Frau's Blog

Reflections – Educ 6712

Posted on: November 1, 2009

  • Describe the most striking revelation you had about the teaching of new literacy skills to your students as a result of this course.

The most striking revelation I have had with my students is how few of them actually knew how to properly evaluate a website and decide if it is reliable. My students often will recite something they have read online and when another student challenges it they joke,”Well, everything on the internet is true”. While this is only a joke my students do not take the time to determine if the website is reliable or not. An English professor from my undergraduate studies illustrated how important this is by showing us a website discredited the existence of the Holocaust. After reading the information on the website, at the very bottom of the site we discovered it was written by a math professor from a fictional university. I experienced this again while evaluating a website for this course: Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus at  http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. This is a fictional creature, but the website even fooled me at first glance. Until I began investigating the website further I did not realize it was a hoax. As a result of this I have already done activities with my students to help them identify reliable web resources.

  • Describe how the knowledge and experience gained in this course will influence your teaching practices going forward.

Something that I have really enjoyed about this course, and this program for that matter, is that so much of what I am learning can be used in the classroom. During my undergraduate studies, I learned about classroom management and how to write a lesson plan but none of that really went with me into my classroom. Those are concepts that cannot be realized until a teacher has their own classes and students and discovers the best way to interact with them. The information I have learned through this course and through Walden I can begin using practically immediately in my classroom.

This course has emphasized the importance of teaching 21st literacy skills and those skills are something that I will be thinking about as I make new lessons and modify old lessons to incorporate these skills. It is important that as I plan activities for my students that I try to include technological resources as often as I can.  Being able to read and comprehend text is no longer enough to be considered literate. The International Reading Association (IRA), as cited in Eagleton and Dobler (2007), says that “literacy educators have the responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve”. By offering more opportunities for students to use technology I am helping to make them more marketable for when they graduate and are looking for jobs.

  • Identify at least one professional development goal you would like to pursue that builds upon your learning in this course and develops your own information literacy or technology skills. Describe the steps you will take to accomplish this goal.

My goal as a result of this course is to give more opportunities for my students to question and research. As a German teacher, the majority of my time in the classroom is spent teaching my students vocabulary and grammar concepts. It is a lot of teaching and not much questioning. However, as Eagleton and Dobler (2007) note, humans are natural questioners. They also cite being around a 4-year old for an extended amount of time will prove this! My inquiry-based unit plan was a research project on a famous German-American. This activity allowed for students to ask questions such as how German-Americans have impacted our society. I love this project and I have already begun to implement it in my classroom.

Unfortunately, I do not feel that I provide very many opportunities to my students for inquiry-based lessons. A lot of this is because I feel rushed enough as it is just to teach the facts, but it is also because as a foreign language teacher there is not too much information to question. Students cannot question or research whether something is a direct object or a predicate nominative. Those are just facts. Cultural information is really where students can inquire. Usually I just teach cultural tidbits when they come up in class and I only spend a few moments discussing them with the students. I plan to allow more time for students to research and discover more about German culture. Instead of just telling students information, I hope to allow more time for them to question and research cultural information.

References:

Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press.

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  • Stephanie: Thanks Cesar! It is wonderful to have such support through our cohort. I appreciate your comments and kind words.
  • Cesar Rubio: Hi Stephanie, You are making great strides in completing your GAME Plan. I'm so jealous! I haven't gotten mine off the ground because I don't know
  • Toni Malvestuto: I hope you have a better week this week. I know how stressful it can be when you don't have the resources you need at hand. I have also learned not

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