What Does It Mean To Be A 21st Century Teacher?

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What Does It Mean To Be A 21st Century Teacher? by Mind Map: What Does It Mean To Be A 21st Century Teacher?

1. Your Professional Identity

1.1. Apprenticeship Of Observation

1.1.1. In Kelli and Stephanie Ewasiuk's articles in ATA magazine (2012), it is evident that an apprenticeship of observation is not sufficient in preparing pre-service teachers for their first teaching job. It gives a false sense of confidence before entering the field of teaching. The job description of teachers is ever-changing, evident in Kelle Ewasiuk's article, Table 1 (2012), when comparing a typical workday in the 1990's to 2012. With this constantly changing workload, it is hard for pre-service teachers to grasp the demands of the profession before emergence into the career. As someone who has a teacher in the family (my mother), I have helped her preparing her classroom before September, putting together book orders, and creating wall displays, but this by no means means I know what goes into teaching...that's what I'm here for! There is much more to teaching than many realize, which is why we attend University, to gain knowledge that general society does not know, which is why teaching is deemed a profession.

1.1.2. Apprenticeship of Observation: There are five main concepts in the Pugach article (2006) concerning the "apprenticeship of observation." This revolves around the idea that we gain a level of understanding about the profession before becoming a pre-service teacher, through our time spent in schools. This can give a false sense of confidence in those entering the career, as it is not an accurate representation of teaching (Pugach Lecture, 2014). The five concepts discussed in the Pugach article are: Our Experiences as A Student: Our knowledge of teaching is incomplete before entering the profession preparation. We have an idea about the career, but we do not know about all that happens behind the scenes of classroom preparation and delivering lessons (Pugach, 2006). Experience Working In Schools: Volunteering in classrooms or paraprofessional work gives a better incite into the world of teaching, but it still does not fully prepare for the responsibilities and requirements of teachers (Pugach, 2006). Another aspect to keep in mind is the differences between primary and secondary education. Paraprofessional work in an elementary school may not fully prepare you for the job requirements and different atmosphere of a high school. The discipline, tone of voice, and classroom techniques all change with the grade level you teach. Autobiography: The knowledge gained through your background. Family members who are/were teachers, friends in the profession, as well as people in your life you may promote or discourage the career path (Pugach, 2006). Beliefs: Beliefs about teaching may be influenced by personal commitment. Perhaps a vow to make school enjoyable for students after a bad school experience. Perhaps you have had a passion for teaching and changing lives from a young age. This all integrates in our decision to enter the profession of teaching (Pugach, 2006). Media Portrayals of Teaching: There are both positive and negative stereotypes associated with teaching and education (Pugach, 2006). Negative stereotypes include: "Bad Teacher" and "Mr. D" while positive stereotypes include "Freedom Writers."

1.2. Educational Philosophies (5):

1.2.1. There are five educational philosophies described in the Martin and Loomis article (2006). They include both modern and "old-fashioned" teaching philosophies. Most teachers choose to hybridize two or more of these philosophies in their teaching methods (Martin and Loomis, 2006), (Philosophies Lecture, 2014). Essentialism: the belief that the basics is of importance, where the students job is to learn. Teachers are the authority, focusing on mastery learning (Martin and Loomis, 2006). Perennialism: the idea that schools should transmit the accumulated wisdom of past generations to their systems. This is within a strict environment. It emphasizes universal truths, the classics, in a subject rather than student-oriented, critical thinking classroom (Martin and Loomis, 2006). Progressivism: the belief that schools must practice problem-solving skills with students. This provides the tool for students to keep up with today's ever changing society, and solve newly emerging problems. Progressivism encourages student expression and interest in the classroom. As said by John Dewey, "Education is not to prepare for life, education is life" (Martin and Loomis, 2006). I find that at this point (since educational philosophies are constantly evolving) that I have a Progressive and Essentialist philosophy. While I believe students have the right to choice in the classroom, and expressing personal interest, I also believe in the importance of the basics. It is important for students to develop a thinking and problem solving attitude to prepare them for the real world, but I also believe the teacher is there to teach fundamentals and "dry" material. Both prove to be equally important, thus it is important to integrate both philosophies into the classroom. Existentialism: the thought that students should be free to learn what they want, how they want, when they want. It is entirely student based, with the responsibility placed in the students hands to chase personal goals (Martin and Loomis, 2006). Social Reconstructivism: the idea that it is the duty of schools and educators to promote their students to make a change in society. This follows the belief that schools are not the transmitters, but the agent of change. Together, teachers and students work together to identify and challenge social problems with a democratic approach (Martin and Loomis, 2006). Social Reconstructivism relates to hidden curriculum in the fact that you can teach ways to better society, and integrate social change into lessons, without those concepts being in the curriculum. This is done both intentionally and unintentionally. It is important to be careful about the ideas you portray to students, or you can raise issues such as the Maclean's Magazine article of inappropriate topics in classrooms. This is an area where common sense is very important.

1.3. Becoming a Reflective Educator

1.3.1. In order to become a reflective educator, one must decide what kind of teacher they will become based on personal beliefs, and putting these personal beliefs into action. There are limits placed within a curriculum, but teachers are able to stray to a certain degree. Reflectiveness is based on reflection versus routine. We much overcome our personal comfort bubble, and ask "why?" In a constantly changing society and school system, we must be reflective in order to keep up with this change. Reflection means improvement, and improvement means better suiting the diverse children in every classroom. There are three main considerations of becoming reflective highlighted in the Grant article (1984). Open-mindedness: Refers to questioning teaching strategy being used...is this the most beneficial for all students? How can we improve? We must always look for alternate ways of delivering information, depending on the students in your classroom, while maintaining a cultural competence sensitivity (Grant, 1984). This can also relate to the TPACK article concerning activity types. Asking if the technology used is beneficial for all students, and how you can better teach is something we should be constantly questioning, and constantly reflecting on Responsibility: Teachers are responsible for moral actions, not only in the classroom, but 24/7 (required of being a professional). We must be aware that all actions have a positive or negative consequence, and we must consider how these actions have consequences on students and their beliefs (Grant, 1984). Wholeheartedness: We must remain openminded and responsible at all times, not just when it proves convenient for the teacher. We must teach and accept all types of pupils, no matter the degree of challenge they present. An example of this is when integrating special needs students into the classroom, and meeting their individual needs (Grant, 1984). I resonate with this, as my mom minored in special education. With efforts to integrate these students into mainstream classrooms, I hear about the struggles she faces with these students on a daily basis. The part that resonates with me is; she loves it. The reward she receives from these students far exceeds the challenges. Because of her training, she receives the majority of difficult students (behaviourally and developmentally). Seeing the way she is beloved by her current and past students inspires me everyday in my journey to become a teacher.

1.4. Psychological Approaches (4)

1.4.1. There are four psychological approaches discussed in the educational psychology lecture (2014), which discusses reward and discipline motivations in teaching, as well as questions "how do people learn" (Ed Psych Lecture, 2014). These psychological approaches to learning are: Humanism: the idea that humans are intrinsic learners. Each individual's capabilities and desires determine their destiny. Humanism is information plus personalization (Ed Psych Lecture, 2014). Behaviourism: that the actions and reactions of others determines ones behaviour. If there is a rewards system present, a child's behaviour is based on getting that reward. Any potential for punishment is another form of controlling behaviour. A reward and punishment system motivated students to act a certain way (Ed Psych Lecture, 2014). This approach should be taken in moderation. If constantly rewarding children with a a treat, they are always expecting that treat. If students fear discipline, they will fear participation. Rewards do not have to be candy, or a sticker. It can be a verbal "good job," or allowing that child to line up first, etc. This makes treats more meaningful for the child, while still encouraging participation and input. Information Processing: focuses on how our brains process information and solve problems. This is in three steps: (1) attending to stimuli, (2) putting information into short term memory by encoding, and (3) putting information into long term memory (Ed Psych Lecture, 2014). Constructivism: the idea that people are constantly constructing personal meaning from new and old information. This shows that learning is a constant and continuous process (Ed Psych Lecture, 2014). It is important to constantly learn as a teacher. Learning new teaching methods, changing our beliefs about education (relates to our personal educational philosophies), and using different and new technologies (relates to "Activity Types") is necessary in growth as a teacher. A good teacher is never stagnant with their teaching methods.

2. Who's In Charge?

2.1. Lecture: School Structure and Legislature (2014).

2.1.1. A History of Education: Public education began in the mid 1800's when there was a rise in individuals in favour of compulsory elementary education (Structure and Legislation Lecture, 2014). The responsibilities of education was in the hands of parents, and the church. The British North America Act of 1867 switched responsibility to provincial jurisdiction (Structure and Legislature Lecture, 2014). This also relates to Frank Peters' guest lecture (2014), where he discussed the history of Education in Canada, and how this turned into a provincial jurisdiction. Peter's described the role of French and English "visitors" and how the explorers, traders, and settlers together resulted in an unease. After the War of Independence and the Civil War, there was an increased pressure for schooling. This is when the BNA made laws regarding education, both on a provincial and legislative level. After the Rupert's Land Act (1868), the Alberta Act was introduced in 1905. After this, each province had a Ministry and a Minister of Education, where the province controls the laws (Peters Guest Lecture, 2014).

2.1.2. On a provincial level, it is the Minister's job to set long term goals for Education in Alberta, as well as levels of funding to reach said goals. The Minister also is in charge of changes in curricula, and teacher certification. The School Act concerns the relationship between the Minister and parents, students, and the Legislation. This includes four "players." (1) The School Boards, (2) Local Level School Boards, (3) The ATA, (4) Colleges and Universities. Decisions by the Minister of Education affect all four players (Structure and Legislature Lecture, 2014).

2.2. The Alberta Teacher's Association

2.2.1. Teachers are held to a higher standard 24/7. This is an aspect to being in a profession. A profession has six criteria it must adhere to (Dr. Yurich Lecture, 2014). There is a discrete body of knowledge that separates the group from all others (Yurich, 2014). This includes being in the Faculty of Education as a pre-service teacher. This is a portion of the "formal period of preparation" (Yurich, 2014). There is a formal period of preparation (university), and the requirement for constant growth, evolution, and development in the field (Yurich, 2014). There is a large degree of autonomy (freedom/independence) given to the profession (Yurich, 2014). A large degree of cooperation among members within the profession occurs (Yurich, 2014). The teaching profession has great influence over educational standards, professional development, performance and ethics standards, and discipline (Yurich, 2014). Education is a profession that serves a higher social purpose (Yurich, 2014).

2.2.2. The ATA is the voice of the teaching profession in Alberta. It's main goals are to improve the quality of education, advocate on behalf of the members within it. They control salaries, benefits, with union functions. They are a democratic organization that makes political decisions, such as rulings about PAT's and Diplomas (Yurich, 2014).

2.3. The Ministerial Order is a document concerning Education in Alberta. It lists the goals of education, the three E's (Entrepreneurial Spirit, Engaged Thinkers, and Ethical Citizens), and promotes the contribution of its students in improving society. It also lists a number of competencies of which the students should discover, develop, and apply (Ministerial Handout, 2014).

3. Current Educational Issues.

3.1. Dealing With Bullying and Homophobia

3.1.1. In Walton's article about bullying, and in particular, homophobic bullying (2004), he uses case studies to exemplify that bullying may be targeted in schools, but the case of homophobic bullying goes relatively untouched. Schools, particularly in the USA have put in metal detectors, and have security guards at the school after cases of school shootings and extreme violence. Violence can also be defined as using derogatory terms. Homophobic bullying is an issue in today's schools, and it is not getting the publicity it should. Gay and lesbian students are victims to bullying on a daily basis. He mentions "The threat of violence for gender and sexual orientation nonconformity is pervasive, though not implicit" (Walton, 2004). This means that those who are not deemed "normal" are targeted. In this day and age, this type of bullying needs harsher penalties, and needs to be taken more seriously (Walton, 2004).

3.1.2. In Michael Phair's guest lecture (2014), he talked about terminology, and ways teachers can combat bullying, and provide safe environments for gay and lesbian students. Creating a gay-straight alliance (GSA) club creates a safe zone for the LBTQ community, and their friends. He stated that teachers must distinguish bullying from friends bugging each other. Intentional and repeated hostile bullying must be called out in a way that does not bring attention to the victim. He also talked about the importance of using inclusive language in classrooms, normalizing sexual and gender minority realities, creating safe spaces for LGTQ students, and promoting acceptance, pride, and dignity in the classroom (Phair Guest Lecture, 2014) As someone who has a close friend who struggled with her sexual orientation, and seeing her journey to come out to me, her friends, family, and eventually to the public, I understand how hard it is. What made it easier for my friend is the support she encountered. I also became much more aware of my terminology and saying, and how even though I did not mean "that's gay" in literal terms, it opened my eyes to the impact those words have.

3.2. Discipline Issues

3.2.1. In Dr. Sweetland and Jackson's article (2007), a relationship based discipline is important when dealing with conflict within a classroom. Their research shows that when children are encouraged to discuss conflicts openly, and resolve issues with the opposing party, it improves the classroom dynamics. By creating a student-centered learning environment, it is shown that fewer conflicts do arise than in a classroom where the students feel muffled. By realizing conflict is inherent in humans, and encouraging students to have a voice, it lowers conflict, and teaches students how to resolve issues calmly. Rather than disciplining children for speaking their mind, teachers can use relationship based discipline to achieve these goals (Sweetland and Jackson, 2007).

3.3. Hidden Curriculum

3.3.1. In Ratna Ghosh's article about hidden curriculum, it is emphasized that we cannot pretend racism doesn't happen. We must learn from the mistakes of the past and present, and teach that this is not acceptable. "The hidden curriculum refers to...a curriculum that is taught without being formally ascribed" (Ghosh, 2008). We can teach about issues concerning ethnicity, race, sex, and sexual orientation, etc. by integrating these issues into lessons even if it is not formally a part of curriculum. Ghosh also states that "We need to better prepare students for the world of work, we need to focus on their emotional development to nurture cultural wealth and a healthy inner being; and most importantly, we need to motivate them to create a civil society" (2008). Hidden curriculum is extremely important in todays school system. Teachers make a huge impact in a child's life, and we can use that to transmit that these ideas are unacceptable. This is important because these children may have learned other opinions from their parents. We need to try invoke social reconstructivism into the classroom, to introduce different ideas to said students, and to teach ways in which we can change the world. It is important to always be mindful to what is said in the classroom though, as teachers can transmit the wrong message in the same way.

3.3.2. As teachers, we must always keep in mind that we cannot just walk into a classroom and force these ideas on children. It takes time to build up trust. This is mentioned in the Maclean's Magazine article by Michael Peake (2012). We also must use common sense about what is deemed acceptable for the age group and maturity level of the students (which ranges from student to student). Regardless, there are issues that are awkward or difficult to bring up that must be discussed in a professional and respectful manner. This is why I believe we need to ask parental consent about touchy issues discussed in classrooms, as in the end, they should have final say over their child's education. I think hidden curriculum about controversial issues can be very inappropriate. In the Maclean's article, it mentioned a PETA poster hanging in the classroom. This resonated with me, as I come from a small town where 50% of the students, including myself, have an agriculture background. My family has been raising cattle on the same homestead for 107 years, so to bring a PETA poster into a classroom would enrage me, as well as the majority of parents, teachers, and students. This goes back to the idea of using common sense about what is appropriate and inappropriate.

4. How Teacher's Can Change The World

4.1. Activity Types

4.1.1. In Belina Cassie's Lecture on TPACK, we learned about different "activity types" (Harris and Hofer, 2009). Cassie demonstrated why using different activity types on students with different needs is important. This aids teachers in determining what kind of technology to use for students, and eliminates technologies not appropriate for certain projects and learning levels. Using technology for the sake of technology is not alway the best application, therefore it is important to individualize learning based on the student. I thought it was neat to hear how to integrate technology into every subject area. I never thought about videotaping gym classes to show techniques and where to improve, or creating podcasts for students to listen to. There is so much technology available today for teachers to use, the challenge is finding the right program for the student needs. The integration of activity types also relates to developing relationships with students, and getting to know their interests. Relationships with students allows teachers to individualize learning.

4.2. Developing relationships with students

4.2.1. Teacher-student relationships differ from elementary, middle school, to high school ages students. It is important to change the way you approach students at different ages in order to build these relationships. The way students typically view their teacher changes as they enter higher grade levels, as well as what the students need from teachers. An example of differing teacher-student relationships (which can be everlasting), is former students of my mom's first resource room class still recognize her and start conversations whenever they see each her (20+ years later). I created relationships on a less formal level with teachers on a school trip to France in the spring of 2011. These are teachers I would have no trouble asking for advice when entering the profession, as well as chat with whenever I see them.

4.3. Making a Difference to the Students

4.3.1. Joe Cloutier, who created Inner City High, talked about how in order to make a difference in student lives, one must develop a relationship with the students on an personal level. Every child has things happening in his/ her lives that teachers have no idea about. He took the time to talk to students, understand their personal needs, and applied this knowledge when making Inner City High (panel lecture, 2014). The idea of making a four semester school system for these kids resonated with me. Not only does it give those who are unable to attend school at certain times (whether due to outside circumstances, jobs, etc.), but it gives students a getaway from the streets year round. It gives them a way to escape, and it provides opportunity. It shows that "problem" students have potential, teachers just have to take the time to realize their personal needs. The fact that Joe stuck with these kids, and did not abandon them after year one or two really shows his character. It gives me so much respect for him, and I aspire to one day make a difference in a child, the way he has on dozens of children.

4.4. Taking a bad student learning experience and using it to become the teacher you want to be

4.4.1. Shauna Paul demonstrated this in the teaching panel guest lecture, when referring to her elementary years. Her goal is to make her elementary school the most fun and inviting atmosphere possible, so no student has to experience what she did as a student (panel lecture, 2014). This is what makes Shauna an amazing principal. I resonate with this, as I had a poor biology teacher throughout my high school experience. Biology has always interested me, as I love working with animals, yet I dreaded that class. This same teacher was my cross-country running coach, but she never put the extra time or effort in to prepare us for meets. This turned two things that I enjoyed, biology and cross-country running, into a frustrating and unenjoyable battle. I aim to use this experience in my own classroom, to make biology fun and enjoyable, as well as become a coach who pushes their athletes, and puts the time in to fully prepare for meets.

4.5. Inspiring Education

4.5.1. In the guest lecture by Brent McDonough (2014), he took a "I saw, I think, I wonder" (McDonough, 2014) approach. Inspiring education is a vision created for Education in Alberta in 2008. It is about trying to prepare students for a future we do not know anything about, and that we cannot predict. This prepares students for the real world applications they will be faced with. In such a changing era, it was important to shift policies from a school system centred policy to a heavier focus on the learner, and building the competencies outlined in the Ministerial Order. Inspiring Education emphasizes the "3 E's", moving away from an old-fashioned approach, and moving towards a new, innovative policy (McDonough, 2014). We can connect this innovative policy to progressivism, where teachers are trying to prepare students for their futures. Inspiring Education is a great concept. I believe the basics will always be important to learn, but new approaches to this is required. In a society changing so quickly, the atmospheres of classrooms will change as well. They are using technologies in classrooms today that were not present when I was in high school 4 years ago. In a time of such drastic change, it is important to prepare students to be able to cope with change, and be able to adapt to the diverse technologies and job requirements to come.

4.6. ELL Learners

4.6.1. In the ELL handout, it is important to demonstrate cultural competence when understanding students. Body language or behaviour that may be deemed inappropriate, may have cultural reasonings. By educating ourselves on cultural norms, teachers can better communicate with students in a more respectful way, and form relationships with ELL students. We can use culturally relevant materials in the class, and promote equity rather than equality. Use inclusive posters and activities to teach other students (McLaughlin-Phillips et al., n.d.). This relates to Michelle Jackson's guest lecture (2014), where she got to know her immigrant students on a personal level to change their lives. Her knowledge about current events gave her greater incite into these students lives, and allowed her to both create a relationship with these students, as well as teach certain subjects in a more respectful way (Panel Lecture, 2014).

5. Colour Legend: Lime Green: Central Main Concept; Grey: Four Main Categories; Pink: Sub-Concepts; Brown: Elaborations on Sub-Concepts; Mint Green: Personal Reflections