Creating significant learning environments (CSLE) for my students is a very important aspect of how I want my classroom to progress toward the kind of learner-centered approach I strive for. Implementing a blended learning rotation model can assist in creating the learner-centered approach I am looking for, but I also must be aware of my previous mistakes of focusing on task completion. So where to now?
After creating Fink’s (2003) 3-column table a couple weeks ago, I have begun to step back and see the big picture in the learning that I want my students to be a part of in my classroom. I continue to tweak and completely scrap activities that lean toward task completion and realize how difficult it is to allow for learning, while still assessing students for a ‘grade’ in the grade book. I will not allow this to deter me from my ultimate goal of creating a significant learning environment for my kids and their success.
While my 3-column table has helped with the big picture, my Understanding by Design model introduced by Wiggins and McTighe (2006) has also allowed for more focus on the organic and connected learning between activities and assessments throughout a day of learning and beyond. I truly believe that these models are going to help me with the implementation of my innovation plan in the future. Allowing for a detailed and fluid flow through the activities and assessments provides a defined path for my students as they will be progressing through their personalized learning plans at their own pace. These models also can help with the flow of the units as students work toward their goals or slow down to make adjustments.
Learning, in general, does not have to be as complicated as we make it out to be. Many of the changes that we discuss in the DLL program can be brought to the forefront with the proper motivation and support. I believe that learning can happen with any and all students with the right circumstances and the right motivations. My learning philosophy that I continue to adjust and mature with is a part of the solution to creating the true significant learning environments for my students. I will always be a teacher that is looking for new and innovative ways to engage my students in learning using the growth mindset not just for a test!
Fink, L.D. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2006). Understanding by design. (2nd Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.