Archive for June, 2011

Standard 12 Meta-Reflection: EDU 6120 Foundations

Meta-Reflection: EDU 6120 Foundations–Issues & Ideas in American Education

Upon the completion of my first course requirement toward the earning of my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I must begin by saying that I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  The experience of returning to Seattle Pacific University after three decades of teaching in the public school system has been awe-inspiring. Although I will continue to teach full-time throughout the process of earning my degree, this quarter has shown me that it will not only be possible to work in “both worlds”—but that each experience will dramatically enrich the other.

Within the context of the Foundations course readings, lectures, electronic discussions, writings, and individual as well as group assignments, I have fully participated and gained tremendous insights. Not only have I read about and discussed a wide variety of historical, cultural, philosophical and legal issues with my colleagues and professor and discovered motivating connections to my educational setting, but I have also made astonishing connections within myself.

As learner I have grown to appreciate my strengths and am challenged to work through my weaknesses—something I have always asked of each of my students.  As a teacher, I am reminded of a quote I took with me to my very first teaching assignment in 1981, “To teach is to learn a second time” (author unknown).

In his book entitled, Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Together, Professor Arthur Ellis introduces the procedure for the Key Idea Identification assessment strategy by asking the reader to consider the following:

“What do you remember from a particular class? If the teacher was successful with the subject matter and the experience in general, you will remember two things: the feelings and the ideas. The feelings should be positive, and the ideas should be few, but powerful (Ellis, p. 102, 2001).

I feel thankful, inspired, and deeply blessed. Although I do not yet have words to adequately summarize the positive impact of this course on my life, I do know that I have learned that my reflective personality—a quality that I have often viewed as a hindrance, is a gift from God that He will use, if I allow Him to.

“Reflective assessment is for everyone, students and teachers alike” (Ellis, xv).

EDU 6120 Foundations:  meets Standard 12 Professional Citizenship

Artifact: (As soon as possible, I will create a link to a team project for which I was the “champion”.  The Four Ladies: Phase 2 Essay  “Why Teach? What Are the Qualities of a Good Teacher?”)

Ellis, A. K. (2001).  Teaching, learning & assessment together: The reflective classroom.  Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

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EDU 6120: Module 9

“Key Idea Identification”” Reflection on the EDU 6120 Module 9

“The Courts and Education” Lecture given by Arthur K. Ellis, Seattle Pacific University

While reading the transcription for Ellis’ Courts and Education lecture, I found the clear explanations of the various court rulings affecting both religion and civil rights in the schools to be very helpful in providing a more objective perspective–for myself as a long-time educator, as well as having been a student who personally experienced the implications of court decisions ruled in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Ellis reminds us that, “The tenth amendment deals with powers not specified to the federal government. Any powers not specified in the Constitution as domain of the federal government are delegated to the states” (Ellis, slide 4).  The broad overview of key court decisions appears to indicate that individual legal battles represented throughout the many decades—despite the opposing viewpoints and the extreme and valid emotions generated—have overall resulted in what I view as striving to maintain freedoms for students and teachers alike.

For example, in response to the 1967 case of Pickering vs. The Board of Education of Township High, “The court ruled that teachers have the rights of a citizen….” Ellis goes on to state that, “…in terms of teacher’s  assignments and teacher’s freedom of expression, the courts are ruling in fact that teachers are themselves citizens with all full first amendment rights” (Ellis, slide 23).

As an individual teacher, I can still be a Christian—even in an American public school setting—and have a positive impact on students, teachers, parents and my community, while maintaining my rights as an American citizen. I can still, “bloom where I am planted”.