This Prezi is a group project where we all share “skits” using the Puppet Pals iPad App. to tell about a couple of the chapters per skit in Peter Johnston’s book Opening Minds. (Puppet Pals is an app. we wanted to try in hopes of using it with students in the future).
That’s a selfie of me reflecting!
During the past quarter of course work and student teaching, I feel I became much more discerning and at the same time more clear about many teaching practices. I think my blogs reflect that. My blog that seems to have provoked others’ thinking the most was about student self assessment, particularly in the primary grades. Comments made on this blog also provoked further thinking from me which are reflected in my comments on the comments.
Part of the Process’ Classroom Community blog inspired me to write a whole blog (which I then linked to in her comments), and then I received quite a lot of comments on my blog about Part of the Process’ blog.
These two blogs both reflect how we pre-service teachers have become part of a teaching community that relies on its members to, not only offer possible solutions to problems, but to push one another’s thinking, which in turn pushes us all forward as a collective group. These two examples of blogs also show how student focused we pre-service teachers have all become. We’re not just concerned with how in the world we are going to become teachers any more. We’re most concerned with how our students are going to become the best learners and how we can instill some self-sufficiency in them to take responsibility for their own learning.
My cooperating teacher brought up the concept of “level of concern” this week as something for me to consider when lesson planning. It is a concept that was emphasized greatly when she was a beginning teacher, and she still thinks about it all of the time while teaching. The way she explained it to me is that whenever you raise the level of concern for a student, meaning introducing them to something a little outside of their zone of proximal development, you need to balance it with lowering the student’s level of concern, i.e. reminding them of a skill they already know or background knowledge they already have which will help them reach the new learning goal. I also found this explanation of it on the Educator’s Virtual Mentor website:
Level of Concern is one principle of learning that can affect students’ motivation or intent to learn. This is sometimes referred to as level of anxiety or level of tension. Whatever term is used, it refers to how much students care about what they learn.
From further reading, I am also interpreting it as giving students cause to be concerned about not knowing something or not being able to solve a problem in order to motivate their desire to learn. In other words, in addition to quelling any anxieties the student may have about their own learning capabilities, we need to find a way to make the student care enough about the subject or skills we present that they will push themselves outside of their comfort zone.
There is also our, the teacher’s, levels of concern that we need to be conscious of keeping balanced as discussed in Madeline Hunter’s Mastery Teaching: Increasing Instructional Effectiveness. “When things seem to be going well in your class, what are you motivated to change? Nothing! . . . Should your concern become too high, however, your concern may be diverted from instructional growth to dealing with your concern for self maintenance . . .A moderate level of concern stimulates efforts to learn” (2004, Hunter, p. 15). Hunter discusses the concept extensively for students as well.
Add her book to your summer reading list, since I am guessing your level of concern may be too high for extra reading right now!