I'm a little late reflecting on last week's class, but better late than never. Its the first real day of summer vacation and I can seem to turn my brain off.
Class started out like any other class, there was the requisite syllabus, the introductions, the expectations, & everything else that goes along with getting acquainted with a new class/professor. Our professor is a literacy coach with Literacy First. He's an interesting guy and seems to be a little nervous about all the technology we use in class. He is, however, open to doing some different stuff with technology so we are going to break him in correctly. I'm hoping to have a chance to help him use Moodle from here on out. I'll be working on the Google Calender for class again.
Probably the most interesting thing about the first night of class was when I found out I could contract to get an "A" in the class. I've never seen that before. My understanding of it is that if I do everything else up to the standard in class, I will be able to do an outside of class project and be guaranteed an "A". I've got to get some more clarification on it, but honestly, I don't worry too much about grades. I mean, its graduate school, what does the grade matter? You don't even get a star beside your name for having a 4.0! In case you are wondering, I have a 3.92 right now. Yeah, I guess I'm just that good! ;-)
The class is definitely going to impact my thinking on teaching and assessing what students have learned. It was very reassuring to meet with the dean of General Education with SNU the day after the first day of class and talk about an upcoming class I am going to teach. Much of what Dr. Williams and I discussed paralleled a good portion of what we had talked about/discussed in class. He and I talked about concrete examples of assessment (formative) during a class period. We really talked extensively about the goals of the class. This put my mind at ease and helped me think more clearly about what I will be requiring students to learn. This seems like the most important part of the learning process: setting some clear learning goals and making said goals clear to students right from the start of the class.
I've done a lot of thinking lately about my educational experience, even as recently as my undergraduate experience, and whether or not teachers/professors made the learning goals clear to me. I'm not really sure they did. I don't mean to sound critical and I wonder whether or not I was really listening in class or not. I suspect/hope I was, especially during my undergraduate work. That wasn't very long ago and I was learning to teach. I should have been doing this type of reflection all along. At least now I feel like during my graduate work I am beginning to think about what I should be learning. I also think I am truly beginning to take responsibility for my education. That's a good thing. It's taken long enough!
What about you? Are you in school? Do you take responsibility for your learning? If so, specifically, how?