Monday, July 12, 2010

The Significant Seven

In order to develop a curriculum, certain steps need to be taken in order to get myself to the starting point of putting it all together.

"The Significant Seven" serves as a guide to help map out my curricular needs and interests. There are seven areas for reflection that will help to take inventory of my thinking in order to better develop my own curriculum.

Autobiographical Reflection as a Learner

I believe, to some degree, that teachers do incorporate they ways in which they were taught into their own teaching models. Things that affected me as a student include:
  • Practices I liked and enjoyed/wanted to reproduce in my own classroom
  • Practices I swore I would never reproduce in my own classroom
  • Units/concepts/topics of study (either enjoyable or un-enjoyable)
  • What I was taught were "important" things students should know
Drawing on my own experience as a student, I am able to use my experiences as a source of insight by reflecting on:
  • Practices I saw/experienced that were successful
  • Practices that were creative and made students think
  • Practices that did not work
  • Practices that were either relevant/irrelevant to both students and the "real world" at large

Treasured Values as a Teacher:

Beliefs and practices that remain central to my curricular thinking are:
  • Expectations of excellence (excellence as a way of thinking/as an attitude)
  • Expectation of enrichment (teacher providing opportunities for student enrichment through the units of study/curricula)
  • Inclusion (fostering an atmosphere where all students feel welcome and their opinions/ideas valued)
Aspects of my prior teaching I will likely perpetuate, maintain, and deepen as I return to the classroom:
  • Maintain my expectation of excellence
  • Preserve the important of my performing ensembles (but deepen and shift their purpose where the focus becomes collaboration and teamwork, rather than the actual performance itself)
  • Deepen the aspect of inquiry within music activities (use more questions to direct student learning, curiosity, and exploration)

Fresh Perspectives and New Ideas:

Ideas gathered from both my undergraduate and graduate study I use in my teaching:
  • The concept of learning units/spreading learning out over an extended period of time (and revisiting concepts to build new knowledge)
  • Music as a part of culture (both past and present)
  • Performing ensemble importance (specifically for me: chorus)

New ideas that I have incorporated into my thinking about teaching and learning:
  • "Curriculum of Questions" where inquiry (both student- and teacher-centered) serves as the driving force to discover core musical concepts and ideas within the topics of study
  • Music as a comprehensive whole (implementing ALL the National/State Standards v. focusing on your "favorites")
  • Hook Activities at the beginning of projects/units (to inspire motivation, interest, and a "need-to-know" attitude)
"Disposal Site":

Practices, strategies, and beliefs I no longer see fitting for my newly acquired ideas which I feel are ready to be discarded and left behind:
  • Teaching songs for concerts by rote/modeling/direct instruction while students sit in their seats (I believe they aren't truly engaged in the learning process at this point- they aren't given the opportunity to take ownership of what they are learning)
  • The view of the teacher as the only fount of knowledge
  • Teacher as a "dictator"
  • The idea that students are incapable of directing their own learning
  • Totally teacher-led and teacher-controlled activities (i.e. allowing students to take ownership and giving them a chance to lead)
Influencing My Particular Field of Teaching:

In my area of specialization (general music/vocal/choir) I am well-suited and willing to contribute to its needs by:
  • Allowing for student input and interest to drive decision-making in selecting topics of study
  • Collaborating with other teachers to get a feel for interdisciplinary connections that can be made during music
  • Staying connected to fellow music educators and professionals to provide current, up-to-date, relevant topics and learning opportunities to my students
I am able to exert influence upon my professional peers and their ideas by:
  • Collaborating and providing feedback (i.e. through professional networking, through conversation within my department, etc.)
Relating My Work to Music Education at Large:

The relationship between my plans and music education at large includes:
  • My aspiration and continual goal to provide relevant, thought-provoking, current opportunities to students (that deal with music in today's society)
  • The cultivation of dispositions
My ideas will contribute to the profession and the students it serves by:
  • Creating and cultivating opportunities for students that incorporate real-world musical experiences and skills
  • Creating musical activities that highlight current innovations (such as technology) and rely on musical practices that are relevant in today's world
Forging a Focus for this Semester:

This course can serve as an opportunity for me to really concentrate on the truly important aspects already in place in my curriculum as well as reigning in the newly-forged ideas that I have developed as a result. Questions I may want to ask myself in the process are:
  • What have I been doing that has been successful and meaningful to students?
  • What can I do to improve the current practices I have in place?
  • Is there anything that I need to eliminate due to irrelevancy or redundancy?
  • How can I synthesize and form a marriage between my "oldies but goodies" and new ideas?
Some goals, ambitions, and aspirations I would like to adopt during this semester are:
  • Allowing students to indicate topics of interest they would like to pursue (and putting them into practice!)
  • Developing a curriculum that is not only comprehensive, but also leaves room for growth in ways that I could not have predicted (striving for "optimal ambiguity")
  • To weed out topics, activities, and/or practices that are irrelevant or redundant and need discarding
Through these Significant Seven I hope to streamline the development of my curriculum which focuses on topics and projects that are relevant to students' lives and to the current culture around them. I hope to weed out unnecessary practices, topics, and/or activities that do not connect with students, and to listen to what areas of interest they might want to delve further into.

1 comment:

  1. Meant to post this comment last night, but I just HAD to once I saw your presentation today, too! The way you've communicated your ideas here is so impressive and exciting... and I thought you outdid yourself with the presentation today. It is an art form to consolidate complex thinking and ideas like these to the fun and informative, simple yet thought-provoking images you showed in talking passionately about your ideas. I look forward to the work we'll be able to do together at the end! BRAVO!!