Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So...this is the start of my 10th year of teaching, and after a decade in the field, there is a lot of reflection that takes place. In the beginning, I started out as a fresh faced first year teacher trying to learn the ropes from my mentors and colleagues. I modeled my teaching after that which I observed, from my days as a student teacher, doing observations as part of my degree program, and other teachers in my building.

After my first year, I could look back and make some decisions for myself; how did I want to do things? What did I think would be best for the students in my classroom? Without even knowing it, I was developing a constructivist teaching strategy - understanding that learners are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. Instead, learners are actively attempting to create meaning. In fact, allowing learners to select and pursue their own learning.

Today, I read an article posted by George Siemens about Connectivism. Here is an excerpt:

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.

This idea forces us to reflect on our own teaching, and that of the teachers we work with. If we are going to help the students we teach prepare for the world ahead, then we need to leave some of our old practices behind. I still believe that a constructivist model works well for today's kids, but applying aspects of connectivism will help those students more in this ever changing world.

Here's to 10 years....I look forward to the changing years ahead :)

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