After a semester’s worth of clinical practice in which I created curricula and lessons around the pedagogy and strategies I’ve learned from coursework, I am relieved to know that my lessons have been combating and addressing the same issues discovered by this veteran teacher. Each lesson I employ begins and ends with an essential question which provides a framework and justification of why the students are bothering to learn this information. Also, I try to incorporate as much discussion as I can into the lesson to break up the monotony of note-taking and to stop me from talking. The discussions are based on relevant experiences and the previous knowledge held by the students which are meant to provide a connection to the content.
For example, on a recent lesson about RNA transcription, the lesson started with an essential question of “How does the information in our DNA become the proteins and cells which make up our hair, skin and other tissues of our body?” After having them think about it quietly, we started a discussion about the students’ favorite messaging apps and why they liked them so much. The discussion started in small groups which then was shared in the larger group. From there I helped them make a connection that messenger RNA is doing a similiar job of sending information from one place (the nucleus) to another (the ribosomes). For the labs and projects, the students typically work in groups of 2-4 students to collaboratively create works which demonstrate knowledge. During these work days, the students are constantly moving around and talking with each other about the content at hand.
As a young teacher, I am glad to still have the experiences of the student still fresh in my mind as it gives me guidance and direction as to how I want to be taught. As I gain experience, I must continue to remind myself the of the student experience to ensure that the lessons and curricula I create for my students are classes I wish I took in high school.
Wiggins, G. (2014, October 10). A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days - a sobering lesson learned [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/