Well, What Did I Learn?

Here is my final reflection video for my ECMP 355 class. I hope you enjoy watching it

My Final Reflection ECMP 355 – YouTube.

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What is the Value of Health Education?

Through the use of twitter, I came across a video of youth speaking out about diabetes via Shelley Barthel, an education professor at the U of R. Shelley taught my section the EHE and EPE 310 courses. Throughout both of the courses Shelley continuously challenged us, pushing us to dig deeper into our thoughts. Well, here she is again, pushing me to critically analyze my philosophies. In our class in EHE 310, we had many meaningful and interesting discussions regarding the value of health education in schools. How do schools value health? How much time do they spent on health in the classroom? How much should schools value health education? Should health be above math and ELA? All of these questions are ones that as future educators, we should be thinking about.

When I was watching this video and started to consider what this video meant to me, it reminded me  of a google survey that one of my peers, Lindsay Fuchs did. Her survey was on which subject is most important in the classroom. Interestingly enough, her survey found that 0% of us who did her survey, all future educators, put health at the top of the list. While watching this video it also reminded me of the Social Determinants of Health and their influence on daily life for all individuals. This is an interesting topic and I would love to hear your thoughts. How much should schools value health education in the classroom?

Raise Your Voice against Diabetes

Taking a Stand Against Standardized Testing

Recently, some students and their schools have been taking a stand against standardized testing in the schools. They have been protesting outside of Pearson Headquarters, the publishers of many of the textbooks you would be familiar with. Even though this is an event which is occurring in the United States and not Canada, I still believe that the implications are relevant. I believe that it is important that the students and the teachers are the ones who stand up for themselves. Too many decisions regarding what goes on in schools are made by individuals who rarely step foot in schools. The only way to get support from the larger public is to make them aware of the consequences of standardized testing, so they too can understand that we need to be focusing on learning experiences that benefit the students – which is clearly not standardized testing. Important decisions regarding the government who will influence the decisions in our own province regarding testing and our students future are made during the election time. If those who are not a part of the school system are not aware of the consequences of testing on our students, how will they know not to vote for those who support it? We need to stand up for the students and make the public aware, just as these individuals are here!

Schools Boycott Latest Round Of Standardized Testing – YouTube.

Educating Our Obstacles

Two days ago, my blog post discussed the teacher in Alberta who was suspended for giving students zeros. The news article that I found, agreed with the teacher. It was indicated that by not giving students zeros, teachers are simply letting the students off the hook. Over my years as a pre-service teacher, I have been creating my own educational philosophy. Many influential and amazing professors at the University of Regina have helped in doing so, and influenced me for the better. There have been many times that my thoughts and beliefs have been challenged. Over the years this has influenced me to become very critical – over absolutely everything that I do, see, hear, and learn about. Although this sometimes gets me into trouble –  for the reason that I seem to have an opinion on everything, it also is what helps me continue to create my educational philosophy and understand what I believe my job to be as an educator.

In my opinion, there are many instances where teachers lose track of what and why they are engaging in assessment. This concept of testing students has become so “normalized” in schools that we don’t even think twice about it. What is its purpose? What are the benefits for the students? How is it going to help my students grow? I must be clear in that, I am not saying that I do not think that assessment is important. Assessment is the backbone to many aspects of teaching. However, what I am saying is that there are times that we have lost sight of why we are doing it. In my Assessment course that I took last semester, I had a professor, Dr. Marc Spooner, who made a comment about assessment that will always stick with me. He simply questioned our class to think about what we are trying to assess every time that we are assessing and evaluating a student. In regard to the handing out zeros policy, what was the teacher trying to assess? This is a very important question to consider when making a judgement about the situation. Was the teaching trying to assess the student’s ability to hand something in on time? Or, was he trying to assess the content of the work? From the reading that I have done, the teacher was trying to assess the content. Therefore, I do not agree with him giving the students’ zeros. What kind of learning does this provide for the student? Did the teacher take into consideration the context? What was going on in the students’ life that impacted whether or not that assignment was handed in? Now to these comments, you will hear many people say “in the real world you are not given second chances.” When I hear that comment, I have to beg to differ. When you are working in a work context and you have a deadline what do you do as an individual to meet that deadline? What are the indicating factors in your life that allow you to meet that deadline? Has not one person ever gone to a boss and said, “Things are crazy at home, the children are sick, I am sorry but I cannot meet the deadline.” Has there never been a University student who has emailed the professor with a reason as to why their work will not be handed in on time; and then when that professor responds by saying that there will be deductions made, I guarantee 90% of the time that student complains about how the professor does not realize that they “have a life.” I could go on and on with instances where someone in “real life” has been given a second chance, and I challenge you to think about if you have ever required one. Therefore, I must argue that it is not handing assignments in on time that is going to affect whether or not a student succeeds in their life however, I can bet that continually receiving zeros will.

A peer of mine linked as a comment on my initial blog post a Facebook comments thread of many thoughts regarding this topic. Some very scary comments are made here, I suggest you check them out. When I first read these comments, I was shocked. I was shocked by the amount of people negatively commenting about the teachers and how they are the reason that the up and coming generation is “lazy.” However, I had to contain myself and put myself in those people’s shoes. What type of education have these individuals making these comments had? Have they had the opportunity to have an education as I have been so fortunate to, with some amazing professors who have directly impacted my ways of thinking and helped me to be the pre-service teacher that I am? I question myself these things, and try to put myself in these other individuals shoes because I wonder if I had not gone through this education program what my opinion would be? Everyone is in titled to an opinion. What our job is as future educators, is to educate our own obstacles (individuals)  about our beliefs. Sometimes that is all it will take, is those individuals being able to see the other side to a situation, being able to see why giving students zeros is not  the best decision. Many people will not have their opinions changed, just as I do not think that my own opinion on this topic will change. However, we must try. In addition, think of all your future students that you will be teaching. If you can affect them, then maybe when they are older, the kind of comments that we will be seeing regarding a topic such as this will be significantly different.

Another blogger who I have become very fond of reading their posts, has their opinions on this topic as well. I suggest you check them out, some very insightful points made by this gentleman. As always I love to hear thoughts and opinions, especially if they are contradicting. How do you think that we should go forth with this understanding that there are many individuals in society who believe that zeros should be handed out?

The Gene Pool of Education

If you have not seen this video, I highly recommend it. I found it to be quite fitting as lately I have found myself referring to what has become ‘normalized’ in our education system, and how to fight those concepts. So many interesting ideas within this video, two that really caught my attention were the reasoning behind separating students into levels that we refer to as grades simply because of their age, as well as divergent thinking.

Side Note: How could story mapping like this be used in the classroom? I think that it could be a powerful tool – I mean, I was engaged the whole twelve minutes.

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms – YouTube.

Do adults negatively influence children’s stereotypes?

Today as I was working on a paper for my EPSY course regarding students with exceptionalities, I came across a TED Talks episode which I found to be quite interesting. The speaker, Aimee Mullins begins the talk by describing a presentation she gave to young students about her prosthetic legs and the opportunities and abilities that she has because of them. However, she discusses how she made a deal with the teachers to be able to see the students alone in the room before any adults were allowed to come in, she did this because she did not want the students to be ‘tainted’ by the actions of the adults. She did not want them to hold back on their curiosity because of what they would be influenced to think is appropriate and respectful. . . “And just like that I went from being a woman that these kids would have been trained to see as disabled to somebody that had potential that their bodies didn’t have yet, somebody that might even be super abled. Interesting.” (Feb. 2009). And I indeed do find that to be very interesting. I have posted the link below to the episode.

Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs | Video on TED.com.