Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ms. Taylor, when am I ever going to use this in real life? (5P42)

I often wonder how as educators in this insanely faced paced 21st century learning world how we can effectively provide relevant curriculum and education for students across Canada's cultural mosaic. We are seeing the need and relevance of moving from one teacher/ one subject learning to a more integrated and collaborative style of learning. There is a passage in Chapter 5 that caught my attention in how it was phrased. "With only one teacher, some excellent teaching and learning can happen with fewer obstacles. Yet we have found that some of the richest integrated units are designed collaboratively." The yet proposes that this action of collaboration for richer integrated units and curriculum is an uncommon or underestimated. It shocks me some times to remember and recognize that this has not been the practice of curriculum development in the past. It excites me to remember we are all in a position of great influence as collaborative educators in the 21st century world. I believe it may be easier for elementary teachers to wrap their heads around the benefit and potential ease of blending and integrating subjects together to teach concepts or themes in the classroom. I have always separated secondary subjects from each other in order to fully grasp the scope and depth of each individual subject. I believed it would be a disservice to blend them together for students, it would be too confusing. 

I am now able to see how integrated curriculum can actually heighten students awareness of the scope and depth of each individual subject. This awareness comes from the explicit skill and ability to make meaningful connections between subjects and between the subject and daily life. Integrated units and curriculum allow for broader themed projects or community based projects, for example, which give students immediate use for the skills and knowledge acquired in a method that connects to them personally. This immediate tangible knowledge can assist with the inevitable question, "Ms. Taylor when am I ever going to use this in real life?" 

In order to find the common themes and threads that can relevantly link material to practice comes from careful consideration and brainstorming on the part of the collaborating educators. I will insert another verbatim Chapter 5 quote here;

"Typically, there may be territorial conflict about what knowledge and skills are front and centre. The backward design process facilitates a process where all collaborators can find a substantive place for their subject areas by providing a way to discover what is common across them" (Drake, Reid & Kolohan 2014). 

Changing the educator territorial and subject specific niches from a rigid to an interchangeable one can impact the approach students take to school work. Collaborative learning that happens at all levels of learning and education (curriculum development, teacher training, daily classroom teaching and daily classroom learning) will permeate and trickle through to daily learning routines. 

1 comment:

  1. I would like to clarify that the emphasis placed on the wording of Chapter Five "yet" is meant to highlight and examine educational discourse for the purposes of refining my own practice. It was not meant as a negative critique of the literature.