This week in GRS we resumed our talk about what teaching in a 21st century classroom means to us. Our opener for the class focused on the difference between ‘Cover’ and ‘Uncover’ curriculum. That is to say, the difference between discovery based education and education strictly concerned with covering the curriculum or the standards posed to the educators. (see below)
After the opener was finished we focused in on these guiding questions for the night;
- What are the critical elements of a successful reform-based science classroom?
- What are the implications for professional learning of the reform-based classroom/NGSS?
- What is understanding?
- What role does acquisition, meaning making and transfer play in the development of understanding?
We did this by using our notes from the weeks readings to identify skills and practices that we wished to emanate. Then we used those to modify the mission statement that we wrote last week. We elaborated on the classroom environment and more specific examples of what we would like to see in our own future classrooms, using primarily the Key Principles of Learning by Wiggins and McTighe.
The next task we took on was an important one, comparing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to the newly instated NYS Science Standards. The diagram below is what we were given to compare between the two. The specific one pictured below was filled in after we had finished the activity and we wanted to get straight to the point.
We then talked about the depth of understanding and how, as a teacher, we can help students achieve that understanding. We also talked about the difficulties of gaining understanding for both students and teachers.
- distraction (more introspective)
- reading comprehension
- Resources avail.
- no prior experience
- possible disconnect with coverage
- match with learning style
As the teacher:
- accommodating different students
- Letting go (and sing it!)
- Allowing mistakes
- Having the skills to facilitate the reflection and learning
- Producing results
- Deciding what standards to focus on
Finally, we looked at the ‘Transfer of Learning’, to quote Bigge and Shermis, when it actually occurs it is in the form of meanings, expectations, generalizations, concepts, or insights that are developed in one learning situation being employed in others. Autonomy is the key because it allows the students to continuously challenge themselves.