This week we discussed problem solving strategies. GNA called them heuristics. She had us work in groups of two and then come together as a whole class to develop one heuristic that we could all use as we analyzed a very complex case study. I really appreciated that GNA laid out our day like this and enabled us to practice and master a very effective problem solving strategy. I am so excited that I know have this tool because as I have expressed last week I believe that my two biggest obstacles to becoming an effective teacher are motivating students and teaching them to be respectful of their peers (having them create secure environments). I believe that I can use this heuristic to help me as a tackle both problems in my future class. My favorite part about our heuristic is that if I use it properly it allows me to check my biases, which is important for two reasons. One, perhaps the "problem" that i perceive is not a real problem at al, and in the grand scheme it doesn't not detract from my goals for the class. Two, It enables me to adopt the perspective of my students and provokes me to consider how they perceive this issue that I deem a problem.
In our complex case study we discussed the social injustice present in this fictitious school in that student in lower achieving courses were forced to work in dilapidated classrooms that did not instill a sense of professionalism and self worth in the students. I felt that this sentiment was very powerful and understanding how physical environments can adversely affect a students disposition as well as their motivation. We also touched upon motivation, and how to foster it by really getting to know our students, surveying their interests and bringing those interest into the curriculum. This type of practice would make the content more relevant to the students and would increase their intrinsic motivation.
Here are two more working hypothesis
If a teacher wants to have students whom are highly motivated then that teacher needs to first learn about their students through "caring relationship" in which we actively search for their interest and their aspirations (Noddings). Next the teacher needs to express to their students that he/she cares about their interest by incorporating them into the curriculum. This is necessary because it provides that students with a sense of ownership over the classroom and the content that will lead to motivated students
If a teacher wants to create a secure environment in which all students are free to express themselves then the teacher needs to utilize heuristic problem solving to address issues of disrespect in the class. This is the most affective way of addressing the issue becuase it allows the teacher determine the legitimacy of the problem that has been identifies, it allows them to take perspective of the problem through the eyes of the people involved, it allows them to search for advice from colleagues and literature, and it allows them to create an appropriate solution path that is flexible and can be revised as new evidence is discovered.
I think my most favorite part about the applying the hueristic to issues of disrespect is the fact that it forces the teacher/moderator to collect perspectives from the students involved. I think alot of time we neglect to actually talk to our student and figure out what is going on inside of them. It is an important thing to do in contemporary public school and i think if i can get comfortable have authentic dialouges with my students that breka down the power relation barriers i will learn alot about my students and will be able to help them develop emotionally as well as academically becuase i will know how to appropriatley motivate them.