During Semester 2 of the tenure process, we are expected to keep a self-reflected blog. This week, as part of my tenure process, I will take a closer look at my teaching experiences through Brookfield’s (1995) four lenses: self, students, peers, and scholarship.
Lens One: Self
My own teaching style is extremely interactive. That’s because my classes are coding classes, and the best way to learn to code is by actually doing it. Often I will break students up into pairs or small groups and have them discuss that week’s reading assignment together, summarizing the important points. Then I ask the groups to present the summaries to the rest of the class. We use these summaries as a springboard for discussion. These discussions are student-led; my role is to make sure that they haven’t missed any important points and to keep the discussion on-topic.
Lens Two: Students
Unfortunately, I have not yet received my Semester 1 Portfolio Rubric. However, I now have my student evaluations from Semester 1, and the results of those evaluations seem to indicate that I am on the right track with my teaching. Students wrote that I was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and approachable, even if I do have “a weird obsession with rubber duckies.” (Yes, I collect rubber duckies.)
Lens Three: Peers
During Semester 1, three different observers sat in during my classes. All three observers commented on my use of varied learning activities, including short video/multimedia presentations, a quiz show format review of course material, and a group scavenger hunt activity. All three of these activities integrated technology in some way; for example, students used their mobile phones to photograph items in the scavenger hunt, and then we viewed them as a class on the projector screen.
Lens Four: Scholarship
My teaching is shaped in part by Communal Constructivist Theory. According to this theory, peer-to-peer instruction is an especially effective means of learning information and communications technology (ICT) skills (Leask & Younie, 2001). When I split students up into groups and ask them to discuss and summarize the reading assignment, I am utilizing the Communal Constructivist Theory. Students are learning from each other in a peer-to-peer learning environment.
Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Leask, M., & Younie, S. (2001). Communal constructivist theory: Information and communications technology pedagogy and internationalisation of the curriculum. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 10(1-2), 117-134. doi:10.1080/14759390100200106