Which learning trend captures your attention most and why?
Project-based learning is the trend that seems most tailor-made for language arts since it requires an authentic purpose and audience. As teachers, most of us also have the ultimate goal of preparing our students for the wider world in some way, and PBL brings the real world to the forefront. The key issue for me in this area is dealing with that idea of authenticity.
As I discussed yesterday, I've struggled with involving the community in my classroom. If I'm not actively including the outside population in my classroom, then how authentic are the opportunities I'm giving my students? I'm thinking about Allison's advice to me from yesterday, about having students find an "expert" reader from the community for their research papers. This dovetails nicely with PBL since an authentic project would require an authentic audience.
I'm often guilty of automatically shutting down ideas since I teach in a small town and there aren't as many resources immediately available as people might find in larger cities. I'm going to have to call bullsh*t on myself for that one. I'm sure there are plenty of connections I could be making for my students in my community, and I've just been too focused on my classroom to seek out other avenues. In fact, I bet if I really put my energy toward it, I could allow my students to create some rockin' PBL ideas that could benefit our towns (my district pulls from a land area that include many small communities). And since they are so small, the chances that my students' PBL presentations (or whatever final product they produce) would have an impact might be far greater than in a large community.
So here we have it again. Two days in a row when this blogging challenge has forced me to look at major areas of inadequacy. It's a lot less satisfying to write about these topics when I feel weak, which means it's something I need to spend more time confronting. I can't ask my students to step out of their comfort zones every day if I'm not willing to do the same.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.