Summer Teaching Institute Reflections, day 2

July 21, 2015 by Joshua
in Education, Leadership

I’ve written about inquiry-driven project-based learning and learning leadership and entrepreneurship. It’s a style of teaching that’s one of the main foundations of how I teach and coach leadership. It’s different than lecturing. Here’s why I avoid lecturing when I lead and teach.

This week I’m attending Science Leadership Academy’s intensive Summer Teaching Institute. Science Leadership Academy is a school founded on inquiry-driven project-based learning, so it’s one of the best places to learn it.

To help reflect and share what I learn, I’m posting daily notes here.

Day 2

Today’s first set of exercises seemed to revolve around expression, language, power, and self-awareness. Again we approached them

  • From different perspectives: written, videos from student projects, group discussion, personal reflection
  • Using different media
  • Solo and in groups
  • With an active leader asking questions or showing or not
  • We documented some results

We didn’t know where the exercises were going. I presume we did them partly to experience IDPBL techniques as practiced here at SLA and partly to explore concepts relevant to creating a curriculum or unit design.

As with yesterday, the exercises were engaging and we reflected after, sometimes solo, sometimes as a group.

In the middle we met with students to hear their experience of IDPBL. We met one-on-one and as a big group. After that we all wrote what we struck us most about what they said. Answers included their openness, awareness of the educational process, maturity, community, not feeling obliged, excited, friendly, comfortable with adults. Nothing about showing off, tests, complaints.

We talked about technology and tools available. Google Docs seemed the main one, also videos. I asked about Snowden concerns but the discussion didn’t take off. The value seemed more than worth the risk. I didn’t pursue, but I thought that’s what they thought in Things Fall Apart when they brought technology to Africa.

The last part was about putting some what we’ve seen into a unit design. They described templates and processes they followed (at first rigidly, eventually more intuitively) to create unit and lesson plans. Then we worked alone to try to develop our plans for our classes.

The main project for the week course seems for us to create our own curriculum once. From then we can probably do more on our own. Looks like an effective project.

I could see the pieces and felt excited to put them together but wasn’t sure how to do it at the nuts and bolts level. I thought of a lot of ideas for what to do and understood the template, but when I sat down to put it all together I realized I didn’t have an overall structure to put it together. It felt like trying to draw a body by drawing the hands, feet, face, and various parts without creating the skeleton underneath.

We ended with this reflection. They acknowledged we might feel like our brains were fried. It is exhausting, but it’s an exhaustion I like.

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