I was impressed by New York science teacher, Greg Benedis-Grab, in his blog. In his latest entry dated January 4, 2012 entitled “getting inspired by your studens” , he discussed how resourceful students can be and also how to be flexible in the classroom.Mr.Bendis-Grab made the point of how planning can interfere with spontaniety but points out that.
If you have a clear understanding of your unit goals then flexibility can be built in without compromising the Science Standards or the scope and sequence of your science program.
I agree that planning is important and when the teacher is prepared he/she can accomodate changes to the lesson.Rhizomatic learning ,although being spontaneous ,does not exclude planning. From this blog I have strengthened my belief in planning and using students’ ideas and experiences to drive my lessons.There are a variety of experiences described by the blogger and science teachers can learn from his lessons .
Working with students
I am in training to become an Earth Science teacher in high school. I enjoyed the Geology courses I did at college and I hope that I can transfer my enthusiasm for the subject to my students. The education courses I did regarding teaching methods, psychology, philosophy etc. were informative and sometimes interesting but I was really impressed in the literacy course I did last semester. Dr. Joseph Tillman, who taught the course, brought an entirely new perspective to teaching. His classes were lively, and well- planned. He tried at all times to incorporate the use of computers in his lessons and his assignments were all computer related. I am writing this because I would like to use some of his ideas and style of teaching in my teaching this spring semester. My teaching would involve both traditional and current methods of instruction. I like the saying from Dr. Tillman that” you cannot teach 21st century kids using 20th century methods”. I think my teaching would involve constant adaptation to changing situations using as much of the current technology that is available to my students.
In response to the questions at the end of the activity in the blog about rhizomatic learning,
1.Does it mesh with what I’ve described here? 2.Are there goals that you want to accomplish that would not be served by a rhizomatic approach? 3.Is there a way to change what you are doing to make it more rhizomatic? 4.What impact would that have? Good? Bad?
- I expect that my teaching will mesh to some extent with the rhizomatic idea since the ideas I present in class will stimulate student to find out more and explore new and related topics. The idea that learning should be a collaborative approach is not new and Dave Cormier is expressing an original idea here (PAULO FRIERE, VYGOTZSKY). These ideas are currently employed by teachers in New York City Schools.
- There must be some structure to guide students because there is always the threat of standardized testing and if students are allowed to “wander off” exploring ideas that interest them, then they may be preoccupied with important research which has only a slight bearing to the content that must be covered for these exams.
- There are ways to make teaching rhizomatic and they involve using a lot of questioning and the Socratic approach where one answer leads to another and involved inquiry.
- I feel that these changes can have a beneficial impact but as I stated before, I will have to always keep in mind the syllabus that is set for the Earth Science Regents exam to keep my students on track.