I have been a bit passive in my ECS 210 education and really tried to search for some answers about my teaching identity. I found it very hard to respond in large lecture spaces, but easy to post my comments online. My hope was that I could have an engaging conversation with my peers, but the blogs turned into a reflection space with little comment. At the beginning of semester, I tried my best to leave some words on blog posts. On one post about the three teacher images I commented:
“I have always been a bit curious to connect with a student from another teacher program. I want to know how it differs from ours and what learning is the same. I also feel strongly that most of my learning has come from practical experience. However, this doesn’t always mean being in an actual classroom. In drama education we get to try out new techniques on our classmates and see how possible scenarios might play out. I am not sure I agree entirely that the majority of my learning has come from practical experience. I would award it half of my knowledge, but I also learn best from reading or seeing others teach.”
This comment prompted a response from the blog owner about furthering my thoughts on the subject. I enjoyed exploring other people’s assignments and collecting bits of technology information that I can utilize in my classroom someday. I perused that creative response to The New Teacher Book blog responses and made this comment:
“I want to thank you for sharing this new technology to the class. I had never heard of a voicethread before. I noticed that you need to have an account for this online software and permission to view it. I will probably explore it further and perhaps put it in my future classroom toolkit. It would make a fun drama or English lesson.”
While the blogs didn’t exactly form into a place I could have an active conversation, I did try my hand at joining in the Twitter universe. I recently signed up for Twitter after the repetitive mention of #useful in the classroom. I am still in the learning stages of creating an education community here, but I still used it as an opportunity to engage with my classmates. There are some kinks in my Twitter process. It took me a while to understand how the concept of tagging a person in the tweet so they could view it or even how to jump into a conversation. During the art gallery viewing of the ‘100 Years of Loss’ exhibit, I made two tweets that I wanted to reach the Twitter world. I never received any comments back, but I am also lacking in followers at this point.
“Staring at the faces of the children at the ‘hundred years of loss’ exhibit brings on some overwhelming emotions and guilt”
I felt a strong connection to the exhibit when I volunteered there for a few hours. I felt the comments Mike made about being a racist really sinking in during that reflection period. At one point Mike came into the gallery, and it was nice to share my experience with him. I had the opportunity to watch an elementary school class interact with the display. It was frustrating for me, and Mike helped me clear my mind on the issue of pulling students away from their learning for discipline. I have a second tweet that goes along with the final ceremony after the survivor walk. My hope was to catch the attention of those who weren’t able to attend. Again, I received no comment, but I felt the statement was important. I really enjoyed spending time with those that were at the beautiful ceremony, and I think there was a silent connection that was made between all of us.
I feel strongly about the idea of sharing articles and videos of interest with my peers. I will note two examples that I shared with my Twitter community. The first is an article from Korean pop singer, PSY, discussing how his popularity has helped influenced people around the world to want to learn English.
“Your time to shine Korea! “@psy_oppa: #NICE!! Psy draws a crowd in the classroom | Inside Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/11/psy-draws-crowd-classroom#.UoG6vNilaXN.twitter …”
The second tweet was an off the internet connection I made with two of the people I sit with in lecture. I found a video titled Love is all you need on Youtube. It takes a look at a world where heterosexuality is viewed as queer. I am using this video in an ELNG unit plan and thought it would benefit other teachers. Tori showed me how to properly format that tweet on Facebook.
My strongest learning transfer occurred off the World Wide Web. I enjoyed discussing lecture topics with my educator peer group. It was always nice for us to debate opinions outside the large lecture. There is a certain comfort level I feel when I discuss my thoughts with smaller groups over even one on one. The discussion that sticks out the most in my mind was a one on one where I talked about standardized testing with another peer. We had opposing ideas on the topic. The person involved was convinced of their idea, and I struggled to have them look at standardized testing as more con-based. We had a group lecture on the topic at another date. This really helped prove some of the points that I had made, and that person started to view the negative side of ranking students and handing them standardized tests.
My contributions to the narrative our class is developing could have been stronger. I struggled to make connections with many different students in our large lecture and even the unfamiliar ones in my seminar. The format that I engage the best with is having less than twenty students together and being forced to interact with them all in some form. However, in my own small peer group, I feel like my discussions have made their presence known in lecture. We have some more vocal participants among my peers. They are willing to share our thoughts to the larger group. While I do not directly participate in that act, I have had some influence on it. All the small discussions, one on one or in groups, have been beneficial to construct this expanded narrative of our ECS experience. We have all been growing and enjoying that growing process together as a whole.