Irregular Vowel Movements

A distance education teacher making her way in the microcosm of Barrhead.

Beliefs and Theories About Learning, Assessment, and Teaching

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There’s a project at work that I’m very interested in helping out with. It’s quite complicated, but the basic gist of it is to produce an intuitive open source resource for teachers to use as an educational resource. Again, this is a very basic description, so I know I’m not doing it justice, but the exciting aspect (ha-ha) of the whole thing is where the resources that will be available are coming from… That is to say, they are non-traditional teaching resources, but non-traditional in a sense that makes one face-palm and think, “why the heck didn’t they think of this sooner?”  It’s very smart.

I have a variety of thoughts about approaches and ruminations I’ve had about the visualized finished product, but there’s something missing in translation for me, as suddenly the whole project seems much more complicated in nature than I’d originally surmised. It’s not a bad thing, and several ideas I have are still relevant, but reading the project invitational notes was eye-opening. 

The lead of the project (Wiks) has called in a very savvy contractor to help build this project, and admittedly, after reading through the materials, I just want to do the project to hang around with someone who thinks like she does– I imagine it would be very educational, although on the same token, my own usefulness is not therefore guaranteed… Wanting to just learn, and being too worried about my novice to contribute while I am learning is not one of my more redeeming qualities, I realize, but moving on! 

I have hesitations in what I’m seeing that I can only assume at this point, spring out of my own ignorance. I have this stupid metaphor that is bouncing around in my head about powdered milk production vs. simply milking a cow for a glass of milk– it’s fairly irrelevant and erroneous thinking, but while I understand that ‘simple’ comes from out of complicated planning, scaffolding and foresight — how much is too much, or is there such thing as too much? 

When I prune my fruit trees, I face a similar dilemma. This year is my second year doing my own pruning, and I am seeing the mistakes from the first year– I got too complicated in my thinking and perception of the growth I wanted to accommodate in the tree, and logicked it, figuratively, to death.  As a result, this year I have a whole year of growth in the tree to cut back on and re-assess as I created an over-complicated sequence of events in the branch growth of the tree, despite my best intentions. I had a monster yield last year, but the integrity of the tree was somewhat compromised. My yield this year is going to suck goats, but that is neither here nor there.  

I’m going to participate in the initiation reflection in my own lurker-fantastique kind of way– I’m not certain I will be able to commit the amount of time required, though if I could conjure the time, I definitely would. These are the questions I’m going to reflect on in the next week or so if I have a spare moment.  

1. What theories guide your thinking and doing in your face-to-face or online classroom? 

2. Do you ‘pay attention’ to your theories when you design and teach? 

a. Is there some incongruity between your theories and your practice that you need to work on? 

3. What do you ‘push back on’ in your system? Does your ‘push back’ align with your theories of learning, assessment and/or teaching? 


Author: Kyla Coulman

English teacher at ADLC.

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