Tech Task #10: Online Identity

Throughout this class, we have been told many times about our digital footprint or online identity. I have come to realize how important it is to have a clean mark throughout the internet. It is so easy to access information in this modern age that any skeletons you may have hiding in your closet may not remain there for very long. I personally am not really into multimedia or having accounts all over the internet, however, I do know that when I was younger I had a couple mean things happen to me via the internet, and although I may think they are gone, the right person may be able to find them again. The sad part is, I didn’t even create it myself, it was part of a bullying episode, but there is always that chance that it could jeopardize my career or a job I may be in the running for. It might have been these incidents that stirred me away from really wanting to get involved with social media because it was terrible having to create new accounts all the time when mine kept getting hacked into and then who knows what was being done after that. I have never been interested in Twitter or wikis or even blogs. I used to have MSN but got rid of it because of the afore mentioned reasons. Currently I have Facebook but I only check it about once a month and nothing ever is on there so I just log out and carry on with my day. For some reasons this may be good. It means that I am not creating a dirty digital footprint. However, it is not good because I am missing out on the way the world communicates now. There are so many cool things you can use the internet and social media, like Twitter or blogs, for. For example, I can ask other educators questions I may not know the answers too, I can find ideas for interesting lesson plans, or I could even just make friends and connections all over the world.

In the profession of teaching, social media and online identity are becoming very important.There is such a push to integrate technology into your everyday classroom and try new areas of discomfort. Teachers are supposed to teach for the students and not for themselves. Well, in this day and age, children learn through technology…in fact, many of them know more about computers than their teachers! If teacher’s are supposed to teach for their students and students are learning through technology, the answer seems pretty simple. Class blogs would be a great way to interact with other classrooms around the world, have assignments for students, let parents know what is going on in your classroom, and for getting away from the traditional type of learning. I truly believe students would love to work on a computer rather then sit at their desk with a paper and a pencil in hand. Also, through using technology in your classroom, such as a blog, you can teach students HOW to create a clean digital footprint, what this means, and how to search for good and appropriate content. This is not knowledge students are born with, they need to be taught just as teachers were taught. For example, the youtube video  of Alexandra Wallace and her racist rant would be a good way to teach students how sensitive your reputation and identity are on the internet. She was really out of line in what she said but she also was very silly for putting her face all over the internet while saying these things. She made a very bad choice that has ruined her life for a while and her reputation for even longer. Showing students this video and explaining why it was wrong and what has happened to her since would be a very concrete way of demonstrating how fragile we really are to the whole world. If students learn at a young age what a positive image looks like, they are much more likely to carry that through as they grow older. For example, talking about appropriate and inappropriate pictures and comments on Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, the use of class blogs, or wikispaces, etc. Also, I feel using social media in the classroom would help to bond the students together as opposed to those cliques that are in every single classroom. I am really big on breaking up cliques and promoting inclusion and recognition of EVERYONE’S talents in my classroom because I was one of the student’s who was often excluded when I was young and I remember how it feels.

Video of Alexandra Wallace’s rant about Asians in the library at UCLA

Video of 2 Manitoba teacher’s lap dancing during an assembly

Be Careful what you put on the internet…

The Art of Teaching with Mr. G

Teacher’s Guide to Using Facebook

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My Plans for the Future

     My plans for the future are not overly exciting. I plan on finishing school, passing all my class (haha), and receiving my degree. Once I get my teaching certificate I plan on subbing within three school divisions. I would like to be on the sub list for Prairie Valley, Regina Public, and South East Corner Stone. When September comes I plan on continuing to sub for the first year. I have only worked in a grade 4 and 5 classroom. Right now, my ideal grades to teach would be somewhere in grades 4-8. Through subbing I feel I will have a greater opportunity to work in a number of different schools, school divisions, and classrooms. This experience will help me decide where I would like to have a permanent contract because I will have a better idea of where I would like to teach instead of taking a “blind” contract and hoping I like the position and school I have chosen.

Giving Feedback to Students…

     When giving feedback to students it is extremely important to watch what you say and think about how the student may interpret your message. Words can be very inspiring and help a child soar, but they can also be extremely hurtful and crush a student’s drive. Personally, I had a comment left on one of my assignments this semester that was extremely rude and completely uncalled for. It ended up ruining the entire class for me and had attendance not be mandatory, I would have quit going. If I am a graduating university student and that was how I reacted to a comment left by a professor, imagine how a young student would take a rude comment, even if it was not meant in that spirit. If a teacher has a comment to make about a statement or they are not sure what the student is meaning, a message should be left on the assignment saying “please see me” or  “let’s discuss this comment” as opposed to writing inappropriate comments on the assignment that could be taken in the wrong spirit. As the STF Code of Ethics states, teachers should address one another when having a conflict, teacher’s should also address students when there is a conflict before making condescending comments or jumping to conclusions.

      It is always important to acknowledge the work a student has done well before giving a negative comment. For example, if a teacher is reading a story and the student has written, “once upon a time a girl kissed a boy and they rode away on horses together” begin by acknowledging the student’s story positively. Try saying, ” I really enjoy the outline of your story. I think it has a very good story line, however, I’m not sure where this boy came from? What does the girl look like? Where do they live? What kind of horses do they ride away on? Where are they going? etc”. As opposed to saying, ” I don’t understand what you’re trying to say”. That may cause the student to get defensive or feel their work is being invalidated.

Marc Hall- Case Study about Sexual Identity within a Catholic High School

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvOjjsR1xGA

Introduction:

            Homosexuality is a never ending perceived societal problem. Like many other rights the Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges, a person is able choose acceptance towards a differing sexual orientation or discrimination against it. The problem arises with sexuality in school, especially denominational schools. In Canada, everyone is protected regardless of their identity, however denominational schools have the tendency to force their religious beliefs on their students and expect them to adhere to these beliefs, regardless of their own. The following case study examines a homosexual student who sought justice for his right to attend, with the date of his choice, his year end high school prom.

Facts for Plaintiff, Marc Hall

Marc Hall is a Roman Catholic grade twelve student attending Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic High School, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Hall is also a homosexual male who has identified his sexual orientation to his family, friends, and school peers. Hall is seeking an interlocutory injunction against the School Board for disallowing him to bring his boyfriend of approximately one year to his prom on May 10, 2002. Hall first approached his teacher roughly one year prior to prom to voice his wish of bringing his partner as his date. He understood the matter would be discussed with the principal before a decision was made. On February 25, 2002, the Principal Powers denied Hall’s request basing his decision on the Catholic teachings of the school and the church. Allowing Hall to bring his boyfriend would essentially insinuate that Catholicism recognized and accepted homosexuality as a way of life. Upon receiving the principal’s decision, Hall approached the school board to have them overturn the decision and again was denied on April 8, 2002, based on the same premise. After Principal Powers and the School Board both denied his request, Hall sought a legal ruling on the matter feeling that Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was breached which states that:

 “15(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to

the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in

 particular, without discrimination based on…religion, sex, age…” (Canadian

Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, para 16)

Facts for Defendant, Principal Powers:

            When approached with Hall’s wish of having his boyfriend in attendance with him at prom, Powers denied the request stating that romantic interaction at the prom is seen as form of sexual activity. Allowing a same- sex couple to attend would be seen as condoning homosexuality, which is not what the Roman Catholic religion teaches. The school requests the names of all individuals and their dates attending in an effort to gain contact information, if needed, and know who is in attendance for security and safety reasons. However, the school does not question any other students about their sexual activity with their dates at prom; before, during or after. On April 8, 2002 the School Board refused to overturn Principal Powers decision and stated Hall’s motion should be considered irrelevant and dismissed based on Section 93 of the Constitution Act and Section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which protects the decision made based on the freedom of exercising one’s religious beliefs.    

Cause of Action:

            The case was brought to legal proceedings based on the differing opinions between the Plaintiff, Hall and the Defendant, Powers. As stated above, Hall felt there was a large infringement of his rights as a Canadian citizen and an individual, whereas, Powers felt he was well within his rights of making this decision based on denominational reasons. The prom is an annual event hosted by the school, planned by a committee of students, and supervised by teachers but does not take place on school property, nor is it part of a religious or educational nature. It is the duty of the school to guide the youth in the Catholic religion but not force them to think or behave in a certain manner.

Decisions and Reasoning:

            Before reaching a decision, an interlocutory injunction test, consisting of three areas, must be considered. The three areas of concern are: is the issue serious enough to be tried, will the applicant suffer damage that is irreparable should the injunction be denied, and which party will suffer more harm from the granting or denying of the interlocutory injunction.

            In regards to the first issue, it was found that the basis of Hall’s concerns were valid and in need of legal attention. Powers and the School Board had violated his basic human rights by denying access to him and his partner at the prom. It was also found the Catholicism does not have a consistent view of homosexuality. The Catechism states homosexuality is not natural and cannot be approved of; however, these people should be treated with respect, compassion, sensitivity and acceptance with no sign of any unjust discrimination. Principle Powers had unjustly discriminated against Hall based on his sexuality. Catholic schools have limited power to control what subject matter is taught during school hours, however, they do not have control over student’s extra-curricular activities; and seeing as the prom was held off school property, fits this category. Principal Powers’ decision was found to be unprotected by Section 93 of the Constitutional Act because the specific right being questioned in this case was not in effect at the time of Union in 1867 and therefore cannot be considered within the nature of the school. A final reason with respect to the primary issue is that Catholicism states nothing about same sex dancing where students are fully clothed and supervised. To any educated Canadian, this would be considered public dancing which is not a sexual act and is therefore, chaste behaviour.

            Issue number two of the interlocutory injunction test refers to damage that cannot be properly compensated. In the case at hand, if Hall fails to attend his prom, it will be a lost opportunity forever. Hall was found to be the party that suffered irreparable damage if excluded from his high school prom. School is a fundamental institution where youth gain context for their social lives. Exclusion from a significant school event and Rite of Passage, such as prom, would mean a restriction from a fundamental institution in a youth’s life, as well as suffer a serious blow to his dignity.

            The final part of the interlocutory injunction test found that the damage suffered by Hall, as well as, homosexual people in general far outweighed any damage suffered by the Catholic community. The potential ruling of the case does not intend to restrict the beliefs or teachings of Catholics, or any other Canadians regarding religious or homosexuality beliefs, however it does seek to restrain the conduct in this specific situation. If the interlocutory injunction is denied, the school has the ability to continue restricting homosexual students from certain school activities. Whereas, the School Board can always have the ongoing rights protected at trial, Hall will never be able to attend his prom again.

            An interlocutory injunction was issued to Hall against Powers restraining the school, School Board, or anyone else with knowledge of the case from allowing his attendance at prom with his boyfriend or cancellation of the event on May 10, 2002. The judge ruled that Hall’s rights in Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been breached by Powers and the School Board. Hall was not trying to make his homosexuality a public issue, but make use of the only resource left available to him, which was to seek legal guidance. The judge also ruled that both Hall and Powers were to respect the fundamental rights; including expression, association, and religion of one another.

Implications and Applications:

            In regards to the case I chose to examine I was happy with the decision made by the judge. I am Roman Catholic and have always attended Catholic schools. As I have grown, I have come to find that the Catholic view of the world is very judgemental and close minded. It seems that strong Catholics feel there is only one way to live and any straying from that results in unpleasant consequences. For example, if a woman has child out of wedlock she is doomed to Hell. I can only imagine how Hall felt being denied his right to attend his prom with his boyfriend and being told he does not fit into the ideals of his school. Many graduates choose dates to attend with that are significant to them for a specific reason and being denied to share that experience with an important person would be devastating. I feel the judge making the ruling to allow Hall to attend prom with his partner is the beginning of change within education. It generally takes a while for new ideas to make the way to Saskatchewan; however it does give me hope that inclusion and equality will be more prominent during my career as a teacher. Currently, based on what I witnessed in my schooling years and what I have heard in my classes, I do not want to teach in a Catholic school division. But, based on the ruling in this case and the justice Hall received, I am confident change will continue across Canada and perhaps my judgements towards Catholic schools and school divisions will subside with it.

Learning Through the Eyes of the Abused

     Domestic violence is a huge factor that many teachers have to think about on several occasions during their teaching career. Domestic violence can and most likely is when the males in the home are the abusers, but some female abusers are prevalent. Abuse can affect a child in many ways depending on the circumstances. A child may be a bystander when abuse happens to another person or that child may be the one who is being abused. Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year (Carlson, 1984). Children from homes where domestic violence occurs are physically or sexually abused and/or seriously neglected. This is an important topic to cover with teachers because they are the people who spend the most time with students besides the parents. They can see the warning signs and help the child in their time of need. Teachers will most likely be disclosed to by an abused child and it is important for the teacher to know and understand how to handle that situation if and when the time comes.

      At the emerging conference I attended a session called C.A.R.E which was a session about being prepared when a student may disclose abuse to you. This session also looked at the warning signs when abuse may be happening and how it may affect the students learning. This is an important topic for teachers to address in their career and maybe even get the proper training to deal with situations that may arise. Dealing with students who have been having issues in their home can be a tricky thing to deal with but it is something that teachers will have to deal with. The relationship between teachers and students is the greatest thing outside of the home and the support teachers can give their students will play a tremendous impact on their learning.

     These issues tie in with the adaptive dimension and differentiation when thinking about how teachers can adapt their learning and their teaching setting in order to accommodate all students, including the ones who may need more support because their home life is struggling. Students who have been abused are also more susceptive to having learning disabilities that can be addressed as well. When we have talked about adaptive dimensions and modifications as well as differentiation, most of the time, we are told about learning styles and capabilities of the students. A lot of the time, we miss the factors that abuse victims may show in their learning as ways to adapt their learning.4

      As a future educator, I worry about how I will adapt my teaching in order to be sensitive to students who may show warning signs of abuse. I also question myself about how I will deal with situations when it arises. I would like to prepare myself to see the warning signs of my students who may be dealing with abuse in their home and I want to be prepared to deal with the situation. I would like to learn more about what I can do to help my students feel safe and know that they can approach me at any time with their problems, without singling out anyone. I want to learn to balance my attention to all my students but also understand how to address issues in the whole classroom so my students feel comfortable and trust me to hear them. I would also like to learn about a variety of resources that I can use; besides the C.A.R.E kit, in order to teach my students about abuse and how to get help.

     As stated above, 3 million children are at risk each year of some sort of domestic violence and/or abuse and these children will most likely pass through our classrooms and I feel like I need to be prepared for when it happens. I want to investigate the issues deeper and create a compilation of resources that I can teach myself with and prepare myself to help my students in any way possible.

 Carlson, B. E. (1984). Children’s observations of interpersonal violence. In A. R. Edwards (Ed.), Battered women and their families (pp. 147-167). New York: Springer.

Link to Red Cross Respect Ed program website

Assessment: For Who?

For the teacher?

     Assessment is very important to teachers because it allows them to see growth of their students in a variety of different ways. I believe there to be three parts to assessment. The first part of assessment is the introduction of the assessment to the students. This is when the teacher is able to tell her students what she expects from them and she will also show them how they will be assessed. If there is a mark attached to the assessment, the teacher will show the students how they can achieve a mark suitable for the work they do. If there is no mark attached then the teacher is able to divulge on the diverse ways she will be assessing their work. The second part of is the process of assessment. This can be the observation the teacher is making on students, it can be the students’ process of understanding or it can be the student working on something being taught. The final part of evaluation is the results. After going through the process of evaluation, teachers need a final mark to give students on what they accomplished. I believe that the most important aspect of assessment is the process of which the mark is obtained. This is where teachers find out the most about their students. This is where teachers teach and students learn. This is where teachers can find out where their students are at and adapt their teaching in order to better the understanding of the concept. If teachers are able to see how they are teaching and how the students understand the process; the students will have a better chance of succeeding in the end.

 

For the Student?

     The process of assessment does not matter to the students. The only thing that matters to them is the end result of how well they did. Students become very competitive when it comes to marks and assessment. They either strive to be the best in the class or they don’t care enough to try. Students believe that marks define who they are in school. I have seen this happen on many different occasions. In my high-school experience, marks were all that mattered to some people, including myself. I had to work hard to get the title that I was because my older sister was a slacker and did poorly. I had to prove to my teachers that I wasn’t the same as her and once I got those marks to prove it, I wasn’t letting go. It didn’t matter what work I had to do in order to complete the assignment, as long as I got a very high mark, I was happy. I have seen this in the elementary school as well; students who have anxiety attacks based on the fact that they got one error in math. Students are driven in school by the marks that they receive because it has been “standard” to succeed in school only with a high grade. Students are so used to the grade systems from years of dealing with them that even when we get to University and are told by some professors that marks do not matter and that it is the information being produced and understood that counts, we still focus on our mark in the end. I watch girls throw fits when they get an 80-85 (ish) because it isn’t a distinct mark being given. Students focus too much on the end result and don’t pay attention to what they are actually learning. Students need to realize that the actual reward is the learning that takes place in their work.

 

For the Parents?

     Assessment for parents is based around the final grade that is given to their child on their report card. Parents do not care how their child is being assessed but only that they succeed in the end. I have seen this on many occasions with my parents, my sister who is also a parent as well as parents I have met where I have taught their children. I remember bringing home an assignment that I did poor on and having my parents question me about why I didn’t get a better mark. My dad used to tell me not to worry because as long as my report card had good marks on it, it did not matter what the marks on my assignments were. My sister who is a parent of two school aged children and I have seen teachers send home rubrics on how the kids will be marked on certain things and my sister highlights the most excellent column and makes sure the kids know exactly how to achieve the best mark. I don’t know if it is just my family or if it is society today. Personally I believe that we live in a society where parents strive for their children to get good grades in school because everything nowadays is based around success. Some people like to deny that the world revolves around success but the reality is that it all starts in elementary school. Students and parents need to see success through grades; they do not care about the process of learning and assessment as long as there is a high 90s mark or an A+ on that page.

     The similarities of assessment lie between the parents and students focussing on the ending mark on the students work. As stated above, students and parents look at the end result to identify the successes of the student achievement. Teachers look at the process and the end result and how they coincide with each other to define student success. The whole understanding of where success is in the school system is mistaken in various aspects; the parents think it’s the end result, the teachers believe in the process. The whole success of students is on their learning and the potential they have achieved in their learning and understanding. It does not matter if a child takes a day, a week or a month to obtain a learning concept; the success lies in their ability to achieve that concept. The similarities and difference can be argued a great deal because the views and importance of assessment vary on different levels. Parents think one way, students another and teachers even a more different way.

EDUCATION AND MY TEACHING PROFESSION!!

     Education, student learning and student success play a huge part a teaching profession; all of which can be seen and proven through assessment. Everything in the education system is interconnected with each other; teaching is connected to learning, learning is connected to assessment, assessment affect teaching, it is a continuous cycle. “We use the general term assessment to refer to all those activities undertaken by teachers — and by their students in assessing themselves — that provide information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning activities. Such assessment becomes formative assessment when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet student needs (Black P. & William D. Pp. 1).” My beliefs of education and my philosophy of assessment go hand in hand with one another.

     “Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education… We are born weak, we need strength; we are born totally unprovided, we need aid; we are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education (Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, On Philosophy of Education).” Education is about making some sort of impact on your student’s lives; and about teaching students the knowledge that they need to move on in life and achieve their goals. Education is about creating the perfect teaching environment and accommodating the needs of every student in order for everyone to have an equal chance at success and for every student to thrive to achieve their ultimate potential. The minds of children are very creative and full of knowledge at the beginning of the school year; they just need that spark or light of the teacher to get their brains going. Children are like candles that need to be lit by an education that is provided throughout 13 years of schooling. As well as the knowledge end of teaching, students need to be engaged in what they are learning and have relevance to what they are learning of they won’t hold on to the information being presented. I believe that creating a healthy teaching environment for the students is essential because it will help keep them focussed and in like in the classroom. I also believe that the teaching environment extends far beyond the classroom, and that it is no confined to teacher-student relationships. Education can not only take the form of formal classes, but can also occur during informal conversation. I believe in the open door policy where the students can come to me at any time with any problem either in the classroom, on the playground, or at home. I believe my classroom will be welcoming to all students, parents, and other professionals to come and learn.

     “Methods of assessment are determined by our beliefs about learning. According to early theories of learning, complex higher-order skills had to be acquired bit-by-bit by breaking learning down into a series of prerequisite skill, a building-blocks-of-knowledge approach (Dietel, Herman, Knuth, Pp. 3).”  Assessment is created based around individual student learning. Assessments are “building blocks of knowledge” that allows students to build on their understanding and allows teachers to reflect on their teaching. Teachers take a great deal of information from assessment and evaluation. Teachers can see where their students are in their learning as well as they can learn more about the way they are teaching and how to adapt their teaching strategies to accommodate individual student learning.

      Accommodating the diverse needs to students in each classroom can be difficult but know the adaptive dimension and incorporating it into the classroom, teaching and assessment will help allow equal success of students. “The adaptive dimension refers to the concept of making adjustments in approved educational programs to accommodate diversity in student learning needs. It includes those practices the teacher undertakes to make curriculum, instruction and the learning environment meaningful and appropriate for each student (Saskatchewan Education. Pp.1).” Teachers have the capacity to adapt the curriculum, teaching strategies and assessment to accommodate all students learning. Knowing your students and their learning abilities is crucial for an educator because students cannot be taught as whole. Students are “parts” of a classroom and every part has its own job and it’s on contribution to the product as a whole. The idea that students are very diverse and the necessity to address the diversity in learning is what we have been striving for in the classroom.

     Howard Gardener once stated, “I believe that the brain has evolved over millions of years to be responsive to different kinds of content in the world; language content, musical content, spatial content, numerical content, etc.” This is the essence of the adaptive dimension. Students are diverse in so many ways whether it is their interests, their learning styles, their home life, etc. Students need adaptations to suit their needs and it is the responsibility of the teacher to do that for them and the teacher can do that through assessment. Teachers can have a variety assessment tools to allow students equal opportunity to show their abilities. Teachers can also adapt the amount of assessment that takes place. There may be some assignments and lessons that do not need to be assessed and then there may be some assignments that can be assessed using a variety of ways. I believe that some sort of self-assessment should be incorporated because it allows the students the opportunity to take ownership for their learning as well as it gives the teacher’s information on the student understanding.  The various principles of the adaptive dimension are the answer to address the issue of diversity.

     A variety of assessment can be addressed through formative or summative assessment. There are non-graded assessment and graded assessment that will allow students to show their diverse potential and allow for personal success. “Evaluation should be fair and equitable, giving all students opportunities to demonstrate the ex of their knowledge, skills, and abilities (Saskatchewan Education, Pp. 2).”  The guiding principles of students’ evaluation point out very distinct understanding of what assessment and evaluation should be. These guidelines are everything that I believe of education and assessment.

     “Formative assessment is intended to provide information for both teachers and student about the progress of that student so that corrective action may be taken to help achieve the desired learning outcomes (Saskatchewan Education. Pp. 9).” Formative assessment allows teachers to see where students are in their understanding and get a ball park idea of what they need to adapt to create success for the student. Formative assessment also allows students to see where they need improve. Formative assessment acts as a communication between teacher and students as well as teacher and parents. The communication between teacher and students allows for a better understanding to help them work together to create the best fitting assessment, assignments and atmosphere for student learning. The communication between teacher and parents allows the parent to see where their child is in school. Parents will then be able to help further their students learning with at home activities. The formative assessment also allows parents to see how their students are being evaluated in school and this will make parents a little more comfortable knowing that it is not the end result for their child. From personal experience, if my parents would have seen some sort of formative assessment on my sisters, they would have understood the end result. Formative assessment gives the reasoning behind the summative assessment.

     “Summative assessment is intended to provide information to be used in making judgements about a student’s achievement (Saskatchewan Education, Pp. 9).” Summative assessment such as rubrics and checklists allow the teacher to compare where students are on an average. Students need to be evaluated using summative assessment so the teacher can see where the students are and adapt their learning to help the student get to where he/she needs to be. Students need to be at a certain level of understanding before moving on in school and using summative assessments allow teachers to evaluate student understanding to see if they have reached the expected potential. Summative assessment is also what the parents need to see. Our society is wrapped solely around the equivalence of success and good grades. Arguments have arise based around how students should be assessed, my personal belief is that students need to be assessed using a variety of assessment tools; formative and summative. Students need the variety to address their individual understanding.

     My philosophy of education focuses on giving students equal opportunity to succeed and creating that environment where students can achieve. I can achieve that belief through assessment and I believe this is the first time that I have actually realized how important assessment is to my teaching. Teaching is connected to learning, learning is connected to assessment, assessment affect teaching, it is a continuous cycle, everything is interconnected.  Having a variety of assessments will help me evaluate my students and know my students needs so I can better their learning.  Assessment can tell a great deal about who the students are, what they need and what I can do as a teacher to help them.

David Guilborn Article: White Supremacy

    

 I found this whole article to be disturbing as a future teacher by just knowing that there is racism in every aspect of the world today and knowing that I really have no control over changing that. I always knew that there was bias in standardized testing but this article made me realize just how much we have changed testing in order to leave behind those students of other races. I think the example about the changes in the assessment system is more devastating to me because I will be teaching students of all races and I have to create a safe environment for them. I have to keep my students comfortable and safe from racism and the school system is just reinforcing it through standardized tests. Testing students with biased assessments is unfair on all levels because it diminishes the opportunities for these students to succeed.

     Guilborn has a way of pointing out the obvious and his words really made me think about who I am as a teacher and as a citizen. I realized how much I just stand by and watch racism happen because I don’t feel like it’s my place to intervene and get involved. I am a bystander as a citizen in the world of racism. But when I think about myself in a classroom full of diversity, I want to be the one who has no bias and treats my students equally. Guilborn forced me to analyze my own beliefs as a citizen because I have always held an ideal of what a teacher should be and if I can’t represent that ideal in my own self as a citizen then how can I do it as a teacher. I never really thought that an article could have such impact on me and make me re-evaluate myself on many different levels but Guilborn did that.  I think in order to say that I am going to create a balance in my classroom and avoid racism; I need to practice that in my everyday life not just in my school and in my classroom. In order to be a professional in this area, I need to professionalize my life outside the school.

     Throughout schooling we have always been taught that standardized tests are a bad thing to have in schools because of the bad reputation placed on them. We have been taught that standardized tests are biased to white middle class people because they are who creates them. We have been taught that they do not consider the different learning styles or learning disabilities of students. As well, we have learned about the ranking system that the standardized tests inflict on schools in provinces. In Guilborn’s article he argues that standardized tests may be a more fair approach in many instances where racism may come into the picture. I agree that standardized tests are used to see the level at which students are at and I also agree that standardized tests may be better because all the tests are the same and no matter what your race is, you are still taking the test and have the same “standards” as everyone else. The problem I have is that standardized tests are biased and even though they may give students an identical opportunity, that isn’t the case. Standardized tests are created by white middle class people and the questions are based around the knowledge that white middle class students can answer. Students of different classes and different races do not have the same opportunities outside of the classroom. So although the standardized tests do test students equally, the opportunities for success are not the same. As for the anecdotal records, I feel like Guilborn is arguing that they are also biased which I have never even considered a possibility. Anecdotal record, from what I was always taught, is a brief documentation of teachers observing student progress in different areas. Teachers systematically collect and analyze anecdotal comments, and evaluate students’ progress and abilities to use language and then plan appropriate instruction. With Guilborn’s idea that anecdotal records are biased, it is the teacher who is creating that bias. Knowing that some teachers may be racist and allow their students to fail because of their preference to certain races breaks my heart. Teachers are supposed to be giving students opportunities to succeed, not take them away.