Monday, November 30, 2009

Whose Job Is It???

The teaching of the NETS and AASL is the job of everyone in the school community; from classroom teachers to tech people to parents and administrators; and in an ideal meta-cognitive world, students will also assist with instructing and peer teaching their fellow students.

Posts from other course participants
talked about the importance of embedding standards in the courses we teach. One post drew the analogy of ESL learners needing to learn nglish within the context of each subject: this allows a more authentic learning experience, as students will encounter the concepts and at the same time seize the vocabulary that they need to know in order to express themselves. It doesn't make sense to try and separate these out, and in the same way it doesn't make sense to separate out technology standards from the subjects where technology skills are being utilized.

The new middle school math curriculum this year runs off the engine of the Connected Math Program. When I first started to teach this program I was amazed at the amount of "describing, explaining, clarifying and reflecting" that was required. My first question was "where's the math?" ESL learners were horrified; students who had always been "strong" math students were suddenly finding themselves confronting a poor grade in this subject. For some, math was the one curricular area that they could perform well in, without having to take on the extra hurdle of language.

Now, almost a semester in, I am seeing tremendous growth in many of these ESL learners as they take on the challenge of using language accurately to explain their math thinking. The language skills that they are picking up in math will also be transferred and carried over to all other areas of their academic life. In effect, math will be supporting humanities as well as other subjects (and vice versa).

By the same token, I think it is impossible to separate out the technology standards from the classes we teach. By embedding the standards into my day-to-day use of technology, I am making the learning more meaningful and more significant.

1 comment: