Friday, June 13, 2008

The End Result

Over the past week I have been thinking about my next blog posting. I started work on my next class for my Master's Degree and have been moved to talk about things I've been learning. I do plan on posting information, but at a later date.

I am also currently involved in two different online learning opportunities. One is an online class that I am taking as part of professional development for my job. It is the Web Instructor's Certification Course I (WICC I) offered through Region 4 ESC. Region 16 ESC is a partner of the Texas Virtual School (TVS) - which is not to be confused with the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) - and one of the requirements to teach for TVS is to take WICC I. To be able to teach it to teachers that are interested from Region 16, I first have to take the course myself. We started this week and I have already learned a lot and have ideas about topics to post in my blog.

The second online opportunity I am involved in is an online book club. This will also help me professionally so I do consider it a professional development opportunity; however, I am doing this more on the personal level as well. It is the 1st Annual CASTLE book club and we are reading Influencer - The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I've almost finished reading through chapter 2 and, again, have already learned so much. Thankfully we have a discussion board that will give me an outlet to talk about the book; however, I do plan on posting some of the things I am learning through the reading of this book.

As I have thought about what I would post this week, I thought about why I was doing all of this learning and all of this professional development. Why do educators, those that want to be facilitators of learning, continue to learn? Most enjoy learning, but I still don't believe that to be the main reason. I think it is "The End Result". Our goal as facilitators of learning (and even parents) is to release the students into the real-world as successful and, dare I say, happy individuals. As educators we must think about what we want the end result to be when it comes to our students. Do we care if they can resite word for word the Preamble of the Constitution or do we care that they understand the meaning of the Preamble of the Constitution and know where to access the information?

What does all of this have to do with 21st century teaching? Traditionally the Preamble of the Constitution was "memorized" because that is how we "learned" and how we were able to access that information. Often times, we were taught the meaning by listening to a lecture from our teacher. We didn't have the information at our fingertips or even as much access to interactive tools like we do now. There were other places to find the information, but often times that required that you had money to purchase something or a way to get to the library. There were those dynamic teachers that brought history to life and made you really live the experience, but for the most part, teaching was done through lecture. Living in the 21st century and being that 21st century teacher means we show them how to access the Preamble of the Constitution and dive into the meaning through meaningful and purposful interactive experiences. How cool if you could arrange to have a videoconference with one of your state senators.

When you're a teacher - whether Kindergarten or 12th grade - your focus should always be "The End Result." The question then becomes: How can I help this student be a successful, productive, and responsible citizen?

I do plan to blog on all of this learning I'm doing, but I thought it important to talk about and remember why we're all here and why we do what we do.

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