• Philosophical framework or perspective
My philosophy centers on active and innovative approaches to engage students in discussion, activities and higher order thinking in my classroom. I am a middle level education major so most of my philosophy centers around adolescents. While the majority of my education has been centered on face to face classrooms, I feel as if my philosophy can be applied to both face to face and online classrooms. I believe that all children can and learn because of that I have high expectations for each of my students. My classroom will be structured using consistent routines and procedures in order to help my students feel comfortable and confident in class. Scott Warnock, in his book Teaching Writing Online also believes that being consistent with students helps to be successful in any course because it removes the fears that come with being in a completely online course.
I will have interesting learning activities that will grab student’s attention, and will also be aimed towards real world application. I will want my students to explore deeper meanings, and to conduct their own experiments. The technological aspect of these experiences will help to prepare my students for the real world where jobs in the field of technology are plentiful and lucrative. Allowing students to be active learners in my classroom will also allow them to enjoy learning and will help them to be excited about their education. Students can be active in the classroom by interacting with their peers. Warnock stresses the importance of collaboration for online classes. Interactions on discussion boards, peer reviews, and assigning roles all help students to collaborate with each other through technology which is important for students because it helps them to be active participants in their learning. It is my personal goal to improve student achievement with quality instruction that will help to prepare them for the future. By adding different elements of technology in face to face classrooms, students can express their knowledge in different forms. By differentiating instruction, students with different abilities are able to blossom and have more chances for achievement. Philosopher Paulo Freire also believes that students should be active participants in their education, and not just receptors who receive information like a bank teller-customer relationship. Instead, students should be problems solvers, actively involved in what they are learning. Education philosopher John Dewey believes children should have choices and should be pushed to be like adults in the classroom. By giving them more responsibility and control over their learning, students are more prepared to enter into a democratic society
• The purpose of education
Is to help students achieve their goals through simulated learning activities that can be used outside of the classroom in real life events. Education should help to prepare students to be productive members of society, meaning that each student should be prepared to enter into the democracy of America upon graduation. Education contributes to a good and meaningful life by teaching students how to think for themselves, make important decisions and provides an opportunity to excel to their goals. For example, a student can live in extreme poverty or even be homeless and through education, can overcome these obstacles and provide a better life for themselves.
Students who are successful in online classes will gain skills that will help them in other parts of their education, future careers, and lives. Online classes forces students to be disciplined, focused, and proactive. If the student is able to achieve their goals and have success in an online setting, it shows them that they have the skills necessary to succeed in any predicament that will require them to be independent. As a teacher, whether it is face to face or online, I will make it my personal mission to ensure students with a quality education by being a lifelong student myself so that I will always be one step ahead of the learning curve in order to give each of my students the advantage that education grants to everyone who embraces it.
Before reading Warnock I did not think about how to assess myself as a teacher. Warnock suggests surveys and student evaluations are over used and that asynchronous communication should be the tool used to evaluate our performance based on student work that we see every week. By reviewing student performance, we can correlate their growth with our teaching. Looking at student engagement on discussion boards, student commentary about their own writing, and error trends can give us insight into how are teaching helped student achievement. Warnock also discusses the resources out there for teachers who teach online courses, and how these resources go unknown because teachers are unaware that they are out there. Chapter 18 gives examples of different sources that OW teachers can refer to in order to help with their classroom structure, management, and even assessment. I feel like this will be the chapter that I will refer to the most if I were to teach in an online setting because of the practicality of the information.
I enjoyed learning from this book and I think Warnock does a good job of explaining the joys and complexities of teaching online. This book helps to take the fear out of the job by reassuring teachers that they control the accessibility and ease of their ow course, and knowing that helps to give teachers insight into their classes. I have learned strategies that I can use in f2f classrooms and online classrooms.
In the beginning of this chapter, Warnock stated that he was hesitant to do a chapter on plagarism because he did not want to come off as being negative (152). I feel as though this is a subject that should be taught and talked about because just like Warnock, we as teacher and future teacher must address this topic in our classroom. No one wants to talk about cheating or plagarism, but it must be addressed in order to set teacher expectations for the class. Warnock mentions the use of the plagarism detector, turnitin.com, and how some students and teachers are against the use of the tool. I have actually heard these negative comments from my peers in the English department, they feel as if their work should not be used without their knowledge which is understandable, but at the same time, students need to be held accountable for their work.
Another part of this chapter that I found to be really interesting is the section on students as sources. This was my first time hearing of this concept and I think that it could help to make students more ethical and reliable in their work, while also helping them to take more pride in their work. By having students use each others work as sources, students will be more conscious of what they write and put into their work because they know that their peers will be viewing them. I will be using this strategy in my classroom as well as turnitin.com, I feel that both could influence the quality of student work.
In chapter 13 Warnock discusses pacing and predictability and how the lack of face to face time can be a danger for some students. I agree with this notion, especially for students straight out of high school who come to college with all of the physical freedoms and enrolling into an OWcourse, may be too much “freedom” for them at once. It is for reasons such as this that Warnock says that it is important to use strategies and tools to pace the class so that students will feel like its structured and consistent. I found the information on how to post the schedule and work plans extremely helpful. By telling students what to do exactly, the specific instructions, and when it’s due, will help to keep students informed and in the know about what it is that the teacher expects of them.
Another concept that I would use in my own OWcourse is using a video on a consistent basis so that students can know that I am here and real. This will also help to encourage them and they will know that there work is being graded and received by an actual person, which I’m sure they already know, but this would help to solidify that.
In chapter 14 Warnock discusses collaboration in an online environment. This is something that I had to have an open mind about because I personally hate group work, even in a f2f setting. Warnock discusses different ways for students to meet digitally through discussion boards, assigning roles, and peer reviews. I have not experienced group projects in any of the online classes that I have taken in the past, and I would not force my students to do that. I feel that it is difficult to gather peers, and collaborate ideas in a f2f course so I could only imagine the frustration that would come from a group project from an online course. I appreciate the knowledge on group projects in an online course, this is just something that I would try to steer away from in my own course.
Even though this article is based around an onsite classroom, I feel as if providing students with a comfortable and safe environment in an online setting is just as important. Teachers have the task of making sure that students feel comfortable discussing their ideas and opinions with each other and the teacher.
Nurturing pedagogy is based around assuring student comfort in the classroom so that they will be able to learn and achieve to their highest potential possible, based on the classroom environment. The basis of this dimension is to create a caring environment where children can learn, and to have respect for what kids know and help them to share what they know. In order for students to effectively share what they know, they must be properly facilitated to have effective classroom discussion with one another and with the teacher. Xenia Hadjioannou in her article Bringing the Background to the Foreground, she discusses the lack of authentic discussion in academic classrooms and gives some practical strategies on how to make the classroom accessible to students so that they feel comfortable enough, and equipped to participate in authentic discussion in as young as fifth grade classrooms. I feel as if ths knowledge can be translated and used for the OWCourse as well. Hadjioannou defines authentic discussion as being “dialogically oriented classroom interactions where participants present and consider multiple perspectives and often use others’ input in constructing their contributions” (1).
Hadjioannou conducted this research by observing a fifth grade classroom in which authentic classroom discussion was an important and relevant part of the classroom environment. She observed a language arts block for a five month period. The observation included class conversations, physical environments, nonverbal events, unofficial conversations with the participants and the classroom climate features. With series of interviews with the teacher and four focal students who represent different student types, the author aimed to get authentic material for the research to be sure to cover all grounds. She focused on the methods used by the teacher in order to promote an environment in which the students felt safe and comfortable so that they could add to class discussion and ask questions that promoted learning and self-reflection.
The authors’ major argument is that there are certain elements that teachers can observe and skew in order to promote authentic classroom discussion in their own classes. These elements include: the physical environment of the classroom (seating arrangement), curricular demands (what students are asked to do), teacher beliefs (student centered or teacher centered), student beliefs (safety in opinion in classroom), relationships between members (energy between students and teacher, and students and students), classroom procedures (effectiveness of classroom management), and norms of class participation (how often do students participate on a regular basis). Each of these minus, seating arrangement, can be used to help construct a nurturing online environment for students. The physical environment of the class was described as being “comfortable, belonging, and cozy” (Hadjioannou, 2007). Her observations found that class members had direct visual access to each other which helped to facilitate the exchange of ideas and authentic discussions. The teacher gave students choices by negotiating different aspects of the curriculum with them. By giving the students some decision making power, Hadjioannou found that the students felt more involved in their learning, and wanted to have more authentic discussions because of it. The teacher who was being observed believed that the classroom should be a place where students actively construct meaning and that student learning should be facilitated in a community that allows students to put forth their ideas and perspectives and responds in honest but kind ways to their individual ideas. These ideas are the premise behind the nurturing pedagogy dimension which states that students should be in a caring environment where they can learn and express what they learn.
The conclusion that Hadjioannou came up with is that research in classroom interactions show that this authentic discussion is rare in the classroom and that there is a need for more authenticity from students in classroom communities in order to develop proper interactions within the real world and outside of the classroom. She concluded that it is the teacher’s responsibility to create an environment where students can have the opportunity to interact with one another in an effective manner. This includes, promoting discussions by making tools accessible, allowing the teacher room to circulate effectively, and to help quiet students be more verbal while also keeping problems from arising between incompatible neighbors, all of which are beneficial to the online teaching community as well. The data supports the conclusions being made by the author because the students reported feeling safe and welcomed in the classroom due to these strategies that were implemented by the teacher. The data shows that when students feel as if their opinion is valued and respected in the classroom, students are more likely to participate in authentic discussions between each other and the teacher. One of the elements of the moral dimension, nurturing pedagogy, aims to promote effective classroom environments in which students can learn and reflect on their learning through cognitive discussion and collaboration, and this articles aims to show practical ways that teachers can do that.
Hadjioannou, X. (2007). Bringing the background to the foreground: what do classroom environments that support authentic discussion look like? American Educational Research Journal, 44(2), 370-399.
I learned some valuable lessons from this chapter, one being that providing feedback for students can be overwhelming, but only if you let it. This chapter taught me that there are multiple ways to give students feedback so that they can clearly understand your responses and so that you will not feel overwhelmed. “Technologies of response can help you rethink the way you provide feedback to your students…” (121), this speaks volumes because this is true in the realm of academics and in the real world. We see this come to life everyday when we send things in a facebook or text message that we would not normally say out of or mouths or write down on paper. Along with tools such as google docs and others, responding to someone via technology gives a person time to think, reflect, and edit what they are saying easily, which is something that handwriting does not offer. I am less likely to change something that I have graded, or commented on in pen, than something that I have typed. Although emails is listed as a way to respond to students, I feel as if that tool would become overwhelming and unorganized in my opinion and I would opt for one of the newer tools to communicate with students like a discussion thread or wiki doc.
Changing your teaching style and strategies for an online course is a must because the environment and student involvement is different when there is no face to face content. Assessment style and the weight of the assessments should be altered in order for students to take them as serious as they would an in class assignment. By boosting up the weight of the informal assessments 30-40 percent, students will more than likely put more effort into the assignment. I feel like this strategy is different from the other relaxed strategies that Warnock has discussed in the past. When talking about teacher and students discussion and teacher involvement, I feel like Warnock stressed not to be too over bearing to be sure to make students feel comfortable. So with the raising of the weight percentages, I find this to be interesting and something that I think would be important when it comes to keeping high standards for your students.
Since I am not a teacher, I can only speak on what I have seen as a student. When I compare my process to my fellow classmates, I find an array of processes. When I ask about the success of their papers, one may say that they started early and have finished. Another may say that they plan to start the day that the paper is due. I find that I am in between the student who starts early and the student who waits until the last minute. I learned in the HMXP course offered here at Winthrop that it is not about how much time and effort you put into your work, but it is about the finished product. My HMXP professor told us that we should not expect to do better or worse than someone who spends twice as long writing, or someone who spends less time writing. A student could write a paper over the span of a week and I may still receive a better grade because my product is better. This is why I feel as if all practices are not equally effective. I feel as if it depends on the person doing the writing and what works best for them. I do have family members who are in school currently, and I notice that their writing process is different from my classmates. What I have noticed is that older people like to hand write their papers before typing them because they are not as comfortable with technology as me and my classmates are. I also notice that they write farther in advance in order to have a second opinion on their work, whether it be their husband or the professor. I would say that for the field of online teaching that this would mean that older students may need more direction when it comes to the use of the technology but they are more steadfast when it comes to the completion and quality of assignments.
Warnock discusses the importance of the book in an online class, and I could not agree more. Granite, no matter how good a text book may be, students more than likely will not gravitate towards reading it simply because it is a text book. My question is, is there a way to provide students with a text book that they will actually want to read? I know trade books are more interesting to students, but I don’t know if an entire course can function on the material that trade books offer. One of the ways that Warnock suggested that we can get students to read, is by offering quizzes. I would implement this in my classroom by having students complete a short quiz in order to help students have multiple grades that are not high in value, and to also check their reading. The quizzes at the end of spark notes are similar to the ones that I would want to have in my class. Short and to the point, while also checking for student effort.
Creating a persona to generate conversation and knowledge will help me to interact with students in multiple sectors of the course. Learning how to have an effective persona in which I can communicate with students and facilitate discussion without being overbearing will help when having students perform group discussions and activities. I would like to see how I would facilitate the discussions of my online students, Warnock says to be sure not to take over the discussion which is obvious, but what if the discussion is not going in the direction that it should? How do you control the pace? or should that not be an issue? What if students are not getting into the depth of the conversation, or are not reaching the points that they need to reach in discussion? I guess this is where my facilitating comes into play. I have to guide students into proper discussion without taking over the conversation.