New Culture of Learning
Right now a 4th grade classroom learning environment consists of:
- The teacher giving instruction with some guided time
- Students completing independent work
- Students working in workstations where they review previous skills
- Conducting small group instruction (reteaching or giving students higher level instruction for those who already mastered the skill/standard)
There is not enough time where students can interact with one another, create and explore their learning. In the new learning environment that I want to create is where students are free to create projects, collaborate freely with their peers and where they can explore their learning. This will be an entirely new learning environment for my students and for the school. To create this environment, it is going to take some time to adjust. Students are going to need a lot of reinforcement and reminding. There is also going to be a lot of practicing on how we can move from station to station as purposed in my innovation plan. They will need to know what are the do’s and dont’s. It would also help if they practices are developed on how to get the the instructional video at home or at school.
I wrote down that I myself will be a challenge because even though I am open to having a different classroom environment, it is still a very daunting task to take on. To make sure that everyone around you is giving you support, a chance to make something better is difficult to take on. The pressure that I will take on, will at times be too much. This is will be the first time that a teacher will make a drastic change in their classroom. Many administrators and parents will not be open-minded. They are used to see the traditional style of classrooms, where students are sitting at their desk and the teacher is at the front or walking around while teaching and having workstations. I will have to take on their misconceptions about non-traditional learning and at times it will make me feel like wanting to go back to the more traditional learning environment. So I will have to challenge myself all the time to keep with the new learning environment when times get tough.
Administration, Parents, Students
I will need to keep administration and parents updated on how using technology is benefiting students learning. I will also have to meet with administration and give parents information about the new learning environment before beginning of the school year. To make sure students are watching the videos at home I will have an open communication with students and their parents. I will also have a plan for those students who are not able to watch the videos at home. I will talk to the parents to see if their child can come before school or stay after school to watch the videos. After I get all the information about those students I will create office hours before school and/or after school so my students can watch the videos. I will also create a system where students will be held accountable for watching the videos and have communication with parents when their child does not watch the videos.
All these are going to be challenges that I will have throughout my first year of implementing this innovation. I will need to keep administration and parents updated on how using technology is benefiting students learning. I will also have to meet with administration and give parents information about the new learning environment before beginning of the school year. To make sure students are watching the videos at home I will have an open communication with students and their parents. I will also have a plan for those students who are not able to watch the videos at home. I will talk to the parents to see if their child can come before school or stay after school to watch the videos. After I get all the information about those students I will create office hours before school and/or after school so my students can watch the videos. I will also create a system where students will be held accountable for watching the videos and have communication with parents when their child does not watch the videos.
Impact on the school
This new learning environment will impact my school greatly. The administrators before where very open about creating new learning environments that were more student-orientated and involved technology, but now with new pressure on getting students to perform high on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment and Academic Readiness). They are more interested in keeping the traditional environment and making sure students will perform. At the end of my first year, I am hoping that the administrators will realize that they old traditional ways are of the old days and it’s time for us to evolve our learning environments. We need to change with the times and make sure students are getting a better environment that’ll allow them to create and collaborate in the classroom. We all know the different learning styles and the most common are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. With the new culture students will be able to do all of those. There will not be any students left behind as there are now. Once administrators and fellow teachers see the great change they will be lining up to do the same in their classroom.
I believe that my innovation plan will influence my learning philosophy greatly. Just like Dr. Harapnuik said, “ We say that we want to change, but do we change?” We all talk big game, but when it comes down to it we are also afraid of change. Every year I have to remind myself that the way I learn is not the same as others. I need a constantly remind myself that children of this era need a different learning environment than what I had at their age. My innovation plan is broad enough that I have the flexibility to change the environment if needed be. Yes, my students are going to use more technology in the classroom, but there are still going to have instruction at times where I need to be ‘lecturing.’ My innovation plan will still hold elements of the traditional learning environment, but will now have elements of technology that will enhance students’ learning.
Innovation Plan Impact on Learning Environment
My innovation plan will immensely impact my classroom learning environment. Students are going from previous years of having their teachers teach at the board while they are sitting at their desk taking notes. Going from limited time working with peers on assignments, not having to do group projects, not being able to create their own projects using any type of presentation, and not being able to further their learning in the classroom. Students will also go from having limited time with small group instruction and little teacher interaction on one-on-one to getting more teacher time. Students are going to be able to come to the classroom with question already in hand about the new standard/skill that are learning. They are going to be able to talk and learn from their peers and at times get an outsider (experts) help on their projects. Students are going to get an opportunity to explore more of their learning. Students are not going to be limited any longer in their learning. This new environment will encourage them to be a life long learner.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: Author.