Image courtesy of svenwerk.

As a media studies teacher, I am constantly immersed in all things media. One of my absolute favourite activities is to deconstruct song lyrics to look for a deeper meaning or to consider what kind of a message the musician or song writer is trying to share with us. I’m constantly using references to the media in my classes as I know that many of my students are immersed in that medium and they can understand my ideas a bit easier especially when there’s a laugh involved.

Yesterday I used such a reference. I was discussing learning and grades with my grade ten academic English class and I referenced Miley Cyrus. Now, I’m not a Miley fan, but I know many of my students are and it generated quite a laugh in class. I was trying to impress upon my students that the most important aspect of the work we do in class is not the outcome, but rather the process that takes you to the finished product. After using such words of wisdom from a teenager, I decide to reflect a bit deeper.

At Educon two weeks ago, I attended a session facilitated by Will Richardson about the “big questions” we need to be discussing in education. The one that really resonated with me is “What is the role of the teacher?” If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I spend great amounts of time reflecting on my practice and thinking about my role in the lives of the students I teach. Since Educon, I have really been thinking about how my practice can positively impact the lives of students and help them attain their future goals which has changed my classroom focus to one of facilitator and guide rather than “teacher.”

I also hope that I can instill a love of learning and a desire to know more in my students and I think by showing them that I am a passionate individual then perhaps they will see that as a positive aspect of life. In addition, I have also spent much of our time discussing how things are very rarely perfect on the first try and it often takes multiple revisions to achieve desired outcomes. I have been modeling this by showing them stages of my writing. I know many teachers only want to show students the finished handout for the assignment, but I have been demonstrating and discussing my creative process in hopes that they will see it as useful for their own writing. They have seen my brainstorming as well as my rough drafts and even a finished copy that I revised right in front of them because in our discussion, it was obvious that I wasn’t clear or concise enough in my directions. It’s really been an eye opening experience and I hope one that is beneficial for my students.

As always, I welcome any feedback about what strategies you may be employing in your classrooms or any suggestions of how I can improve my practice.

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2 thoughts on “The Climb

  1. Jamie, I am impressed with your passionate reflection and your willingness to share your ‘process’ with the students. ‘Think aloud’ strategies, showing successive stages of your writing, and projecting your screen (or the screens of others) as work is underway are, as you have noted, awesome ways to share procedural knowledge.
    I am looking on my computer for a couple of old papers about that…but, alas, I think I just have them in print.
    I’ll dig them up for you!

  2. Jamie,
    The mere fact that you are reflecting upon your professional practice in such a deep manner as an educator speaks VOLUMES about how well you are “climbing” the ever-present challenges in becoming the best teacher you can be… About three-four years ago I saw Will Richardson at the MACUL Conference & it literally changed both my life & the lives of my students as I asked some of the very same questions of myself you are addressing now- Kudos to you for setting a great example not only for your students but also educators around you! Reading Will’s work helps me to do my best to help others…so I know the feeling!

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