Part of our thinking this week in my M.Ed has been on Professional Dispositions. We had to look over the UMUC guidelines and choose one to comment on in terms of both the positive and negative aspects of it.
I chose the section on Relationships with Students through the Curriculum and Instruction and in particular the need to "Demonstrate the importance of adaptability and innovativeness through creating learning opportunities that nurture curiosity, innovativeness, and creativity" (UMUC, 2012, pg. 2).
By modelling the ability to adapt to the needs of the learners and by co-constructing learning opportunities that meet the curriculum needs as well as their own, I hope that learners see how we can adapt and be innovative in our lessons. I hope that this then mirrors in their approach to tasks. I have seen a lot more ‘buy in’ from learners who have had some say in how the learning happens and even what the topics might be. By allowing them opportunities to find their own ways to show their learning, they are afforded creativity as well as the ability to choose to either play on their strengths or develop their weaknesses.
Culturally, some others do not recognise this as ‘real English teaching’. The idea of learners having choice about how to show their learning, or of the assessments being all different are not recognised as authentic assessments. This causes great difficulties between what I want to offer and what I am able to offer. Equally, this can be difficult to manage as many learners are also not used to being curious, innovative or creative because, as Ken Robinson says, school can strip this from young people. I have to be able to provide lots of ideas for choices for those who struggle more with the freedom that is given to them to ensure they are all successful.