students to reflect on who they are as learners and their relationship with learning.
How do these students know they are learning beyond the context of an assessment?
What does real learning look like?
In my work supporting STEAM programming at my school, I have developed and moderate a New Resume Portfolio Camp. This camp, provides Gr. 9 students with an intentional opportunity to explore the importance of positive digital citizenship, while recognizing that their ability to share their reflective voice via electronic portfolios and social media profiles is a mode to build academic and social capital. As such, through this camp students are exposed to cross-curricular digital skills (graphic design, video production etc.) which allows for them to curate a digital brand and show learning in enriched ways.
In regards to social media, the students not only design a student learning portfolio but leverage Twitter to create and sustain a professional student learning network – sharing work and reflective voice with the goal to shape opportunities for feedback and to connect with like minded individuals.
It’s within this context that students initiated their Twitter sharing with an exploration of learning. This reflection grew from small group work that allowed students to share in dialogue about what learning looks like, their experience with learning and their ideas of what learning could be moving forward in their high school life. This is all very important within the the STEAM milieu at the “A” is very much about effective communication. The students ability to share and show their “why” is pressing.
With all of this, the experience with the students over the past two weeks reinforced my learning within Innovation in Teaching and Learning course. Understanding the relationship between teaching and learning drives innovative practice. As such, as teachers we must provide students with an intentional opportunity to reflect. In this case, pausing and giving student the chance to write and share their voice is innovation.
Sometimes innovation is just something simple like a pause. Pause is needed to understand who we are and where we want to go.