End of Semester

Since I have three places to blog – that’s right, three places – I keep forgetting that this is my ‘synopsis’ blog. I try to add my general thoughts and combined reactions to all three classes. The semester officially ended last Friday (or Saturday, if you were still checking last-minute posts and such).  It was an interesting and challenging semester, and I definitely learned a lot in the last few months!

Bill’s class, Learning and Theory, taught me a great deal about theorists. I kept coming to the same conclusion; most of them are quite similar. Some of their methods differ, but the rest is very close. The overriding thought is that people, especially children, learn by immersing themselves in a new subject, and it helps a great deal if they’re interested in that subject. In addition, most theorists agree that School as it stands today is not functioning in a manner that is truly helpful to learning. There are many theories as to how to make this happen, but so far we are nowhere near that point.

Gary’s class was full of Learning Adventures (I capitalized on purpose), each one more thought-provoking than the last.  I really liked most of them, but had trouble with a couple. Becoming frustrated didn’t help me in those cases; I had to sift through directions over and over. Eventually I asked for help, which is always what I should have done right away. When I realize I don’t understand something, I have a stubborn streak that mandates that I have to barrel through anyway. When I become frustrated enough I finally realize I should just ask for help. There are people in this cadre who are miles ahead of me in programming, for instance. They are the ones I should go to right away. Hopefully before this program ends, I will remember to do that before I get to the point of aggravation.  ;- )

Finally, there was our Action Research class. This was a continuation of the concepts we learned last summer regarding action research. I took a roundabout way of finding out that all I really need to do is join a consortium of like-minded instructional designers, and see what happens. I wrote my AR paper and got comments from Paul and my learning circle. Once I narrowed down my focus – at one time I had four different avenues I could have taken – I think I did well in researching and creating my project for the year. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not making it too easy. However, from everything I’ve read, other items will pop up from time to time that will refocus my energies around my original AR idea. So I’m going to go with the flow and see where it takes me.

Next semester it looks as though we have the same type of setup. I heard that we have Gary again in some ‘other’ capacity, and we have two more new teachers. In January we meet again for a training conference and to reconnect as a cadre. I’m really looking foward to meeting everyone again! It’s amazing what a 180 degree turnaround I’ve experienced there. I’ve come to get to know everyone much better – as well as you can get to know anyone from a distance. I remember dreading the meeting in July. I arrived to the class a bit apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. By the time I left I had a much clearer picture of what was going on and what my role should be. In the ensuing weeks I started to really understand how everything works in this program. I also got to know each classmate better, and found out what an innovative, opinionated (in a good way!) and fun group it is.

I am SO glad we have a couple of weeks off right now. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. There are things going on in my home that require more attention than usual. Also my contract right now is very challenging, so I’m glad to be able to concentrate on that exclusively right now. However I am going to do one thing school-wise that I wasn’t able to finish during the semester; finishing reading a couple of the books we were given. There are three books – yeah, three – that I never completed reading. Now I can finally catch up. Just in time for another boatload of book requirements to arrive.   ;- )

You can read more of my reflections of school activities in my school website.

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