Assignment #1

As a part of our required reading, this week we read an article entitled “At School, Technology Starts to Turn a Corner.” The article mainly focuses on the gradual effects of web-based education on students’ lives and how important it has become not only for the students but also for teachers and parents in the last few years. There is one sentence in the article that really grabbed my attention. “There’s a lot of ownership by the kids in their work instead of teachers lecturing and being the givers of all knowledge,” said by an English teacher called Sally Nichols who signed up for a new project-based teaching program. According to her, the students enjoy their lessons more than usual by the help of technology and the project-based teaching program. I guess it is the number one goal of every teacher in this world to help their students be participant in their learning process. Students tend to care more about the work they do or create. My students complain when other classes don’t take care of the work they have on bulletin boards. I guess, that was what Ms. Nichols tried to say. Today’s students like and appreciate the feeling of being able to do something. They like to be part of their learning process. When it comes to technology and computers, as being digital natives (I mean most of them) I am sure they will enjoy making most of it in the classroom by working collaboratively with their teachers and friends.

“It’s best to see what we do through the eyes of those to whom it’s done.”
After reading our weekly article, I suddenly start questioning myself. The question is: As language teachers, we should make a point of trying something new in our own lives like Alfie Khon mentioned in his article entitled “It's Not What We Teach, It’s What They Learn” Are we really doing it or why should we do it? Do we just have to do it just to enhance our teaching skills or is there an underlying reason there? According to Mr. Khon and the other scholars he mentioned in his article, they are saying that the language teachers should be involved in some kind of learning process not just for ourselves or for the sake of teaching but also for understanding the state of our students in the class when they are introduced to a new topic or when they are asked to write an essay on a subject that the teacher decides on. Why? Because as teachers, we always think we know what’s best for our students. But if we don’t bear in mind that they are just learners who have to sit in the class for 8 hours and do what they are told to do, learning will not make any sense to us. As a result, we should keep being consistent ongoing learners to appreciate what the students bring into our classrooms. I believe that Deborah Meier used the word “listening” instead of “empathy” quite willingly which makes a lot of sense to me. I will be spending more time on this subject which will keep me as a learner J

My motto for this week is the last sentence of the essay which is the same for everyone in education now matter how you are involved in it J

“It’s best to see what we do through the eyes of those to whom it’s done.”


21st Century Schools - Pedagogy Must Give Way to Andragogy
Mrs. Corner’s five considerations for an andragogic approach undelyingly reflect 21st century’s learners. I personally believe that if we try hard we can even find topics related to our students’ experiences. They might be teenagers and have less experience than adults but they have their own say when it is time to analyze things. Maybe sometimes the topic can be about something that they don’t know but still it won’t take them long to find information on that topic on the net. They can just google it to understand and apply it to their lives. Therefore, even if we try hard to control the learning environment, soon or later we will realize that it is just a burden for our students. The quote from the article summarizes the whole text and sets a good example for the teachers to follow.

"How can we expect to analyze and synthesize so much information if we turn to others to determine what should be learned, how
it will be learned, and when it will be learned?”

Yes it is a move from teacher-centered to learner-centered education. I can set my student Zeynep as an example of this. She is getting better at technology and she somehow analyzed the process we are going through in the class and decided to create something to help others who might need her help. It’s a very good example of collaboration. I had outcomes in my mind when I started applying technology into my classes but now realized that the process of reaching the outcome is important as it is mentioned in the article. Because it is not as easy as it looks to see the real potential of today’s students. They want to know the reason for learning something, or they should be motivated enough to do it or it won’t work even if you prepare the best lesson plan or set the outcomes to reach. Understanding the possible inhibitions, beliefs are more important than ever so that you can improve the process of reaching the outcome not the outcome itself.

Further reflections on required readings can be found in my blog. Thank you!