Meta-Reflection: What Have I Learned?

I came into the Survey of Instructional Strategies course with past knowledge of popular teaching strategies but I did not realize how extensive these strategies could be. This course helped me to not only understand these approaches, but to be able to implement them in my classroom. The examples that we were provided with throughout this course gave me clearer vision on the best ways to use these tools with my students, meeting the standards of “E1-Exemplify professionally informed, growth-centered practice”. In our first module, we were asked to think about how to design instruction to meet the needs of all students. In the article, “Closing Opportunity Gaps in Washington’s Public Education System”, the authors write, “All students can succeed, but they need highly effective teachers, exemplary curriculum and materials, and appropriate academic and social support” (2010). These thoughts have stayed with me throughout this class because I feel that every piece of this quote is necessary to help students succeed.

In the beginning of the class we read through “Classroom Instruction that Works” and this gave me a chance to think about some of the strategies that were new to me as I considered how I could utilize them in the future. This was also a chance for me to look at strategies that I was already using and evaluate what changes could be made that would make them more effective. An example would be this LESSON PLAN Artifact where I implemented the strategy of “Non-linguistic Representations” and “Assigning Homework and Providing Practice”. In this lesson, the strategies were productive but as I reflect on what I now know I realize that I could have used these approaches to take the students deeper into their learning. The strategies are not meant to simply convey knowledge, they are rather a means to get students to evaluate, question and discover the content material in a manner that will stick with them. Concerning Nonlinguistic Representations, Dean et al (2012) states, “Imagery is expressed as mental pictures or physical sensations, such as smell, taste, touch, kinesthetic association, and sound” (p. 63).  In the future, I plan on using this short video about TROUBLESHOOTING TECHNOLOGY that I made as a Non-linguistic Representation to introduce students to problem solving with technological materials.

As we continued through each module in this course, we were given the opportunity to role-play the strategies that we were learning about. In MY VIDEO PROJECT, I learned a great deal about Cooperative Learning and discovered new ways to implement this strategy in future Video Production classes. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) state, “Cooperative learning is an approach to instruction that provides both the opportunity and the organization for balanced, successful, and satisfying group learning experiences” (p. 246). This is a fantastic approach that puts students in the driver’s seat rather than me with a white board. Bruner’s approach to teaching points the students to self-discovery of the content material. The author (1966) writes, “Discovery teaching involves not so much the process of leading students to discover what is ‘out there,’ but, rather, their discovering what is in their own heads” (p. 1). This is where I learned that teaching is not all up front; it is instead walking beside students and helping them discover the world around them.

I enjoyed the hands-on based approaches throughout this course because they work so well in my technology classes where students are constantly working with cameras, computers and software programs. Strategies such as Cooperative Learning, Concept Attainment, Advance Organizers and Role Playing all allow significant visual components to their implementation. An example of the Role Playing approach can be viewed in artifact 1 and 2 (see below) from a graphic design class that I taught. In this class, I had students create a personal business complete with a purpose, vision statement, and an extensive brand identity by using Office Word and Adobe Photoshop. Through the strategy of Role Playing, students were completely invested into the project because they got to play the role of a marketer in the business world.

As I reflect on my progress throughout this course, I realize that my approach to teaching has grown. I am not simply thinking about making a curriculum to meet the end goal of delivering knowledge to my students. Instead, I am delicately crafting a curriculum that utilizes an array of instructional strategies to meet the needs of a diverse room of learners. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) bring up this example of my paradigm shift through the use of the Inductive Model by stating, “…the teacher is to continue asking students questions to facilitate their thinking, as opposed to providing praise for the ‘right’ answers” (p.160). As a result of my learning throughout this course, I will be not only a better teacher but also a better learner. I discovered that there are a multitude of instructional strategies and I need to continue to test these approaches in my classroom, evaluate the outcomes, make any necessary changes and then continue to implement.

References

Artifact 1:

Publisher

Artifact 2:

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Implementing Cooperative Learning in Video Production

Classroom Context:

My school is a private school, and they have given me free range on what the curriculum standards will be in this elective. The school expects me to expand the students’ knowledge of video production while applying their own unique perspective and creativity in this visual art form. I will still base my learning goals on EALRS for better implementation of my chosen teaching strategy of Cooperative Learning. To see my review of this instructional strategy, go to https://joannakharmon.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/strategy-entry-1-cooperative-learning/#comments.

The school works in a collaborative environment where teachers are encouraged to use each other as a resource; they are not only encouraging teachers to implement Collaborative Learning in the classroom but also with colleagues. The equipment that are available to me are desktop computers are equipped with Premiere Elements (the video editing software program that we will be using), and the room is also stocked with 8 Flip cameras and 8 tripods. Since I do not have enough resources for students to each have a camera and a computer, Cooperative Learning is an excellent approach for video production because they have to learn to share the class’ resources. I have 3 ELL students in this class and they require extra instruction, check-ins and written instruction. The strategy of Cooperative Learning gives the opportunity for other students to come alongside their peers who need extra assistance since this class is comprised of many different grade levels and learning styles.

Concerning academic development, most of the students come into class with general knowledge of video production from what they have learned from social culture. This elective has a diverse range of learners from freshmen to high school students. These students also understand how to work with the technology that they are familiar with like multi-function devices. Previous lessons have given students a new perspective of video production; where they not only understand how to use video production tools but how to use them to create visual art. Cooperative Learning will not only teach students the skills of editing a music video, but also give them practice of working together as a team. In past lessons, I have already implemented Cooperative Learning by placing students in “film groups” where each student chose their role for the “Music Video Project” (director, writer, cinematographer, etc). This learning segment has been a continuing experience of Cooperative Learning where different aspects of the strategy have been implemented.

Learning Goal Specification:

Visual Arts EALR 2: The student uses the artistic processes of creating, performing/presenting, and responding to demonstrate thinking skills in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Component 2.1: Applies a creative process to visual arts (Identifies, explores, gathers, interprets, uses, implements, reflects, refines, and presents).

Supportive Description:

As stated in the classroom context, this class is a diverse range of ages and technological experience. Dean et al (2012) states, “Cooperative Learning provides an environment in which students can reflect upon their newly acquired knowledge…” (p. 37). Video editing is a fairly new concept for this group of students, and they need a lot of practice to develop this skill while also applying their creativity. The implementation of this strategy will allow the students to deepen their knowledge of the subject matter by working together to create a finished music video by the end of this learning segment. Cooperative Learning will also be a tool that allows students to reach the learning goals, as they will be able to grow through applying their creativity and learning from the unique perspectives of their peers.

Implementation and Outcomes Predicted:

The strategy of Cooperative Learning has already been applied in this video editing unit when I divided students into their film groups. In these groups these were given specific instructions to each take different leadership roles on their film team. The first aspect was writing a script for their music video, filming, and now they need to edit their footage. This project is divided into different sections so that each individual student is given the opportunity to lead the Cooperative Learning at different times throughout the project. Students were allowed to choose any piece of music that was also approved by myself because copywriting laws allow the use of media in a learning context through educational institutions.

At this point, students not only know how to use the computers, but they know how to use two video editing programs called Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements. Even though students have already been able to practice Cooperative Learning through writing and filming, the editing portion of this project will create a lot of opportunity for Cooperative Learning. I will guide students through the group discussions that they will need to have with their film team to make important editing decisions. I predict that some students will do very well in this area while others will have a harder time agreeing with the majority of the group. Students will be using their unique perspectives and creativity to edit, which means that there is no one-way to edit their project. This will frustrate students who prefer doing things their way rather than hearing other student’s opinions.

Concerning social and emotional development, this video production class is an interesting mix of ages, temperaments, and maturity levels. The students are all growing at different paces and from different places. Even though some students are in higher grades, I predict that will not be a defining factor in the students’ progress because that truly depends on each student’s technological background. However, I do also foresee the older students working together better through Cooperative Learning because they have had more time to socially mature. When implementing Cooperative Learning in this class, I created the groups based on the students’ skill levels rather than on their ages. I predict that this will prove to be a good strategy so that students are forced to work with each other rather than lean on what may seem to be the “stronger” students in their film groups. Through the strategy of Cooperative Learning, I also foresee the students realizing that their fellow peers are resources and learn to turn to each other with questions whenever I might be busy with another student.

Artifacts:

  • Lesson Plan Example: View this sample lesson plan to see one of my lessons in this video editing unit. The implementation of Cooperative Learning proved to be an effective tool in teaching students how to import music into their editing timelines.
  • Music Video Example: Look at the following link to see an example of one of the group’s finished music videos: https://vimeo.com/70833669. This film group was comprised of students who all worked together very well through their assigned roles. Their silent film was a new and interesting take on the idea of music videos and it was clearly evident that they were proud of their progress and newly developed video production skills.

References