Derrick Willard:"Tearing Down Walls"
Blog post form March 21, 2014 titled, “China Reflections”. His focus was on how the Chinese view American education and why they seek to emulate the way we do things. He quotes Yong Zhao at the SAIS Annual Conference as saying, "What the Chinese find valuable in American education is a decentralized, autonomous system that does not have standards, uses multiple criteria for judging the value of talent, and celebrates individual differences". He makes another quote from Zhao, "However, what the Chinese enthusiastically embrace is just what Americans have been as enthusiastically trying to get rid of. Over the past few decades, America has been on a journey to centralize its education system, standardize its curriculum, and impose uniform practices...As the Common Core standards movement accomplished its goal, America will have lost what the Chinese envy and admire".
My Comment for Mr. Williard: “I am hopeful that the public school system will wake up before too much damage is done. As a graduate student in the college of education, I have been fortunate to have classes such as EDM510. This class emphasizes Project Based Learning that encourages students to think and allows them to express themselves. My secondary education class has taught me to respect individual learning styles and to create assignments that allow students to make choices on assignments based on how they learn best. Yes, all of these assignments that we are to prepare for our students are based on a common core curriculum. At least it is still up to the teachers to decide how they are going to teach the common core. I am not a teacher yet so I do not understand another way to do things. I think that as long as there are innovative teachers that blog and share ideas with the rest of us then we can learn to be better learning facilitators. If school administrators will allow us the freedom to break out of the mold and not “teach to the test” our students will do better. The educators in each state have the ability to bring about reform. Unfortunately this will only come about after there are negative effects from adopting common core. Teachers must never cease to try to make change happen.
I am anxiously waiting to hear about the schools in China that you observed.”
I had hoped that Mr. Willard would post more of his experiences from China but he has yet to do so. My next three comments are based on much older posts that I sought out and felt had relevance to our class and future teaching experience.
This blog post from February 16, 2013 was titled, “The Job is Not the Work”. In this post he talks about the art of teaching and that is so much more than the tasks of making lesson plans, setting up bulletin boards, grading papers….
My Comment: “I commented before on a post you wrote about relationships and I agree with you that building relationships is an art that a good teacher must learn to do. I also believe that if you love what you are doing and you build good relationships with your students, then teaching is definitely not the work. Thank goodness that common core only tells us what to teach and stays out of how we teach it, still allowing a teacher to be an artist”.
This blog post from Jan 28, 2013 is simply about why to blog. He refers to a post by Alan Levine called “Blogging as Pointless, Incessant Barking”. In this blog he states that he doesn’t because he is a writer or trying to build a brand but simply blogs for himself. He uses his blog for him. He calls it “an inherently selfish venture- a means for reflection on my practice and clarifying my thinking”. He also considers his blog as a digital portfolio for himself. I think that blogging for reflection is a wonderful way of self evaluation. Sharing your thoughts about something that you feel is important is a great way to thoroughly analyze what something means to you and how it can affect your life as well as giving others the opportunity to learn. During this semester I have had the opportunity to read several blogs written form this perspective and I feel that they are very personal and I have gained a lot from them.
This comment was on a post made on March 14, 2013 but I felt it was appropriately related to this week’’s blog assignment. The post was titled “Flickr as a collaborative classroom space. Flickr is a space where students working on a project individually or collaborative can post and share images. Mr. Willard’s class was doing a project on analyzing urban design. The students compiled pictures that they made from a scavenger hunt of their community all onto their flickr site. Mr Willard then brought in a local urban planner to speak with them about their project. He was easily able to see all of the pictures and issues that they were looking at.
My comment to Mr. Willard was “This week in EDM510 we were given an assignment to find additional sources of technology that we have not already discussed that we feel will be useful in use classrooms. I think that Flickr is a wonderful way to collaborate and allow students to share a collection of images from a class project. I also like that you brought in a professional from the community that works everyday with the topic that your class was discussing. Bringing in outsiders makes a topic real and more relatable for students and really helps them to make a connection to the work that they are doing.