“Why” Teach?

Many people teach for different reasons but I believe it is ultimately driven by the urge to have an impact. That is what has drawn me to the teaching profession. I want to have an positive impact on the world I live and your job is one of the ways you can contribution to society. We all have many options that we can choose for our profession however, after looking back at my 8 years of professional experience I have a hard time identifying my impact. That is not to say that my positions or the companies I worked for did not have an impact but I felt disconnected enough that my jobs become more about the paycheck than the job. Additionally, there are other factors that led me to this decision but it comes down to wanting to provide mentorship, leadership (male role-model), develop coding programs and to feel like I am making an impact.

Genes:
You could say that teaching is in my genes. I come from a long line of teachers and it has been a profession that has been enjoyed by them. I feel that being surrounded by teachers that I’ve learned many of the skills needed to be a successful teacher. Additionally, I know that teaching is a rewarding experience and have been able to see the impact that they have had on my peers.

Mentors:
I want to be a mentor! Mentors are invaluable and finding a good one is difficult. I’ve had a couple of excellent mentors in my professional life but the ones that I value are from my education. They pushed me to look at problems analytically, breaking them down to the simplest components to find logical solutions at each step. There was no problem that was too hard, there were just steps in the process. Fear was replaced by intrigue because I knew I could find solutions if I could figure out the base components. I learned that failing is part of the learning process but had a safe place to do so. It is these teachers that inspired me to learn and challenge myself.

Male Role-Model
The educators who cared about me beyond the results of an exam are the ones who stand out in my memory. Their commitment was to students as people and their purpose was to prepare me to be a smart and ethical contributor to society. Their example is an inspiration to me today as I seek a career in education. However, very few of my teachers were men and I see that as a current gap in public education. I think that we need to re-think the recruitment of male teachers and reposition how society views the teaching profession. I hope, as I move through the program, I can center my masters research paper on destigmatizing the teaching profession with a focus on recruiting male teachers.

Coding:
Another reason that I am interested in teaching is to develop coding programs. I have had a long standing passion for computers and through my professional training I’ve learned to code. I would like to bring this ability to the classroom and help educate the next generation of coders. I hope that I can align my professional talents with my passion to educate and help others.

Automatization of the Work Force:
One of the looming issues for our economical system is the integration of technology in the workforce, specifically related to the automatization of paying jobs. Education is one of the few jobs that will be very difficult to automate. Essentially, in my eyes education will always need people in the classroom and as a result, teaching represents a viable profession regardless of robots and more advanced technologies.

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Checking the Validity of Your Learning Objectives

1. Why is it important to check the validity of your learning objectives? How would you ensure that your learning objectives are valid.

It is important to check the validity of the your learning objectives because you need to determine if it is an actual learning objective opposed to a learning activity. Anne Reeves’s, “Where Great Teaching Begins” states, “The most direct way to check an instructional objective is to ask whether it is student-centered, is thinking-centered, and describes a performance that demonstrates learning.” Reeves’s highlights the need to validate your learning objectives based on whether the content is student-centered, cognitively appropriate and that the learning objective is observable and measurable.

Anna Reeves described a couple simple ways to determine the validity of the learning objectives. By using these tests we can check if it is a learning activity or a learning objective.

Hey Dad test – Something that can be seen or observed
“ Hey Dad, listen to me read this” or Hey Dad watch me ride my bike.
Helps teachers to test whether their instruction meets the learning objective requirement.
Principle in the Hall Test – What did you learn today? What can you do that you couldn’t yesterday.
Additional test that helps to determine whether their instruction meets the learning objective requirement.
Whaddya Know Test – Basic regurgitation of what they already know.
Allows you to understand where they are currently at

2. Describe your understanding of Characteristics of Good Instructional Objectives?

Good Instructional objectives are statements which clearly describe an anticipated learning outcome. They define what is supposed to be learned and are helpful to both the teacher and learner throughout the learning process. Additionally, learning objectives help with evaluation of the learning process and provide a clear end goal. Also, good instructional objectives uses verbs such as “to identify,” “to list,” and “to analyze” are explicit and describe observable actions or actions that lead to observable products. For example, a typical class or lesson begins with “”Upon completion of this lesson, the student should be able to….” which is a clear way for the teacher to establish the learning objective at the beginning of the lesson.

Additional characteristics of learning objectives is that they are well written, clearly describe learning outcome, are student oriented and result in an observable product. We need students to be engaged so our learning objectives need to relate to the students. We want to be able to observe progress and measure the outcomes. Finally, we need to make sure that the content is appropriate for the age (student oriented) or cognitive levels of the students. We do not want to overwhelm students. We want our students to feel like they are making progress. Hence, the content should be provided in a linear fashion and not be so advanced that it does not allow them to learn the information in a reasonable time. Additionally, it is good to identify the area that the learning objective will target; psychomotor, affective, and cognitive types of objective.

My thoughts:

Overall, I understand the need for learning objectives and feel that they are necessary to the instructional process. Personally, I have always liked clear instructions that state the goal and how the outcome will be determined/measured. Without clear goals and measurements it is very hard for me to be successful in classrooms or the working world. However, creating learning objectives and a quality assess method seems very difficult because it requires you to conceptualize a project from beginning to end. I wonder how I am going to be able to create my first learning objective and create a quality rubric. However, I look forward to the challenge and believe that I will get better as I get more experience running a classroom.

References:

Reeves, Anne R. Where Great Teaching Begins: Planning for Student Thinking and Learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2011. Print.

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