SLO: Educational Awareness- knowing current discipline-based and general educational issues and how those impact schools
The assignment I have selected for this SLO is the current events that we read in the fall of 2006. In our first semester of being masters cohort students, we read several articles on a variety of topics relating to education, and science teaching in particular. That course dealt with current issues involving research in science teaching and the classroom. The current event “should include a brief summary, analysis (i.e. analysis would include the author/article's strengths, weaknesses, and implications), and reflection (your thoughts on the content relating to its usefulness to you) of the article. The analysis will constitute the majority of the response. This activity is designed to increase your level of discernment and make you a wiser consumer of educational research” (San Fernando Valley Science Project, as retrieved from http://www.csun.edu/science/ma/index.html on March 12, 2008).
Throughout the course of the fall 2006 semester, I wrote 5 current events. Additionally, in class, several other articles were read and discussed. Other students also shared what they were learning as they were all also writing their current event papers as well. From this wealth of exposure to current research in science teaching, as well as to how (or if) the research in question is impacting todays’ schools, I definitely became more aware of current discipline-based research and general education issues, as well as how they are impacting schools.
Reading this wealth of articles – and more importantly, reflecting upon them and writing analytically about them – taught me much more than I expected. Reading the first few articles was interesting, but as time went on, and my ability to read these articles analytically developed, I “got” so much more out of them. From automatically trusting what I was reading, I began to ask questions while reading: “Is this good research?” “Where is the support to this statement?” “How does this impact my teaching?” I began to see that an article, just by merit of it being published, is not necessarily “good”, or representative of good research. I started examining these articles with a critical eye, looking to find what data their research was based on, for example.
I was surprised to find myself a more vocal participant in school policy meetings. In the past, during “professional development meetings” I would take a back seat, waiting for the time to pass, or trying to grade papers without anyone noticing. Now, not only am I more interested in these meetings, but I feel that I have input to share, if it is helpful and timely. The current events that I read and researched did more than expand my knowledge base of educational issues. It also has taught me to be a more critical and analytical reader. The value of reflecting upon these readings, especially in regards to how they can impact my teaching, has opened my eyes to the awareness of what a changing world education is. An article that I previously would have considered dry, difficult, and boring, I can now look at and wonder – is it based on good research? Are their implications here that may affect my teaching – or my learning? This approach to reading removes me from a passive role, making me an active participant in the experience.