Educators as Designers

by | Saturday, January 26, 2019

How might we?

Three words, and a question mark. At one level it is a simple question—leaving open what it is that we might do. But at another level its openness is its strength. Because inherent within it is a call to action, a discomfort with the way things are, and an openness to change. And as Lisa Wyatt recently communicated to me, “the question inherently recognizes that there are many ways to answer the question, not just one.”

This past semester 14 student-teachers asked powerful “How might we?” questions about their own practice and came up with solutions that were unique, creative and impactful. In ways big and small.

It all began, as one can imagine, with a “How might we?” question of our own.

How might we improve the student-teacher experience?

Alternatively…

How might we empower student-teachers to develop a designers mindset? A mindset that allows them to see themselves as designers of curriculum rather than mere users of curriculum?

Our answer to this question was recently featured in a recent news story on the MLFTC News titled: Student teachers learn to be creative problem-solvers. (Note: Other related links are given below.)

The students’ how might we questions emerged from their own experience and in each case they worked in teams to design and more importantly test possible solutions in their classrooms. The story linked above has more information but here is a key quote, from Melanie Bertrand, faculty fellow with OofSI, speaking to what she observed:

“I could see that the experience was very empowering for the students. I think these experiences teach future or new teachers that knowledge about how to improve teaching doesn’t lie just with the mentor teacher or with some researchers who are considered experts, but rather with them as well.

This project would not have been possible without support and feedback from a wide range of people. The include the leadership of the Teacher Preparation program, Michelle Amrein, site coordinator at the school, and a team of mentor teachers. Finally thanks to Lisa Wyatt and the rest of the design initiatives team for taking the lead and asking the how might we question.

Related Links:

A few randomly selected blog posts…

My Illusions on the web

There are a couple of websites that feature work done by me. I had written earlier about Brad Honeycutt's website An Optical Illusion at (http://www.anopticalillusion.com/). He now features four different ambigrams created by me: You can find them on this page on his...

River run photos

Here are some photographs from the Capital City River Run half-marathon I completed this past Sunday (as reported here: Hurting but Happy). Here's one More here, here, here, here, here & here. Apologies for the copyright marks.

Keeping tabs on the experts

In an age where experts are a dime a dozen, willing to pontificate at the drop of a pin, it is hard to tell whom to believe, and whom NOT to believe. In comes Phillip Tetlock, an academic who has made it his mission to evaluate the prognosticators! This is described...

TPACK Dissertation by Lisa Hervey

A couple of years ago I visited the Friday Institute at North Carolina State University. I had a wonderful time meeting old friends and making new ones. One of the old/new friends was doctoral student Lisa Hervey. As a part of her dissertation Lisa had been interested...

Like to learn, but hate school

In this TCRecord piece, Daniel T. WIllingham uses what we know about cognitive psychology to explain  Why students don't like school. He suggests that although most people believe that humans are good at thinking, it is actually the weakest of our mental faculties......

Incredible !ndia

Patrick Dickson sent me this link to an article on Boston.com titled Scenes from India. As the article says: India is home to over 1.2 billion people of wildly varying religions, cultures and levels of wealth.... Though there's no possible way for these images to be...

Seeing mathematics everywhere…

Dame Kathleen Ollernshaw was deaf since the age of 8. Despite this she had an amazing life as a mathematician, amateur astronomer, politician (she served as mayor of Manchester as well as in the Thatcher administration) and mother. To learn more about her read this...

On breaking the rules (and words)

My daughter on her blog has a new poem / haiku called Sweat, a haiku with one glich. She is in India right now where the temperatures are easily in the 90's - which I guess explains the genesis of the poem. What was more interesting, to me however, was the manner in...

Jugaad, India-genous creativity

Jugaad is a Hindi word which does not have a straight forward equivalent in English. I guess the closest phrase I would say would be "situational or indigenous creativity," the ability to make do creatively with the tools/resources one has at hand. On Jugadu.com I...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *