So Many Questions….

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I have been working on this post for a while because my mind has been jumping in many different directions so it was hard to stay focused.  The readings and viewings gave me a lot to think about over these last few weeks. In the 1960’s, Albert Bandura developed the theory of social learning (Social Learning Theory).  Bandura, says that “behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning” (McLeod, 2011).  I agree that children learn a lot through observing others and how they act.  Adults need to be mindful of their actions and what they say around children and youth because they are their role models and often many will look up to them.  Very young children will often imitate sounds, words, or phrases that they have heard and copy actions that they have seen.  As the article states, “Children will have a number of models with whom they identify” (McLeod, 2011).  Children and youth are not just influenced by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or trusted adults.  But, children and youth can be influenced by older siblings, older peers, friends, television or movie characters, video games, actors, music artists, and athletes just to name a few.  Children and youth need to have guidance as they are growing up.  When thinking about a child’s behavior Bandura also makes a good point about how, “the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment” (McLeod, 2011).  Starting at a very young age babies are praised for the sounds or words they say or for their actions that they have imitated.  When babies get older they get told no for pulling hair, putting something in their mouths that they are not suppose to, or touching something that could harm them.

In the article it also links to a famous experiment called the “Bobo Doll Experiment”.  In this video explores if, “social behaviors (i.e. aggression) can be acquired by observation and imitation” (McLeod, 2014).  I agree one hundred percent that “This study has important implications for the effects of media violence on children” (McLeod, 2014).  While I watched the video I thought about my colleague who teaches grade three and her experience with teaching a particular outcome in health.  That outcome that she was teaching was:

USC3.6- Distinguish between examples of real violence (e.g., schoolyard fights, shaking a baby, bullying) and fictional violence (e.g., cartoons, world wrestling entertainment, video games) and determine the influence of both on health and well-being.

The particular indicators for that outcome are:

a) Develop common and respectful language often used to talk about violence and abuse.

b) Reflect on what is known/believed about violence in communities.

c)Determine that violence can by physical, emotional, and/or sexual.

d) Describe types of violence and abuse including physical (e.g., punching, kicking), sexual (e.g., inappropriate touching), and emotional (e.g., name-calling, exclusion, cyber-bullying).

e) Recognize that physical, sexual, and emotional violence are behaviours that hurt or destroy people, places, or things.

f) Discuss examples of fictional violence (e.g., movies, video games, cartoons, world wrestling entertainment).

g) Investigate the influence of mass media on perceptions of violence (e.g., difficult to distinguish fiction from non-fiction, what is ‘normal’).

h) Distinguish the effects of violence on the mind, body, and spirit (e.g., fear, bruises, self-doubt, hopelessness).

i) Recognize violent and non-violent and/or harmful and non-harmful behaviours and the impact on self and others.

child playing video games

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I can recall my colleague telling me about a parent who was concerned because her child was learning about the differences between real violence and fictional violence at such a young age.  My colleague discussed with the parent that she was covering a topic right from the grade three Saskatchewan Health Curriculum that teachers are required to follow when planning units and lessons.  She explained to the parent the importance of teaching students in grade three about the differences between real and fictional violence.  After the discussion that parent felt much better about the unit that was planned and listening to my colleagues thoughts.  I do understand why that parent would be concerned, but with all the media that young children are exposed to they need to learn skills in understanding the differences between what is real and what is fictional or fantasy.  I have had grade two students write in their journals about playing grand theft auto and other games that are full of violence and adult material.  Do students in early elementary years understand that people do not have multiple lives like they do in video games and in the other games they can play online?  Do they understand the consequences of violence or how harmful violence is? I am happy that children are discussing and learning about those differences in grade three. Those types of lessons are very important because children are exposed to violence from television, movies, games, and other forms of media now at a early age compared to many years ago.

What do you think?  Should the outcome USC3.6 be taught in grade three or do you feel it is too mature of content for children to learn about at that age?  Do you think violence in media effecting our children and youth?

 

Changing gears I was also introduced to readings and viewings that had me reflect on the way children are taught in school!  What do you think 21st century classrooms should look like today?  I think technology has opened the doors for teachers to be more inventive and can begin to think more outside of the box in terms of teaching strategies and how they set up their classroom for learning.  Take a look at this following video!  In the video a grade seven student is giving a tour of how she has been learning in her science class.  This video showcases a student participating in networked learning and creating her own learning environment using different tools and media.

From listening to the student I can see that a lot of learning has taken place.  She has not only learned science concepts, but has learned how to use tools such as: Google Docs, blogging, bookmarking, and Evernote to help with her researching skills and documenting her learning journey. While I was watching the video I was curious how the teacher set up his/her classroom? Many other questions began to race through my head…What does the teacher’s day plans/lesson plans look like?  Would teachers be able to teach using this style with students who are younger than grade seven?  Did the student in the video need to do complete some of her work outside of the classroom or was she provided time to complete all the tasks during class time?  If she was required to complete work outside of class time did she and her peers in her class have access to a computer, device, or the Internet?  I would want to make sure all of my students learning opportunities are the same.  I would love to talk to a teacher using network learning in their classroom.  I began to reflect about…What could network learning look like for my grade two classroom or in the early learning years?

For my class I also read an article by Dave Cormier called Understanding the Basics of Rhizomatic Learning.  I was fortunate to learn about Rhizomatic Learning from Dave Cormier when I took EC&I831 Social Media and Open Education Class from Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt.  Rhizomatic Learning allows for students to decide on the goal instead of the instructor or teacher giving students the learning goals or outcomes.  Students begin to take responsibility for their own learning!  I see this style of teaching more focused on the process instead of the product.  It is refreshing because learning should not just be knowing the answers to given questions.  When students get the opportunity to make their own learning goals I believe learning opportunities are endless.  Instead of the teacher being the person “who knows all of the answers” the students are given the opportunity to research and learn skills to find the answers to questions they are curious about.  If you want to learn more about Rhizomatic Learning and Cormier’s thoughts I encourage you to watch to a video of Cormier – Embracing Uncertainty of Rhizomatic Learning.  In this video he even briefly discusses MOOCs (Masssive Open Online Course).   For class we were to watch Corimer give short presentation in how to have Success in a MOOC.  I have never participated in a MOOC before, but many classmates in EC&I831 took part in one of their choice for their major project.  I enjoyed reading their posts about the courses that they took.  Right now I am too busy with teaching, coaching, and taking graduate classes; however, I think once I am finished with my degree I am going to miss learning and taking classes so I can see myself finding a MOOC that interests me.  I agree with Ashley Murray that I do not feel that our students should be left learning through MOOCs, especially students younger than high school.  I think students do need to still be learning along side their peers and the teacher needs to help facilitate learning and help guide students. I could see students participating in a MOOCs to get more knowledge and to network with other people if they were provided to opportunity to participate in Genius Hour.   Have you ever participated in a MOOC before? What are your thoughts about students participating in MOOCs?

In another article I read Cormier “suggests that Rhizomatic Learning is a means by which learners develop problem-solving skills for complex domains” and that “the community is the curriculum.”  What could Rhizomatic Learning look like in the early year classrooms?  When I took EC&I831 I wrote a blog post (you can see how my blog posts have evolved over the last year) reflecting on my thoughts about Rhizomatic Learning.  It reminds me a lot of the Reggio Emilia Approach which “values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. This approach believes a “child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.”  Some of the fundamental principles for the Reggio Emilia Approach are:

  • “Children are capable of constructing their own learning.”
  • “Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others.”
  • “Children are communicators.”
  • “The environment is the third teacher.”
  • “The adult is a mentor and guide.”
  • “An emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts.”
  • “The Hundred Languages of Children.”

I see a lot of connections and similarities between the Reggio Emilia Approach compared to Rhizomatic Learning and Network Learning.  Students are the center of the learning and not the teacher or educator.  Students can learn through the environments and through communicating with peers or from other people outside of the classroom.  Students document their thoughts about the learning journey and begin to form their own understandings about the world.  I could also relate to Ashley’s post when she discussed the teacher’s role and later on explained, “that there is a lot of information that students MUST learn such as reading, writing and math skills.”  I agree that there are skills that students must learn, but I am finding more ways to teach my grade two students those skills through play based learning.  However, I still have guided reading, writing, and math lessons that are at my students individual levels.  I have found students have continued to develop their reading, writing, representing and math skills through centers, play based learning and projects that they participate in.  These last few weeks of articles and viewing have had me reflect on education and what classrooms look like today more than ever before.  While I was doing some exploring I came across a video that was “adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson.”

I encourage you to watch his lecture entire called Changing Paradigms.  It is fifty-five minutes long, but he raises many great points about education, how people learn, and how they think.  His lecture connects with some of the viewings and readings that I have been learning in my EC&I832 class.  Near the end of his lecture and near the end of the video above he talks about divergent thinking and gave an example of a study.  The question was “how many uses can you think of for a paper clip?”  This study showed that children in Kindergarten scored higher than older students and adults.  Why were the children in Kindergarten able to think of more uses for a paper clip compared to older students and adults?  What does this study show about our education system?  I find that I am left with more questions…what do you think?

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What should education look like today in the 21st century?  Do we need to change the way we approach and view education? 

Reflection on Our Class Exploring Rhizomatic Learning…

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I had another fabulous week! I am so lucky to have a wonderful bunch of grade two students this year that bring a positive energy into our classroom. After a busy week I was fortunate to get to spend time with my fiancé Damon this weekend because he has been working for three weeks straight. We were able to get a lot of wedding planning done and we got to meet with our photographer yesterday as well! I also got to visit with my friend from high school while I was back home Saturday night. The best part about the weekend was spending time with Damon, my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and my amazing nephew yesterday. I love being able to call, text, and Facetime my family, but nothing beats spending quality time with loved ones in person. It is important to have balance in your life, but often times I get so wrapped up into work and school that I need to remind myself about balance.

It is crazy to believe in just in two days that it will already be October. I have learned so much in the last few weeks through taking my social media graduate class. On our way home last night I was able to read fellow students posts on our class Google Community plus account and blogs about their digital projects, resources they have found or are using, and Tuesday night’s class using the Google Community plus app on my phone. After reflecting on some of my classmates posts I can relate to mixed feelings about blackboard collaborate. Since I live two hours away from the university I appreciate not having to get out of the school fast at the end of the day to get to the city for an evening class. Then when class is over I do not have to drive back after a busy day and not get home until late. (Sometimes as late as midnight depending on the traffic and how fast I was able to get out of the city). I have found it easy to log into and I have been lucky that I have not had any major problems and glitches with blackboard collaborate. I like that students can be interactive and some of the tools available such as the raise your hand button to get the speakers attention. On Tuesday David Cormier talked to us about Rhizomatic Learning. The class had a great atmosphere which led to some fantastic conversations. At times it was overwhelming to follow what everyone was saying on the chat and listening to David at the same time. I wanted to be engaged in both aspects of the class, but it is an exciting problem because there were important questions and discussions that come out of the presentation. I did re-watch some of the class and saved the chat so I was able to reread everyone’s comments and questions during our class.

During last Tuesday nights class it made me reflect about my experience when I was a grade two representative for the east side of our school division on the Early Learning Committee. When we met we explored many great resources from the Ministry and other professional development books and articles that focused on early learning. I encourage everyone to check out the link that looks at the principles of early learning. I believe these principles should be called the principles of learning because all four of the principles are important for all students and can be adapted for older students.

http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=c711842e-23aa-4e82-b33d-4a530f8d4b2f

During the learning committee meetings we also discussed inquiry, student’s interests, and what the classroom would look like if teachers chose topics/projects that students were interested in. We explored the Reggio Emilia approach and philosophy in early learning and how to use that model when teaching older grades while teaching curricular outcomes. Here is on link that discusses the Reggio Emilia approach and I also added in some quotes that stood out of my mind when reading this article. It reminded me about what David said about Rhizomatic Learning.

http://www.aneverydaystory.com/beginners-guide-to-reggio-emilia/main-principles/

  •  “Children are capable of constructing their own learning.”
  • “They are driven by their interests to understand and know more.”
  • “The adult is a mentor and guide.”

Last year I set up learning invitations with students and did a few learning projects as a class while meeting curricular outcomes. I found it really worked with science and that I need to begin to use this method in more subject areas. I am looking forward to setting up projects that students want to do based on their interests and what they want to learn about while continuing to meet curricular outcomes.

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