Friday, November 11, 2016

November Reflection: Discussing Issues That Matter

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  • In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

For a variety of reasons, What's the Story is a functional and innovative approach to learning that serves as one positive model for how to design a pedagogical strategy that works. One reason is that it allows students to take agency in their education -- that is, students choose what they're interested in and explore topics of their own choosing. Another reason is that it then encourages students not only to consider different viewpoints about or approaches to that topic, but it requires collaboration with others who share similar interests. Moreover, WTS habitually offers students the time and space to reflect on their own learning: how do I learn, what are my struggles, what is working, and what do I need in order to be successful? Among MANY more examples of how WTS serves as one good model is that it gets students out into the community to examine real-world issues that won't just be forgotten at the end of a paper or an exam.

  • How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning?

I would actually qualify the question and suggest that we need to blend more traditional approaches with our creative approaches to design, orchestrate and report on our students' learning. For instance, I think there should be required reading on the topics of our students' choosing, and they should be asked to synthesize, summarize, and make arguments and counterarguments about certain reading. And the blog posts are AWESOME, but I think they could be balanced with more traditional forms of writing that we would assess. This is all to say that what we are doing now is great and creative, but I do think we could strengthen our students' "school" skills a bit more.

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