From A is for Affordance « An A-Z of ELT. the following questions were presented:
How can you replicate [learning affordances] in a typical classroom? How can you turn the classroom into a hike through the snow, or a walk around the island? How can classroom talk achieve the degree of contingency that Crusoe and Friday achieved?
As a language teacher, I think in terms of how might I create cognitive, physical, and emotional affordances for each-as-every student. The short answer in how to replicate affordances in the language classroom is by engaging students in opening up the content, process, and products in ways that allow them to make informed decisions and take responsibility for their own learning. This requires constant feedback loops that stem not only from me (their teacher), but also the students themselves, their peers, and other experts that extend beyond the four walls of the classroom. One example might be teaching an academic writing class.
Using a public wiki allows the writer to openly choose a topic and produce an essay, report, thesis, etc. where feedback loops emerge from anyone at any given time. That is, public spaces used to complement face-to-face classes (i.e., blended learning) provide a key affordance: feedback loops that exist across time and space. As a web tool, a wiki provides an affordance for more engaging, effective, and efficient feedback loops. Since anyone can change the wiki, anyone can provide feedback. And since each revision of the wiki is saved, the writing process is preserved and made explicit as well.
…we have to admit that a gap exists between what our students actually understand and are able to do, and what we actually end up reporting (via Come and sit beside me and I’ll tell you what I think! | Canadian Education Association (CEA)).
I’m not sure I’d consider it a gap between student understanding and what a student can do because student understanding is in fact, what a student can do. When I assess a learner (i.e., student understandings), essentially, the entire process depends on what evidence the student is providing. I see formative assessment where there is less of a boundary between assessment and instruction as the avenue for providing the “learning ecosystem” needed in order for students to perform in a way that provides the evidence required to make reasonable inferences on student achievement. The following questions were posed:
What are the assessment strategies and tools that allow us to collect the most accurate picture of student understanding? Which methods of assessment actually widen the gap between student and teacher? Which come closest to allowing us to “sit beside” our students? Does any of this really matter when it comes to quality teaching and learning?
Formative assessment - as opposed to summative assessment - allows educators and students to “sit beside each other” as well as students themselves sitting beside each other in a more cooperative learning community. Specifically, formative assessment that is “baked in” to the following approaches are in order: questioning techniques (aka Socratic Method or instructional conversations), performance tasks, projects, and problem-based learning. These approaches, methods, whatever, provide higher-order thinking that is more likely linked to leading learners to think outside of the box and to be more creative in how they interact with people and materials (i.e., forming a socio-technical organization based on the principles of semiotics).
Having more formative assessment than summative (and we can have both) is the best way to provide the constant feedback loops necessary for all educational stakeholders to grow and learn from the educative experience that a classroom can provide. But I feel that teachers are in the best position to be advocates for working with all other educational stakeholders in making it all happen. This is only possible if teachers are free to take risks, make mistakes, and share their successes and failures through open and constructive discourse.
The Social Search experiment from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs
Share your Search. Rediscover search through your friends and community on the all new social search experiment from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs.
One Big Tip To Help You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Photo Credit: Will Winter, @WillWinterPhoto, www.willwinter.ca
You may be familiar with the cultural observation that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death, meaning that at a funeral most of us would prefer to be in the casket rather than delivering the eulogy.
While fear can be a life-saver in certain situations, listening to our fears and allowing them to dictate our actions often falls into the category of ‘stinking thinking’ (See The 3 Most Important Questions Socrate…
No Chinese Spoken Here
I just heard a report on a Beijing radio station about a nearby town being turned into an English-only enclave. Not believing my ears, I looked it up online and found that, sure enough, there is such a plan afoot. This report from People’s Daily Online (originally published In Shanghai Daily) (December 16, 2011) is succinct enough that I will quote the whole article:
Beijing’s rural village recast as English town
Beijing’s suburban Miyun County is going to build a large European-style town w…