Saturday, February 21, 2009

Online Assignment #1 ~ Katy Lungren

In reading through our course text, I was struck by how it true it was in outlining my personal progression as a teacher. During my Novice Teacher phase as an intern, the primary areas of my professional growth centered on “using instructional strategies that make the learning meaningful and show positive impact on student learning” and “using appropriate classroom management principles, processes, and practices to foster a safe, positive, student-focused learning environment.” I continued to grow in these two areas during my Apprentice Teacher phase, but I also found myself focus on seeking out guidance to better “design and/or adapt challenging curriculum that is based on the diverse needs of each student.” I would not be so bold as to consider myself fully at standard in any of these criteria yet, but I have seen a substantial amount of growth and change in these areas over the past five years.

I am currently working through the Professional Teacher phase. Recognizing the shift in my own mentality, I do focus now much more on student growth and the learner’s behavior rather than largely focusing on my teaching methods and my own behavior. The three professional growth goals I have chosen for my Professional Growth Plans reflect this “paradigm shift,” as termed by Lasley (Steffy, Wolfe, Pasch, & Enz, 2000, p. 65). Rather than focusing on my behavior and my methods, the professional growth goals centered on assessment, family involvement, and the integration of instructional technology relate much more to student behavior and learning. As I begin to more consistently use “a variety of assessment strategies and data to monitor and improve instruction,” my students will become more informed about their own learning progress, and they will become actively involved in setting and developing their own goals. By “integrating technology into instruction and assessment,” my students will have more options when showing evidence of their learning, and they will become more adept global citizens. As I mature in “informing, involving, and collaborating with families and community members as partners in each student’s educational process,” my students will have a stronger support system at home and a more individualized plan in place to meet each of their learning needs at school. These three professional growth goals directly relate to student learning and behavior and will help me evolve from the Professional Teacher into the Expert Teacher.

I have high expectations for how my students will grow and change during my own professional growth. Primarily, I desire for them to become active participants in and managers of their own learning. I often feel that many of the students in my school only do what they are told; they sit and listen to a lesson, put forth the minimum effort required to complete an assignment, and move on complacently to the next activity. They are not intrinsically motivated to learn and think critically but rather do so because they are told. I want my students to feel in charge of their learning. I want my students to feel that they are well-informed about their own academic strengths as well as areas of difficulty. With this deeper knowledge of self, my students will set goals and make step-by-step plans to reach their own learning targets, will choose appropriate ways to show evidence of academic progress through traditional means and also through newer technology-based methods, and will regularly communicate with their families the ways in which they need more help or support and joy when they see themselves growing and developing as thinkers.

Working through these three goals will have a strong impact on my teaching and on the daily life in my classroom. I will be incorporating a wider range of assessment tools and strategies, and the students will become much more involved in keeping records of their progress. The scoring criteria or rubric for each major assignment and assessment will be shared with the students in advance to bring a deliberate focus on academic expectations rather than allow the students to believe that their grades are determined by my personal preferences or bias. My students will be setting goals and will reflect on their progress toward these goals weekly and monthly. After each time of reflection, the students will write a letter to their family and share the progress they have made and the areas where they need greater support. I will also be communicating regularly with the students’ families. To develop strong family partnerships, I will be communicating with every student’s family at least once a month, either by phone, in writing, by e-mail, or in person. To help myself stay organized and to ensure that I am in contact with every family each month, I will divide the class into four groups and concentrate on communication with one group per week each month. When speaking with families, I will always be sure to share some successes that I’ve seen in their child’s academics and one area where I would like to brainstorm together how best to help their child advance. In addition to increased communication with their families, the students will be spending more time exploring and learning how to use the technology available at our school. They will be given choices, when appropriate, of ways to demonstrate their learning progress through technology and will be encouraged to express themselves creatively. This will prepare my students to enter the high-tech workforce and the wired world. I am excited to see the developments in my students’ learning as we go through this growing process together.


Steffy, B. E., Wolfe, M. P., Pasch, S. H., & Enz, B., J. (2000). Life cycle of the career teacher. Thousand Oaks,
CA: Corwin Press, Inc.

2 comments:

Juli Rangel said...

View As Web Page

Hi Katy,

You wrote, "I desire for [my students] to become active participants in and managers of their own learning. I often feel that many of the students in my school only do what they are told; they sit and listen to a lesson, put forth the minimum effort required to complete an assignment, and move on complacently to the next activity. They are not intrinsically motivated to learn and think critically but rather do so because they are told. I want my students to feel in charge of their learning."

I identify with your desires and feelings, but I'm perplexed on how to address these issues. I want my students to feel motivated and in charge of their learning as well, but with the tremendous amount of state mandated grade level expectations, I find it hard to give my students more freedom. I fear we will get "behind" and not reach all the GLE's by year's end. I guess I have to start small. When working on certain learning objectives, I can give students different options on how to demonstrate their knowledge (i.e., written test, essay, oral presentation, movie or power point presentation, art project, etc...)

I look forward to having more discussions in this area and having a chance to brainstorm more solutions.

Thank you!

Juli Rangel

Rachel Bergere said...

Hi Katy,

I enjoyed reading your response. (Thanks for taking the plunge and being the first person to write!) I have also observed the shift within myself from apprentice teacher to professional teacher. I have especially noticed how I have become more "student-focused" in my current year of teaching and in my own choices for professional growth.

Your ideas for involving and collaborating with your students' families were fantastic. I like the idea of each student setting a goal and then writing to their parents about their progress. We have student-led conferences in the fall at my school. I have the students write goals and discuss them with their parents. However, I have not had the students follow-up with their parents on their progress towards these goals. I think your method would be an excellent way to further involve parents in their child's education. It also gives students a sense of ownership in their own learning goals. I also liked your ideas on breaking up students into groups when communicating with families. Regular communication with families can seem very overwhelming. I think your group method is definitely an efficient way to keep it manageable.

I wish you the best in your professional growth and goals!

Sincerely,
Rachel Bergere