Chapter 1 Study QuestionShould educators be following academic theories? What could be the possible alternative relationships with academic theories? From my experiences going through my first year of graduate school, it appears educators put a lot of emphasis on academic theories, actually too much emphasis on them. I think they are too broad and cannot adequately explain the workings of human beings. They can be too rigid and structured and often miss the boat when serving children. I think every student should be viewed through an individual lens, not a “macro perspective” as the book mentions (Inoue, p. 18). I think the best way to incorporate academic theories is to use several theories when creating a lesson. Use different types of theories and ways to teach in order to meet the needs of all students.
Chapter 2 Study QuestionHow could you approach your students to learn about how they perceive their homework and learning activities? What holds the key to making it successful? I love talking to my students as people/friends. I love learning about things they are involved with, people who influence them, things in which they are interested. I want to try the use of a survey to get to know the subjects my students like the best and their preferred ways of learning about them. Students are so often given exams that a nice, friendly “About Me” survey is a good mind break for them. I will use their feedback in helping me design my lessons. Also, just sitting down with them at lunch or different times during the day to learn more about them are great ways to find out how they perceive school and homework. Students are so willing to share their opinions about everything so it’s very easy to get information from them. The key(s) in making learning activities successful are for them to stimulating, meaningful, purposeful, and creative. Often, educators get into a habit of doing the same thing everyday of the year. They teach the same lesson year after year without ever updating it. Times are changing so quickly and to keep students excited about learning, we have to continually change up, add or remove parts, and improve lessons. I do believe students (especially the younger ones) need structure but not working from the same math video series, or Daily Literacy Review journal, etc. The use of current music, popular figures, and current events really help engage students. We have to be inventive and stay current because we are in competition with so many other devices that demand the student’s attention.
Chapter 1 Study QuestionCan you state any of your personal theories that function to guide your educational practices? Could you name the personal theories?I choose this study question because I thought the this section on personal theories was very interesting and some thing I could completely relate to. As a teacher, I find myself constantly coming up with my own theories based on my students and using these theories as reasoning behind my teaching practices and ideas. A couple theories come to mind when I think of my personal theories. I have a theory that students should always placed in heterogenius groups. I think this is the best way to prepare students for the real world. In the real world, people are not separated by ability. People of different abilities and skill levels must work together to accomplish things. I have an analogy to the freeway. On the freeway, the lanes are not categorized by driving abilities. Everyone on the freeway is different leveled drivers but we all must work together to share the road. I will call this my Heterogenius Grouping Theory. Another theory I have is that teachers that get to know students as individuals and provide a classroom environment where the students feel comfortable, will have higher preforming students. I will call this theory High Performance Theory.
Chapter 1: What would be the best method to reflect on your personal theories? How could it be done to benefit your educational practice?I think the best way to reflect upon one’s own personal theories is to have exposure or an open discussion with someone of a differing viewpoints and theories. Last semester I took the “Struggles for Educational Equity” course at USD. After reading the articles each week we would discuss our philosophies and viewpoints about the readings. And each week I left the classroom reflecting upon my own ill-conceived assumptions, beliefs, or theories because each discussion unveiled varying degrees of agreement or disagreement that had never occurred to me. Because our personal theories aren’t based on scientific data or research, but our own experiences and emotions, they are subject to change. It’s almost like we create a personal theory based on one group or experience. Let’s call it group A, but then when encounter group B or C or D and so on, our personal theory adapts to be able to generalize for all the groups, not just the original group A. As we develop more experiences, especially in the educational field, we need to constantly reflect upon our own theories and whether they are still relevant or need modifications.
Ch 1. What would be the best method to reflect upon your personal theories? How could it be done to benefit your educational practice?One way I have found to reflect on my own personal theories, has been reading this chapter in Mirrors of the Mind. I think teachers could reflect on their personal theories just as they reflect on their lessons they teach. I think a great first step in reflecting on personal theories is to name and write down a few of your personal theories you have. Personally I like to keep lists and a journal of notes when teaching. Ultimately reflecting on personal theories can help you see aspects you have faced as an educator. Once you reflect on your personal theories you can have a better understanding of how you may emotionally react to situations. Since our personal theories are grounded in our experiences and jikkan the need to reflect on these is crucial in determining if they are still relevant or needing any revisions.
What kizuki have you experienced in your personal life? What changes did it bring about, and how did it happen?I have had many kizuki or “ah-ha moments” in my life, but personal and professional. It is because of these experiences that I am choosing to reflect on this question.In my professional life, my biggest kizuki came not when I was becoming an educator, but when I was an accountant. At the end of each workday I would not feel proud of what I had accomplished or like I had made a positive contribution to society. On Bring Your Child to Work Day I was able to work with the children and teach them fun lessons about the life of an accountant. It was this day, working with the kids and being able to brighten their day, while feeling mine was spent doing something I loved because they brightened mine., that I realized I needed to become a teacher. It only took one month from there to get my ducks in a row to begin to journey to becoming a teacher. I haven’t second-guessed my decision once.
STUDY QUESTION: Should educators be following academic theories? What could be the possible alternative relationships with academic theories? While some teachers believe that “educational practices should be always in line with what ‘literature’ says” (Inoue, 2012, p. 13), I think that teachers should be guided by theories rather than strictly adhere to them. Even though teachers shouldn’t blindly follow theories, I do think that they have merit in the classroom. For example, last semester I observed a community college-level ESL classroom, and the students seemed to be the most excited about learning when the teacher utilized aspects of Piaget’s theory of intellectual development. The teacher frequently tried to ground new material in the students’ prior experiences, and the adult English language learners were highly engaged when they learned new vocabulary and concepts that related to their lives.However, I agree with Kristi’s comment that theories can sometimes be “too rigid and structured.” As teachers, we work with individuals who deal with a variety of “social and psychological factors” (Inoue, 2012, p. 13) that cannot always be explained by theories. Additionally, a theory that can be successfully applied to one group of students might have little to no merit when used in a different classroom. Overall, I think educators can benefit from following our textbook’s approach to theories: “Academic theories can give you new perspectives and guide you on improving your practices. However, you do not have to be loyal to them or to the theorists who created them” (Inoue, 2012, p. 15). I think that I can use academic theories to grow as a teacher, but I need to develop my own personal theories in order to truly become an effective educator.
A little late, but here goes! I'm doing my best to plug in where I can. Should educators be following academic theories? What could be the possible alternative relationships with academic theories?I believe educators should know theories (academic and otherwise), but be willing to exercise sound judgment whenever necessary to serve the needs of the student in front of them, even when it means operating outside the theories. It is this way in writing as well -- a good writer can break the rules of grammar, for example, but he or she should know the rules, so that they can be broken intentionally, and for good reason; i.e., a reason that serves the writing and ultimately the reader.I believe the best educators are familiar with educational theories and models, yet are able to maintain a certain openness and flexibility. This openness and flexibility is necessary in order to build the trust necessary for learning to take place. It's the old thing of, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Corny, but true!