Key Thinking Objectives for a Thinking Curriculum

Key Thinking Objectives for a Thinking Curriculum

Last year one of my professional growth goals was to promote and support the development of thinking skills and other transdisciplinary skills in my teaching teams with my colleagues and with my students. I was inspired by a fantastic workshop “Cultures of Thinking” by Dr. Ron Ritchart and later in the year “The Pedagogy of Inquiry” by Kath Murdoch.

With all the other important events and developments this year I did not have a chance to reflect on what is being done and also think about what else we can do to shape more effective learners through developing their thinking skills.

There is no doubt that a lot of work is done in this area in ISPP elementary. However, I am sure that both the teachers and students will benefit from a more structured approach to the matter.

After reading IBO Swartz and McGuinness
Developing and Assessing Thinking Skills Project
Final Report Part 1 February 2014, I thought that we as teachers should pay more attention to the “thinking dispositions” such as inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, honesty in facing one’s own biases and prejudices, fair-mindedness and so on. Lots of “thinking dispositions” are part of our learner profile and support our students in developing the moral qualities and features and in becoming emotionally intelligent individuals.

The important idea is that there is a direct connection between emotional intelligence and our ability to think. In other words individuals of high moral values are better thinkers.

Here is a thinking routine (taken from Paul, R. (1993). Critical Thinking: What Every Student Needs to Survive in A Rapidly Changing World, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation For Critical Thinking) that can help our students develop their critical thinking skills in conjunction with their emotional intelligence. To practice this routine the teacher should choose any life situation (could be a situation from the student’s life or it could also take the form of character discussion)

To take any experience apart, students must be sensitive to three distinctive sets of questions:

  1. What are the raw facts, what is the most neutral description of the situation? If one describes the experience this way, and another disagrees, on what description can they agree?
  2. What interests, attitudes, desires, or concerns do I bring to the situation? Am I always aware of them? Why or why not?
  3. How am I interpreting the situation in light of my point of view? How else might it be interpreted?

Students must also explore the interrelationships of these parts:

  • How did my point of view, values, desires, etc., affect what I noticed about the situation?
  • How did they prevent me from noticing other things?
  • How would I have interpreted the situation had I noticed those other things?
  • How did my point of view, desires, etc., affect my interpretation?
  • How should I interpret the situation?

If students have many assignments that require them to analyze their experiences and the experiences of others, with an opportunity to argue among themselves about which interpretations make the most sense and why, then they will begin creating a collection of critically analyzed experiences.

Students will develop intellectual virtues because they had thought their way to them and internalized them as concrete understandings and insights, not because they were told to do like this. Students’ basic values and their thinking processes will be in a symbiotic relationship to each other. Their intellectual and affective lives will become more integrated. Their standards for thinking will be implicit in their own thinking, rather than in texts, teachers, or the authority of a peer group.

A Lesson Your EAL Students Will Love!

A Lesson Your EAL Students Will Love!

In my search for new ways to engage my ELLs I came across several interesting articles about using videos and TV shows with EAL students. Immediately I thought about the number of hours an average elementary school student spends in front of a TV screen and reminded myself about an age-old debate. (The question of whether technology will replace teachers is a long-standing one and is likely to continue as technology evolves further.)

I do believe in the art of teaching. Teachers impart students with life skills, valuable life lessons and inspire them to reach their potential. A teacher is so much more than a facilitator: they are also a guide and a mentor.

Without a great teacher, technology becomes an automated tool and stops inspiring and engaging students. Ultimately, it isn’t about teachers being replaced by technology but how teachers can adapt to incorporate technology in their lessons and enhance learning for our students. In fact, it is great teachers who make using technology so significant in students’ education.

Having said this, I would like to share several successful strategies that your EAL students will love.

1. Making Predictions

(Great practice for speaking, listening and thinking skills)

Learning Goal: To practice speculating and predicting, initiate authentic discussion and generate interest in a topic.

Material: A video with some kind of cliffhanger.

Procedure: Set up the situation. Teach any necessary vocabulary beforehand. Play the video and stop at a suitably exciting place. Have students discuss in pairs or groups what they think happens next. Elicit responses and write them down on the board. Play rest of the video to see if they were right.

2. Describe a Character

Learning Goal: To practice describing people and use language of speculation (could be, looks like, seems like, etc.)

Material: A short clip or still, which clearly shows one person (and key details such as age, clothes, features, mannerisms, voice, etc.) This could be someone in a TV interview, a character in a film and so on.

Procedure: Review descriptive language, and then review or teach expressions of speculation before starting this activity. Play a short clip and get students to ask and answer questions about the character, including: age, job, personality, kind/unkind, intelligent/unintelligent, what hobbies they have, married/single and areas of expertise. To elicit further discussion, they can argue their points in groups justifying their opinions. For example, one student may get up and explain that “he looks like a lawyer because…” and go on to enumerate his lawyer-like qualities

3. Memory test

Learning Goal: To practice listening for meaning and to practice role playing and improvisation.

Material: A clip with a short dialogue between two characters.

Procedure: Students work in pairs, A and B. Tell them that you’re going to play a short clip and Student A must remember what one character said. Student B must focus on the other character and remember what they said. Play the clip once, or more times as necessary. Try to keep this activity light and make it fun. If they can’t remember, improvise! They can then re-enact the scene and check for accuracy with the original at the end.

Videos are a powerful teaching tool as they provide great examples of language structure and function in context. Videos are a wonderful way to teach vocabulary and also a great strategy for encouraging discussion. However, to really tap into the potential of video lessons, these must be thoroughly prepared and the activities must target your goals. If you choose to use a video during your class, make sure you plan your pre-viewing activities (teach vocabulary and work on listening comprehension), viewing activities (setting the purpose for watching or revisiting the video content) and post-viewing activities (an opportunity for students to consolidate what they learned).

I hope you find these ideas helpful and your students will enjoy the class.

References:

http://www.fluentu.com/english/educator/blog/esl-video-activities-lessons-clips/

http://busyteacher.org/3734-english-video-lessons.html

http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/doc/portfolio/opinion7.htm

Engaging Students

Engaging Students

While planning this blog, I thought about how I engage my students in discussions and other speaking and listening activities. After reading several articles about engaging students I realized that looking at the bigger picture would give me more answers and teaching tools. Once a child is engaged in learning in general all language skills will naturally thrive.

When I read and think about modern teaching, I often come across the word “partners”. Students and teachers become partners in learning and thinking, partners in change. A partnership requires a special relationship and, in order to establish it, teachers need to develop awareness, understanding and respect for what matters to our students. “A widening awareness of students’ capacities can lead to new excitement about teaching and enrich pedagogic practices.”(Rudduck & McIntyre, 2007)

Involving students as “partners in change” invites us to get to know every student in more dimensions than just the academic, and support students in playing a more active role in their learning.

The key to understanding our students lies in learning more about their identity or identities. In the case of third culture kids and multilingual kids they have several complex ones.

“…ensuring students are listened to and valued and respected for who they are leads to greater student engagement, which, in turn, leads to greater student achievement.” (Cummins, et al.,2005; Flessa et al., 2010; Leithwood, McAdie, Bascia, & Rodrigue, 2006; Willms, Friesen, & Milton, 2009).

It matters how we interact with our students, and we should know each of their strengths, needs and interests. Through feedback and conversation about various aspects of their lives we build up trust and establish an ongoing dialogue with our students. The information that we learn can be built into our lessons and can help create connections between what matters to a student and our unit concepts and content.

Valuing a student’s voice and choice inspires the students investment in learning and encourages questioning and risk-taking. Teachers and students should create a respectful, solution-seeking classroom culture that leads to the co-creation of knowledge that is based on the social realities of students.

Here are some strategies that we employ in ISPP Elementary while setting the stage for student engagement:

  • Provoke thinking, stimulate discussion, engage students in dialogue;
  • Students engage in productive collaboration;
  • Students are taught to provide quality feedback to peers;
  • Diversity is valued;
  • Social and emotional skills are taught and practiced;
  • Students know how to assess their work using success criteria;
  • Ensure that learning is enjoyable through the choice of teaching technics and methods.

Engaging students in learning is an ongoing process and when challenges emerge we need to remember a formula for success: Be partners in change, learn about your students’ identities and value their voice.

 

Reflecting on the I WONDER Sessions

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The inquiry approach gives our students the freedom to follow their curiosity and it is the teacher’s role to guide them on this exciting journey. At the beginning of the unit after the natural curiosity of our students is stimulated by provocation activities, they are often eager to take the inquiry in a different direction. The teachers, on the other hand, have to follow their lesson plans and make sure the curriculum is being followed. It’s important for teachers to nurture the students’ curiosity and find a balance and make connections between what the students need to learn and what they want to learn. It may not always be possible, however, choosing the right questions can solve this puzzle.

While taking part in the I WONDER sessions, my Grade3 ELLs often need a piece of advice and some guidance in their choice of inquiry direction. To support our students’ motivation and interests we have to carefully listen to their wonderings and help them formulate their questions. The teacher should become a thought partner and assist their discoveries. It’s a great opportunity to teach the students how to ask effective questions.

Subsequently, the outcome of the I WONDER sessions is made more fruitful, for which it is also essential to create criteria for the students, gaging what was the wondering in focus and how valuable are the findings. Students should be provided with opportunities to prove that they learned something and to share their discoveries with others.

Using ideas from the book “Scaffolding for English Language Learners” Anne Goudvis, Stephanie Harvey, Brad Buhrow, Anne Upczak-Garcia, I have created a set of scaffolding cards for my students. This tool supports my students in their attempts to share their discoveries with the rest of the class. When the time comes for my students to put some notes together and get ready for sharing, they can choose a card with sentence starters that they like and write down their thoughts and discoveries and make more connections. Thinking routines like “I used to think…., but now I think…” can be employed as well.

Being guided through the I WONDER sessions, the students come out with a more profound and meaningful understanding of the topic that had initially sparked their curiosity and ultimately they become stronger independent learners.

Discussion as a Common Teaching Strategy.

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Yes, we all know that discussions are one of the most common teaching strategies. A focused and purposeful discussion creates authentic opportunities for the learners to increase perspective-taking, understanding, empathy, and higher-order thinking. All these skills are essential for an IB student.

It is widely used as a natural form of conversation and because it is so common, it seems, often teachers just expect students to be able to discuss.

As an EAL specialist, I often find that discussion (as a teaching strategy) should be taught and facilitated, and not only for ELLs.

“A quality discussion…”, according to the University of Washington’s Center for Instructional Development and Research, “involves purposeful questions prepared in advance, assessment, and starting points for further conversations.” T. Finley.

It might be really beneficial for students, if we, at ISPP elementary, agree upon some discussion standards and consistently teach the students what it means to be an effective discussion group member. It is the same approach that we are using for reading and writing instruction and it makes perfect sense to apply it to speaking and listening.

In order to develop our students discussion skills and engagement in language activities, as well as receive an academic outcome from these activities, we, as teachers, need to carefully prepare and guide our students. This needs to be done through establishing a culture of speaking and discussion practice routines, as well as by supporting our students with language scaffolds and sentence/question starters.

WE have to:

  • Teach our students how to ask various kinds of questions (model it)
  • Choose highly interesting topics for discussion
  • Put thinking before knowing
  • Discuss rules of a discussion and assign roles
  • Explain what a skillful discussion group member does (has ideas, explains idea, puts ideas together, asks other people’s opinion, asks quiet group members what they think, listens actively, praises good ideas and suggestions, is willing to compromise) and practice these behaviors with the students
  • Prepare your scaffolds for a particular topic and language ability group

Here is the original task designed by Epstein (1972) to improve discussion skills. http://web.stanford.edu/class/ed284/csb/4Stage/4Stage.pdf

The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/speaking-listening-techniques/

 

 

Peer Observation in Claire’s Classroom

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Teachers have various attitudes towards walkthroughs and at times find it challenging to put up with the presence of another educator in the classroom. I guess it is different for EAL specialists and classroom teachers as we are always working in a team and being in someone’s classroom is our every day reality. EAL teachers have this daily privilege of expanding their opportunities to learn from our colleagues as we collaborate with several classroom teachers every day. Our opportunities to seek new methods, test those methods and cooperatively reflect on the results are multiple and are weaved into our daily teaching routines.

This week I was co-teaching and observing in Claire Webster’s room, and was so impressed with one of her classes that I decided to write about it here to illustrate how inquiry can support and inspire language learning.

Claire feels very passionate about developing her students’ writing skills and this lesson was all about painting with words and using descriptive language.

To begin with, our students watched a Brain POP video about what is an adjective.

The video provided additional opportunities for ELLs to understand what adjectives are and why and how we use them. I thought Claire made a good choice of an instructional scaffold and an engaging beginning to the lesson.

After the video the students had a chance to practice using adjectives. Claire had created a slide show (another instructional scaffold) with engaging assignments that activated students’ prior knowledge, set off their connection making and were in the students’ zone of proximal development. One of the tasks was to look at a red sports car, try to remember the special features and then describe this car to the police officer, wearing the hat of an accident witness. Another task was to look at the slide with an autumn tree and describe it using our five senses. Each slide provided enough scaffolding and each student had the opportunity to write his/her description in a journal and then share it with the rest of us. All the students were highly motivated and the interaction between the students was maximized. Claire was adaptable but maintained high expectations.

Students’ identities as learners were affirmed as they could carry out the task independently and all of them were very enthusiastic. Some EAL students, and even a student with behavioral issues, were so engaged and confident that they tried on the leader’s and educator’s hats.

All Claire’s language learners had an opportunity to extend their vocabulary, as when we discussed the sports car some Tier 2 and even Tier 3 words were added to the conversation by Claire and the native speaking students. When we described the autumn tree cultural dialogue took place and yet another opportunity was provided for our ELLs and the children who did not experience the 4 seasons to become more knowledgeable and in control of their language means.

That is how in 45 minutes our students explored the world of describing words, were able to practice applying their knowledge in various engaging contexts and enjoy sharing thinking and learning with peers.

How Can Inquiry Support and Inspire Language Learning?

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During our PD session in September our Inquiry Group discussed certain questions that we would like to find the answers to. One of them was – How can inquiry support and inspire language learning?

Inquiry-based teaching is a pedagogical approach that invites students to explore academic content by posing, investigating, and answering questions. Inquiry puts students’ questions at the center of the curriculum, and places just as much value on the component skills of research as it does on knowledge and understanding of content.

How do we make sure that all our ELLs benefit from this approach? This is a crucial question for many educators.

The role of the teacher in an inquiry-based classroom is not to provide direct instruction to students, but to support students in their efforts to generate their own content-related questions and guide the investigation that follows.

“When teachers choose to use an inquiry-based approach, they commit to provide rich experiences that provoke students’ thinking and curiosity; to plan carefully-constructed questioning sequences; to manage multiple student investigations at the same time; to continuously assess the progress of each student as they work toward their solution or final product; and to respond in-the-moment to students’ emerging queries and discoveries.” (2008, Center for Inspired Teaching. • 1436 U St NW, Suite 400 • Washington, DC 20009 • www.inspiredteaching.org)

The bad news is that our new ELLs may not have enough language to undertake the necessary research and effectively participate in learning experiences. To remedy the lack of language, EAL and mainstream teachers have to provide lots of scaffolding for each activity.

However, the good news is that the inquiry approach awakens natural curiosity in the children and triggers the intuitive process of discovering the world around them, provides an authentic and meaningful context for learning languages. Curiosity motivates our students, and the most challenging task of inspiring and turning them into explorers and knowledge seekers is half accomplished. Now that the flame has been sparked we as teachers need to keep it burning.

According to Jim Cummins, in order to be successful in engaging the ELLs in developing literacy, communication, thinking and transdisciplinary skills, teachers should focus on four main goals:

  • Support the students throughout their learning journey and develop their ability to understand and use academic language through specific instructional strategies (scaffolding) and cooperative learning;
  • Activate their prior experience and current knowledge;
  • Affirm their identities;
  • Extend across the curriculum their knowledge of, and control over, language .

Scaffold meaning and cooperative learning

In ISPP we are lucky to have all the strategies that V. Rojas and K. Murdoch shared with us. Plus we all collaborate with experienced colleagues and are constantly exchanging ideas, strategies and engagements. We use visual, demonstration, dramatization, acting out meaning, interactive and collaborative tasks and the explicit explanation of words, linguistic structures and discourse patterns, various visible thinking routines and complex instruction strategies.

Activate prior experience/build background knowledge

There are numerous activities and visible thinking routines that we all use to help our students make connections to their previous experiences and existing knowledge. Google Translate and Google Earth are being actively used to facilitate discussions, create understanding maps, and activate students’ prior knowledge.

Affirm Identity

Jim Cummins says that affirming identity is crucial for literacy development. “Teacher’s instructional philosophy: everything has to relate to the identity of the students, children have to see themselves in every aspect of their work at school.” (Jim Cummins)

It seems that in this area we could still do more for our ELLs. We should give all our students more opportunities to popularize their cultures, be proud of their languages, share unique valued experiences and promote identities of competence among our students. A collaborative process of working in a team allows the EAL students to explore the role of being an educator and lead certain activities.

Extend language

During our planning sessions with the classroom teachers we discuss unpacking difficult concepts, technical words, sophisticated grammatical constructions. I also use my EFL classes to revise or find another way of explaining the challenging material. With the help of educational videos and Google translate we are often able to focus on the academic subject of the unit and begin to understand and use the meta-language. I carefully choose the strategies and scaffolds (summary frames, substitution maps, various sentence starters, etc) that will make it possible for the student with limited language means to participate in learning engagement and be part of cooperative learning and extend control over language.

Teams and the 4 Cs for Learning

teamwork-gears2

After reading an article about the four Cs for learning (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking), that was about student learning and ways to enhance and support it, I reflected a bit on my own learning.

Sometimes our minds make unexpected connections and mine wandered off to thinking about our professional teams, how we collaborate and how the four Cs might help our own growth.

I look at this list of 4Cs through the lens of an EAL specialist who has to work with two different teams of homeroom teachers. There are six very different colleagues I have to collaboratively teach with. We have to be effective in our collaboration and absolutely must build a rapport with each other as the progress of our ELLs depends on this. We know about all the challenges our EAL students have to face and by no means want to add to the list. My job is to support and scaffold and in order to be successful in these tasks and help my students enjoy their school life, I need to team up with their classroom teachers.

As educators we also have to collaborate with various groups of colleagues during the school year and develop our creative collaborative teaching abilities because it is one of the most important professional skills in our field. Our new inquiry SPELTAC group is yet a new circle we have to be professionally productive within.

In an ever evolving international environment we all are in the same boat in terms of having to deal with meeting and working with various cultures, personality types and professional ethics, while the team members change every year.

I decided to share some of my ideas and strategies that have worked throughout my time at ISPP for getting the most out of this ongoing process of exchange and enrichment.

Here is how I am applying the 4 Cs with my teams and would be very interested to learn about what works for you.

Here are the magic Cs that I personally found very helpful:

 Communication

Communication is the fundamental value for any team. Without communication, team members have no idea where other members are, and cannot adapt to the changing situations in the classroom. In interpersonal relationships be thoughtful but honest and talk about issues, vibes, looks and whatever else bothers you. Be an effective listener. Do not forget about the cultural background of your team members. Learn more about each other’s cultures. Be open about your own mistakes and considerate about the mistakes of others. Lots of teachers share the thinking that the most important trait for effective team teaching is the ability to laugh. Enjoy laughing together.

Collaboration

As if we did not read and hear enough about it… And still – plan together, share and discuss resources and strategies. Work positively and ethically;

Be open-minded and time conscious when planning. Share your opinion with the team. Be flexible but at the same time focus on the goals and determine what must be done to achieve the team goals. Find out about the experts on your team and learn from each other. Reflect on the flop lessons/projects and see your mistakes as a way to grow.

Creativity

Creativity is bound to be a force of good. In order to be effective educators and collaborators we must be creative. That is the most enjoyable and yet demanding part of co-teaching. Everybody has tremendous creative capacities.

We all should believe in our own creativity and the creativity of others, be risk-takers and appreciate constructive criticism.

Creativity helps us to solve difficult problems, ask better questions, discover and invent possible answers. Creativity of the team is enhanced by collaborative knowledge sharing practices. Most original thinking comes through collaboration and through the stimulation of other people’s ideas. So there’s no doubt that collaboration, diversity, the exchange of ideas, and building on other people’s achievements are at the heart of the creative process.

In order to achieve our own best work at a personal level we should connect with a particular medium or set of materials or processes that excite us. We need to find something that resonated with us, that we have a personal aptitude for. If it does not happen naturally work on it! Practice seeing positive (useful, exciting, insightful) features in every task you do.

If you combine a personal aptitude with a passion for that same thing, then you go into a different place creatively.  

Critical Thinking

Each PYP teacher should be an expert in applying these skills and yet many of us do not live what we preach because it is a challenging task. Analyze your relationship with your colleagues. Develop your ability for reasoning (you will be surprised how quickly people will then agree with your plan). Solve problems and make decisions using the balanced approach of changing hats, leading and following as required. Focus on moral values when you have to make decisions. Always evaluate and reflect to correct your mistakes or celebrate your successes.

Here is my thinking on how we can support each other during our team teaching and team planning. Do you have your own recipe for success? Please share your knowledge with us!

 

Best,

Tatiana

 

Connectivism and Decision Making

Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

(G. Siemens, 2004)

While planning for our current G 3 UoI “Decisions” I thought about these words of George Siemens. In the process of pondering how the theory of connectivism can facilitate our teaching during this unit (given that decision making is a key learning process in connectivism), I decided that one of the main goals of this unit will be to develop the ability of our students to critically examine situations and new data and make intelligent decisions at their level.

Our central idea is “The decisions we make together impact how we cooperate and organize ourselves”. With this in mind, I created a sorting out collaborative learning activity for my students.

First we talked about our right and ability to make decision and discussed the situations when our decisions were different from other people’s. Here is a video that I found very helpful.

Next we started talking about universal moral values and how our good or our poor decisions affect others. How we can become part of a great team or loose all our friends because of our choice of actions. I used a story “Jamaica’s Find” to provoke a discussion on decisions and consequences.

Photo on 8-15-16 at 12.52 PM

During our next class I offered my students the sorting out activity mentioned above. All my students worked in groups of 3 (mixed ability). I wrote the 8 steps of the decision-making process on cards and gave them a couple of blank cards (in case some of my high-flyers wanted to add their own steps), mixed up all the cards and asked the students to sequence them from first to last.

 

Finally the most interesting Photo on 8-15-16 at 12.51 PM #2part of the activity began: the presentations. I did not assign the roles and they all chose the presenters without my guidance. It was very insightful to observe the group collaboration and dynamics. Each group had to present their order of steps of the decision -making process considering the diversity of opinions and maintaining connections and cultivating new ones (two other main principles of connectivism). Needless to say they all did it at their age group level, however, it was obvious that some students were ahead of others and enjoyed exploring the decision making steps, while others were passive and expected to follow the suggested option.

This activity highlighted the needs of my students. Those children who did not have any thinking experience in decision-making and probably got used to just doing what they were told immediately stood out. Hopefully these students will begin to realize that that it is an important life skill to be able to change roles in academic and social environments, and often challenging yourself serves you better than playing safe.

Tatiana

 

Unpacking Connectivism for Myself

In order to meet the learning needs of our students the best way we can, educators constantly have to explore new theories in our field and face the challenges  associated with integrating these in the classroom.

When I first heard about connectivism, I immediately wanted to learn more about it, consider all pros and cons and find out what was my colleagues experience with it.

The first question that I had was what connectivism means for teaching and learning.

The answer to this was that: “Knowledge doesn’t exist “in the heads” of learners or instructors but through networked connections.”

Another interesting point for me is that the process of learning becomes more important than the final product. I witnessed the tremendous advantages of such an approach, while my own daughter happily sailed on the IB ship through the sea of 12 unforgettable years. The most amazing skill that she acquired was learning how to learn and that skill had never failed her in her life.

The second question I had was what qualities/skills I need to develop to become a valued team member of the connectivism community. I found the answer on George Siemens’ blog “Elearnspace”  where he defines six key skills today’s educators need:

  1. Technical Competence—Proactively engaging new educational technologies. “Using any tool well requires a blend of technical competence and awareness of pedagogical opportunities.”
  2. Experimentation—Blending and borrowing teaching methods and tools. “Educators should constantly be experimenting with new technologies and pedagogies, refining their learning approach to constantly changing contexts.”
  3. Autonomy—Providing learners with an autonomous learning space. “Much like every educator is a researcher, every student needs to be a teacher –exploring, engaging, defining her/his own learning.”
  4. Creation—Learners need to create to engage in active learning. “Creation does two things:  1) Ideas morph when they are implemented. 2) Learner-produced creations re-center learning activity in a course.”
  5. Play—Exploring big ideas. “Simple exploration with loose boundaries.”
  6. Developing a capacity for complexity—Adaptability in the face of uncertainty. “Most answers don’t exist in advance of engaging with the phenomenon. Answers and questions are not like lego-blocks that need to be clicked together. Instead, answers are more like a painting or canvas in response to a problem landscape.”

The third question that I had was what my action plan will be if I decide to experiment and explore.

After reading several blogs and learning about what other teachers around the world are doing the action plan was formed in my head. The great thing is that I have already made the first steps and have come along on the journey to adapting connectivism to my learning environment for the development of my students and myself. My future plan consists, at the moment, of the three most important steps:

1. Continue blogging;

2. Join Twitter;

3. Join MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Such courses most closely embody the theory within connectivism. In my case, to begin with, it is “SPELTAC”.

I decided to share my thinking and unpack my personal learning process in my first blog post as I am sure some of my colleagues may have the same questions and I will be glad if they find this post helpful.

Best,

Tatiana