F5F for September

by EdContexts Facilitators

Our “#f5f” (“Find 5 Friday”) “picks” for September (thought-provoking or inspiring posts we’ve come across during the month that we ‘like’) ended up with a teaching and pedagogy focus - possibly due to the influence of the ‘Connected Courses’ MOOC (#ccourses), which some of us at EdConteXts are participating in.

Apostolos K. (“AK”) @koutropoulos (instructional designer, educator)
Critical Pedagogy: Intentions and Realities (Online Edition)
In his post, AK uses a ‘Hybrid Ped’ article written by EdConteXts facilitator Maha Bali to reflect on his own teaching practices. Mirroring Maha’s article, AK takes the three intentions of critical pedagogy outlined by Maha and writes about how he sees each of them play out in the online class he teaches. The importance of considering context in teaching comes through: in valuing the diversity (in experience, background, age, culture) of all learners in the class, and by adapting standard assignments to provide an outlet for learners to express their culture and experience in the work they submit.

Helen Blunden @ActivateLearn (learning consultant)
‘Part 1 of a social onboarding – a case study…’
Helen Blunden outlines (part 1 of) a comprehensive case demonstrating how an effective learning needs analysis is undertaken in a corporate environment. It requires gaining a thorough understanding of the learner’s context, needs, and learning / work environment; the (business) purpose for the program, engaging the right people – often through sheer resourcefulness and determination, and identifying how to best use existing tools and technologies to achieve learning and business outcomes. In this context, designing an effective learning experience is all about making it directly relevant and bringing as much of it into the learner’s work context as possible.

Domingos Di Lello (educator)
‘Speak English Please’
In this post on the Supervision Open Channel site (dedicated to sharing pedagogical practices in English langage teaching, initiated in part by EdConteXts facilitator Clarissa Bezerra), Domingos Di Lello discusses the challenges of teaching English to children (aged 7-10 years) in Brazil, where both the children and the majority of teachers aren’t native English speakers. He outlines the arguments for and against speaking the native language during English classes, and shares guiding principles used at the school he teaches. He concludes that whilst children need maximum exposure to English during class, there will be occasions when it is necessary to speak in the native language.

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno@adamheid (educator)
‘Syllabus as Manifesto: A Critical Approach to Classroom Culture’
Adam Heidebrink-Bruno proposes a refreshing approach to university course syllabi in this Hybrid Pedagogy piece. He puts up a passionate and inspiring example of a syllabus explicitly written to uncover the unspoken cultural, historical and political values embedded in formal education systems and structures; repurposing the syllabus – from a mere administrative necessity to a meaningful and powerful cultural artifact designed to enhance the teaching-and-learning relationships within the classroom.

Our final ‘pick’ for this month is a clutch of posts about teaching and pedagogy that are more generic in terms of ‘context’, but make up for this in passion and inspiration. We couldn’t resist including them all:

Gardner Campbell @GardnerCampbell (educator)
‘Why I teach’
A beautifully written piece by Gardner Campbell describing his unexpected journey into teaching. He uses thought provoking quotes by Jerome Bruner to reflect on what it is that teachers that he loved did, and were good at doing (fostering ‘joint attention’) – and how he came to discover that he too, possessed a talent for doing this. Inspired by the ‘heroic inventors’ at the turn of the 20th Century, Gardner concludes his piece with a line of magically poetic prose summing up why he teaches.

Sonya Huber @sonyahuber(writer, educator)
Shadow Syllabus
An incredibly intimate and honest ‘conversation’ from a teacher to her students, written in 42 points. It gives a very human and personal account of teaching – and life – to students. Although she didn’t originally write it with the intention of sharing it with her students, Sonya was so inspired by the positive response from teachers that she did end up sharing an abridged version of this shadow syllabus with her students. Her follow up post ‘Teaching the Shadow Syllabus’ describes this experience.

Michelle Pacansky-Brock@brocansky(educator)‘The Liquid Syllabus: Are You Ready?’

In a similar vein to Adam Heidebrink-Bruno, Michelle Pacansky-Brock makes a case (and provides practical ideas) for creating online syllabi which are both beautiful and captivating – something that students actually want to engage with, rather than just something they have to read.

Roopika Risam (@roopikarisam) (educator) ‘In Defense of Learning Outcomes’

EdConteXts facilitator Roopika Risam writes in defense of the “humble, uncapitalized “learning outcome”’ (a.k.a course goals or objectives). Well considered and constructively written learning outcomes incorporated into the course syllabus gives students insight to your vision for the course, and provides a clear guide for designing assignments targeted to meeting course goals. In short: (for educators), they form part of the ‘transparency that must be at the heart of the contract between our students and ourselves’.

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