|Image from http://www.pixteller.com/img/275549|
Goals for Teaching
The following are all quotations from the research brief and first chapter that resonated with me about what I hope to provide in my teaching. By no means do I think I do all of these things yet/well/effectively/all the time, but I hope I'm working towards them, reminding myself that like research, good teaching "is never 'done' but is an ongoing quest" (Lattimer, 2014, p. 13).
- "Instruction is most successful when teachers engage their students in thinking, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and interacting in discipline-specific ways, where literacies and content are not seen as opposites but rather as mutually supportive and inextricably linked" (Lattimer, 2014, p. xii).
- We need to "ensure that they [students] can critically respond to, critique, evaluate, and investigate that information or independently access new information that might complement or contradict the official knowledge presented in their textbooks" (Lattimer, 2014, p. 3).
- For me as a history/social studies teacher, students should be "expected to revisit historical documents and interpretations with new questions to generate new learnings that have relevance to our understanding of both past and present. ... [and] to learn to question, read critically, suspend judgment, consider and effectively communicate new interpretations, and 'cultivate puzzlement' (Wineburg, 2001)" (Lattimer, 2014, p. 3-4).
- "We must provide students with rich, inquiry-oriented learning experiences and teach them how to learn. We must explicitly nurture habits of mind that will allow students to adapt literacy practices in response to evolving contexts, technologies, and disciplines" (Lattimer, 2014, p. 4).
A Daunting but Necessary Challenge
After giving the overview of the two case studies in the first chapter, Lattimer (2014) writes, "Even if you're convinced that these five curricular concepts... hold promise for student success, you may still find the reach of the work in the Innovations Academy classroom a bit daunting" (p. 16). YES! I was both incredibly inspired and overwhelmed as I read that example. I loved everything about it, but kept asking myself, "How did she do this?" How did she connect with the experts? How did she figure out the community need for such a project? How can I do something similar when my content is focused on ancient world history and early US history? How much time did this take? How did they have the resources to get students to a university library, to have video editing and animations, to converse with local professors and experts? The project seemed amazing, but I felt a bit at a loss for how I could actually implement something similar.
However, despite my intimidation, I recognize that this is necessary. I need to find more ways to involve the community, to make my content directly linked to current issues and questions, and to give students real audiences for their work. This is what my students need, and this is what I need to think more seriously about over the summer. I can't wait to see what else the book has to offer and, more importantly, to engage in continued conversations and brainstorm sessions with everyone online and in the EMWP to figure out how I can work on this.
In short, this first chapter helped me keep in mind that, "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Desmond Tutu is credited with saying this, and it is a comforting reminder that even in the depths of a challenging school year - and challenging world events, there is hope in creating a better, more thoughtful future.