Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer Break is I have to think

The greatest growth I’ve experienced as a teacher came last year. This was the year I began to blog about my experiences in my classroom I found that I was able to work my way through most of my issues and really REFLECT on what worked and what didn’t. The greatest impact came from comments that colleagues made on my blog. These questions and thoughts led me into deeper thought. I became a researcher in my own classroom. I watched what was going on, made predictions, tested hypothesis and continually changed what I was doing to match the impact in my classroom. I believe that this is a very constructivist way to teach. I didn’t just settle for a copy of someone’s lesson plan and leave in that day. I didn’t rely on textbooks (my students can’t read them any way). I relied on what I was experiencing, what I was learning from my colleagues, and what I could find from research. As log as we are talking about cognition and learning, we might as well talk about Vygotsky. Through my blogging I made my own learning about teaching social. Vygosky writes: "Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals" (Vygotsky 1978).

This is the understanding that I have constructed from the experiences that I have had.

While reading The Case for the Constructivist Classroom I experienced a paradigm shift. Piaget is very focused on the individual and their cognitive structures…I didn’t see him making connections to the social experiences that students may be having. “The growth of knowledge is the result of individual constructions made by the learner” (Brooks & Brooks 25).

I reorganized my understanding of creating understanding.

While I made these connections by communicating with others in a social setting (by blogging), the change in my teaching came from the individual level. I may have discussed and researched changing a practice, but the change was individual. I had to take these pieces from conversations and my own experience to create new meaning. I thought blogging only worked because it was social. But, I missed the fact that we construct ideas and socialize with them thus making an individual change. I think that Kant would agree according to The Case for the Constructivist Classroom, analysis of actions lead to new knowledge just as experience generates new knowledge (23).

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