I love what Calvin says in the second box: "Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray." This reminded me of what I read about situated learning and legitimate peripheral participation. When we are situated in authentic learning environments, interacting with learners who are both newcomers and old timers in the learning environment, we do become aware of complexities and shades of gray. Those complexities and shades of gray are what provide the richness of our learning and provide real-world context and application for our learning. Of course, most of us don't run from that knowledge and see it as "paralyzing" the way Calvin does, but his dramatics never fail to make me laugh ;)
Quote: "Knowing is inherent in the growth and transformation of identities, and it is located in relations among practitioners, their practice, the artifacts of the practice, and social organizations and political economy of communities of practice." This quote is taken from the conclusion of our assigned reading, and for me it sums the reading up well, as any good conclusion should do. As each individual grows, changes, knowing - learning is inherent, or a given. As we grow and change as individuals, we will learn and know. But it doesn't happen just inside the individual autonomously. The learning and knowing occurs as a result of the interactions between the individual and others in the various communities of practice in which the individual participates.
Question: This reading brought up many questions for me. but an important one is: how can I create that community of practice for the learners I work with? Thanks to this course I am finally addressing that question with passion and an emerging "knowing." The community of practice we are participating in as a cohort in EDL630 is providing me with rich interactions that create awareness of all of those complexities and shades of gray I need to be aware of so I can apply it to the communities of practice I help to create for the learners I work with. It is challenging to create a sense of community in the setting where I teach, because I work with independent study high school students. The fact that they are independent study students does not negate the fact that they need a community of practice to learn within. It has been a frustration of mine for a long time, and now I am learning tools to help create that community for my students.
Connection: I connected immediately with the section of the text that discussed a learning curriculum vs. a teaching curriculum. For years it seemed we were entrenched in the practice of developing and engaging in the teaching curriculum as standard practice, as we were held to student performance on standardized tests. I am not proud of that. I am horrified by that, actually. Yes- during those years there were many moments of authentic learning in my classroom, despite the emphasis on testing, but that type of testing really did obstruct more authentic learning at times. Now I am endeavoring to create the learning curriculum that should be standard practice.
Epiphany: Learning and intentional instruction are not (by any means) the same thing. This is both a simple and complex concept. It seems like a no-brainer, but I think many times teachers think, "because I TEACH it, my students will LEARN it," and that is simply not the case. I am learning that too much intentional instruction can actually get in the way of learning. Learners learn by doing, by experiencing- not necessarily by being TAUGHT. Learning is not passive.
As we move away from what the cartoon below depicts, our own learning and that of the learners we work with are endowed with possibility and opportunity much richer than many of us have experienced before. I am, however, experiencing it now, and for that I am grateful.