Demonstration of Learning Interview

1. Philosophy of Assessment and Evaluation:

I believe that assessment and evaluation needs to be different for every student, and that there is no one-way to assess all the time. I also believe that the students should know exactly what and when they are being evaluated on. One of the most frustrating things I have experienced, as a student, is feeling unclear about assignments and exams and then realizing that I didn’t complete what the professor or teacher had wanted. I don’t believe that tests or assignments should be a surprise. Something I hadn’t really considered or thought about before this semester is the difference between assessment and evaluation. Assessment is gathering information about student learning, and we as teachers may teach differently based on what we find as we assess. Evaluation is when we decide whether or not students have learned what they needed to learn and how well they learned it. (Davies, 1)

After taking this class, I definitely agree that assessment should be happening constantly in the classroom to understand where the student learning is. Throughout my limited experience in the classroom, I have learned that regardless of what you have planned in your lesson outline and weekly plans it doesn’t mean that your students will achieve everything you have set out. That is exactly why it is so important to be always assessing your students to see where they are at because realistically, they will always be at different places at different times.

Student involvement is a large part of my assessment and evaluation philosophy. Giving the student’s choice is something that I believe goes a long way in regards to motivation and engagement. Davies outlines on page 5 how involving students can shape their own learning because:

  • Understand what is expected of them
  • Access prior knowledge
  • Have some ownership over making it happen
  • Be able to give themselves descriptive feedback as they are learning
  • Give information that teachers need to adjust their teaching

I think that the last bullet is extremely important, especially as an inexperienced teacher because we won’t always have the best lessons starting out, and it takes a bit of experimenting before we can see what works and what doesn’t work. Involving your students in this process gives them a sense of responsibility and confidence because if something isn’t working, then you as the teacher are flexible enough to make a change if possible. It also gives you the accessibility to be more on the same level as your students instead of you being the leader all of the time

Finally, differentiating assessment and evaluations are extremely important because every learner is so different, and therefore success looks different for every student. I have realized through my experience as a student, specifically in-group work, how differently success looks to each student. I have also realized in my field experience how each student has different strengths and weaknesses, and therefore need to have different ways of showing their success.

2. Describe how you used assessment and evaluation in your field experience.

  • Consider how you used formative and summative assessment

As mentioned before, my partner and I were not able to use a lot of our own assessment and evaluation practices during our placement, only because of bad timing in the unit plan. However, we were able to do a lot of formative assessment. We spent a lot of our time at the school reviewing essay writing, therefore a lot of the observation we did was formative assessment. The only formative assessment I was able to use was an exit slip during some spare time we had. Our class had been reviewing the novel and connecting different parts of the novel to the essay topics they were given the choice of choosing, so when I had some extra time left over in class one day I asked the students to write down on their piece of paper what essay topic they were considering, and why they think they could write an awesome essay about it. I was really surprised by their answers because I honestly thought that they were getting nothing from my lessons, and were annoyed because they were so repetitive. However, when reading the exit slips the student’s gave me, I realized that they were engaged because many students wrote down that they would use that topic because we as a class discussed specific examples from the book, and some even wrote down the page numbers they were on! I was amazed, and really happy because if I hadn’t assessed the students, even in that simple of a form, then I would have had no idea where they were at in regards to how prepared they were to write their essays. I felt after seeing where each student was at, that I could move on to the next step in the process.

  • What assessment tools you used,

As mentioned – the only assessment tools we were able to use was the exit slips. However, my cooperating teacher used a lot of Scantron sheets as a form of evaluation. I wasn’t completely sure how I felt about Scantrons because I remember using them as a student and hated them as there was no choice and often I received a very low grade, which wasn’t reflective of my actual knowledge. However, my coop still used it as a form of assessment because he often used them for grammar quizzed or “have you read the book” quizzes. They were still for marks, however he usually made these quizzes to be a low portion of their grade. It also was more so a form of evlatiation because the student’s were not able to re-do the quiz without coming to see him for extra help. For example, many of the students did very poorly on the grammar quiz and he gave the students the option of re-doing the quiz, only if they were willing to come after school or lunches for extra help. Only one of his classes took this offer up, and only a handful of students showed up for the extra help, so not everyone was given the opportunity to re-do it. He also didn’t give this option all the time, which is why I am unclear as to if it was an evaluation or form of assessment.

  • How you involved students in the assessment/evaluation process,

We spent a lot of our time while we were in our pre-internship teaching the students how to write essays. We did this by giving them a rubric that our cooperating teacher gave us that he was using to mark the essays, and we went through this rubric in depth with the students for many classes. The rubric was a really specific rubric that had examples of what each mark would get. For instance, for the title it had an example of what would be considered a title worth a full mark, an example of a title that would be considered a half a mark, etc. Our coop outlined the rubric like that for all aspects of the essay, so I thought it was a really great rubric. We also involved the students by having them mark a sample essay created by our coop from the rubric. They did this in partners for a class, and then the next class I projected the sample essay through the smart board and we went through as a class marking the essay, using the rubric as a check list to ensure that the essay followed the rubric and then I would get the students to tell me what mark they would give the essay, using the rubric. They students really enjoyed being involved in this activity because they knew they were marking their teacher’s essay so they took it seriously and really pulled it apart. I also think they really took a lot away from it, and am confident that almost all of the students can outline a five-paragraph essay easily.

  •  Differentiation and accommodations you made for equitable assessment/evaluation, etc.

I wasn’t able to witness a lot of assessment or evaluations; however, I must admit that I didn’t see a lot of accommodations made for the students. As mentioned before, all students were given the same quiz on in a very unforgiving format – Scantron. There was one EAL student in our class who really could have used accommodations, as they were still writing down their notes in Mandarin. This particular student also did very poorly on both of the Scantron quizzes that I witnessed and I felt as if there could have been some sort of accommodation.

However I must say that my coop did have a few different forms of evaluation and assessment because there was more than one way of assessing the students taken into consideration. For example, when we arrived the students were just finishing up some debates revolving the topics found in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This debate was worth marks, and there were some students who really shined. Since we were relatively new at this point, we were not that familiar with the students so after discussing these debates with our coop, he told us that he was very surprised at how well some students did and how poorly others did. He said that one student in particular wasn’t that strong of a student on paper through writing, however doing this type of oral presentation, the student did extremely well. I realized being in the classroom how important it is to incorporate numerous ways of evaluating because each student shows strengths in different ways.

3. How closely did your assessment and evaluation practices in the field align with your philosophy?

I am not confident that I observed enough forms of assessment during the three weeks to say whether or not the assessment/evaluation practices aligned with my philosophy. I would say that I did witness a limited amount of differentiation in regards to evaluation practices, because we were able to only see oral and written evaluations. As mentioned previously, I wouldn’t say I am 100% comfortable with assessing students through a Scantron sheet because it is so limiting to their knowledge, however after experiencing it a few times I could see how I would use this as a form of assessment in certain things from time to time, definitely not all of the time. I also think that there was many times that differentiation could have been put into use in regards to certain EAL students. In my classroom, I would try to adapt the evaluations and assessments to help the EAL students succeed, and I don’t think that there was everything done to differentiate to suit their specific needs.

  1. Three key leanings you have taken away, and why will these three things be so important to your teaching practice?
  • Differentiation:

Throughout this semester and especially from my field experience, I have learned that differentiation in assessment and evaluation is so important. Every student has a different take on success in the classroom. I especially noticed this in the classroom because often the students who spoke up during class discussions answering my questions and prompts were more so the average students who did poorly on written evaltiatons or assessments. The students who were at the top of the class in regards to academics were very quiet and often never spoke up unless I called on them. I also noticed that the very strong students academic wise, also did very poorly on oral presentations and vice versa for the weaker students, who did quite well orally and very poorly on written. Therefore, it was such a great opportunity to learn how important differentiation is because all of those students were showing their leanings in completely different ways, and if they were only given one way of presenting their knowledge, it might not be an authentic showcase.

  • Descriptive Feedback

Unfortunately, I wasn’t given the opportunity to actually give my students descriptive feedback however I still took this part of assessment and evaluation as one of the most important parts. From class discussions, and from experience as a student myself I believe that instead of just slapping a mark on an assignment, you should be describing why and where the student succeeds, and where the student can still improve. Using a rubric is something I hadn’t really done before (as a teacher), but going through a specific rubric that outlines exactly where and why the students will get their marks made it very clear to the students how they can succeed.

  • Frequency

I think this aspect of assessment ties my first two key leanings together very nicely. For instance, differenation needs to happen all the time in order to get an authentic understanding of there the student’s are, as my example previously about the differences in the student’s understanding of the content when presented orally verses written. This differentiation of evaluation and assessment needs to happen more than just once because then the student has multiple opportune to show case their work. For example, if the students were only given the opportunity to be evaluated orally, then not all students would succeed. In regards to descriptive feedback, I think frequency definite ties into that well because if you are giving the descriptive feedback at the end of the unit where there is no oppoirtiny gor the students to improve is not beneficial for the students, nor for the teacher. Descriptive feedback needs to be given at multiple times throughout the unit because then there is the chance for students to succeed because perhaps they don’t even realize what they need to improve on. It was so interesting to read Beth’s blog post about her experience with descriptive feedback because it seemed as if it was very successful and she was very proud of it. I would love to use this during my internship in the fall.

With all of these learnings, I feel a lot more comfortable with the assessment process and am very excited to put these key elements to use in my own classroom.

Pre-Internship – Final Reflections

I was very nervous and somewhat apprehensive going into my first ever high school teaching experience. However, I realized very early on that I had nothing to be nervous about, and that I definitely chose the right career path. I loved being in a high school, interacting with the students in that age group. My only wish is that I could have spent more time in the classroom to continue to build relationships with the awesome students because they were my biggest fear, but turned out to be my absolute favourite part of pre-internship.

I cannot even begin to explain the knowledge I have gained throughout the three weeks. I completely understand why people have said that third year in education is the hardest because of the pre-internship. It is so difficult being dropped into a classroom smack dab in the middle of a semester. I really learned what an asset flexibility is as a teacher. I also learned how to collaborate effectively and professionally with colleagues, even if our ideas didn’t always match up with each other.

It was probably some of the toughest three weeks that I have ever experience, only because it was completely out of my regular schedule and something completely and totally new to me. However I feel as if I have already grown so much as an educator and am motivated and excited to get back into the classroom and continue doing what I love.

Overall, I had a really great experience and was very fortunate to be able to work with an established and successful cooperating teacher who was so willing to welcome us into his classroom. He gave us a lot of really detailed and informative feedback about what I should continue to work on during my internship. I really appreciated all of the heartfelt advice he gave us because much of it was a thing that I would never have realized without being observed. This experience has also prepared me for internship and I am nothing but excited and confident.

Pre-Internship – Separate School Experience

Being placed in a separate school division is a great learning experience for me. Not only did I attend a public school, but I also attended a really small high school. It is so interesting to see the differences in both. Something I admire is the sense of community this school seems to have with each other because they gather very often for things like mass and reconciliation. It is definitely a breath of fresh air.

I also find it very interesting that the students who attend schools in the separate division do not have to be religious, because I wonder why they would want to attend the school if they weren’t practicing religion. I also wonder why the parents would choose to put them in that school if they did not practice a religion. Perhaps it has to do with the school reputation in regards to academics or sports. It is all very interesting to analyze. I think that is is great that the students who don’t identify with a religion can choose whether or not they participate in the religious activities, such as reconciliation. I like that aspect of it because perhaps a particular student is religious but feels uncomfortable making confessions in the library at school. I like the fact that everyone has a choice.

I really value getting to experience different school divisions because it is so different than what my high school was like. My partner went to a school in the separate system so she is familiar with a lot of the protocols, whereas it is all new to me. I am soaking it all, and taking everything I learn as a piece of knowledge expanding my education experience.

Pre-Internship – Reflection of First Week

I have been in my classroom for a couple days, and so far I am loving being in a high school environment. I was nervous about entering my first high school teaching experience because it seems as if not long ago, I was still a student at a high school! I am mostly involved with grade 9 students. My partner and I are teaching the same grade 9 class, in different periods. We haven’t gotten a chance to teach yet, however I am learning a lot from observing which is awesome.

My partner and I have the opportunity to observe a different teacher’s supported grade 9 class. Right away we could see noticeable differences between the classes. For example, this supported english has a lot of EAL learners, therefore the dynamic of the classroom is quite different than our first periods. I noticed a lot more need for classroom management in this room, and the lessons and content also move at a much slower pace. I am very excited to be involved with this classroom because I know that there is an increasing number of diversity in schools, specifically an increase of EAL learners so it is a fantastic learning experience.

I am very happy with what classes I am observing because it seems as if everyone talks about how awful grade 9s are, however I am quite enjoying them! I also appreciate that my partner and I have a bit of observation time before jumping in because it gives us a chance to get to know the students better and an opportunity to get familiar with the school.However, I am excited to start teaching!

Inquiry Project: Final Post

The reason that I chose to research Treaty Education for my inquiry project is because I feel such an emphasis placed in almost all of our education classes, however I felt very lost to how I could actually implement these philosophies in my classroom.

imagesI have researched a lot about why it is crucial we as young teachers need to be introducing this education into our classrooms. I have been very encouraged, but also have had moments of extreme discouragement as well. For example, I overheard a fellow pre-intern during our three week block explain how he was teaching a social studies unit to his class, and his cooperating teacher had told him to skip over the part of the Catholic church’s involvement in residential schools. Hearing that I was very shocked, however I was motivated again when my cooperating teacher would make a point of always referencing residential schools and the mistreatment of Ingenious people in Canada’s history.

I feel as if many teachers feel like they are teaching Treaty Education if they mention residential schools. That’s a step, however there are many other aspects to Aboriginal history than just that horrible part. I was enthusiastic to find that there are resources readily available for teachers to incorporate Treaty Education, such as my previous post about the amazing 100 Years of Loss curriculum I received from the Legacy of Hope Foundation. tupper-mosaic

I also appreciate fellow educators and their continued research about Treaty Education. Jennifer Tupper is the Associate Dean of  Faculty Development and Human Resources in the Faculty of Education, and she is doing amazing research about this topic that I will continue to follow and learn from.

I found this project to be challenging, but I am motivated to keep my research going and always implement Treaty Education into my classroom. As a teacher I am a life long learner, and will continue to feed my crave for more resources and information. images-1

Inquiry Project Post #6: 100 Years of Loss

Throughout my inquiry project, I have highlighted a lot of different reasons why Indigenous education is crucial to be taught in schools because of the serious implications of the past still being so prominent in our society today. However, I haven’t really highlighted how I have found to actually include this in the classroom. One thing that I really struggle with is actually implementing Treaty Education in the classroom. I am so excited about  a resource I have found that I will most definitely use in my future classroom, hopefully even as soon as internship in the fall.lgacy_logo-300x67

A friend told me about this website called Legacy of Hope Foundation, where you can request specific resources from the organization for teachers to use in the classroom. These resources are created with the purpose of educating and creating awareness about the legacy of residential school and the intergenerational impact it has had on First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. The organization also supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors.

I requested a 100 Years of LosIMG_0708s curriculum, with little hope that I would actually receive one because the organization survives on donations alone, and gives away these amazing resources for free, therefore it is in high demand and they are only able to give what they have at the moment. However a few weeks after requesting a resource, the curriculum was mailed to me, entirely for free!

IMG_0711 I cannot express how enthused I am with receiving this incredible resource. It is absolutely amazing. It comes in a very organized folder with an information booklet, a teacher’s guide video, and a teacher’s guide filled with information, lesson plans, and activates.

The information booklet is filled with information about the foundation, as well as a brief overview of what residIMG_0710ential schools were, the conditions, the healing and reconciliation that is trying to happen, as well as information about what we can do as educators and Canadian citizens.

The teacher’s guide is filled with more information about how to use the guide, dealing with tough situations and how to get through them,background information about Residential Schools, and then six very detailed lesson plans with complementary resources such as actives and information.

Finding this resource gives me hope because it shows that there are real steps being take-in the direction of young teachers like myself are being educated and given the right tools (sometimes, free of charge!) to incorporate Treaty Education.                                                                    IMG_0715IMG_0712       IMG_0713

Inquiry Blog Post #5: Problematic Stereotypes

In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of teaching Indigenous education because without the proper education, then it is so easy to fall into stereotypes without even realizing. I don’t just want to bring awareness to my students but I want to challenge them to dig deeper, and think harder about why there are stereotypes involved.

For example, “Those EvanMunday_530_289_90Drunk Indians” is published in briarpatch magazine online, which explains very well how the stereotypes in Canada are very prominent. There is a quote in this article that was heartbreakingly real, “I am seen as an Indian first,” she says. “Then a woman. After that, it doesn’t matter that I’m gay or an auditor or someone’s aunt. I’m already less than.”

Why is this true? This is exactly why Indigenous education needs to be implemented more, and mandatory, as I challenged in my previous post. It should not be a choice, because it is not a choice for this woman to be seen as anything less than she is just because she is an Aboriginal woman.

As I mentioned also in previous posts, awareness and knowledge is the missing piece in my opinion. I grew up surrounded by countless stereotypes about Aboriginal people. It wasn’t until I was educated that I started asking the important questions such as why and how can I change this? If students aren’t aware of our country’s history, then how could they begin to understand the stereotypes and the implications that come with them?

The reason this is so important is because we need to fill the gap between Canadians and Aboriginal Canadians. For example, the article references the countless Aboriginal women that have gone missing and have been murdered, and yet there has been hardly anything done about it. It has been years, decades animages-1d there it is still not a pressing matter, as it absolutely should be. Again, I didn’t know about any of these because the media seems to be covering news stories from one side – the privileged. There is hardly any media coverage from the Aboriginal perspective.

The article also references the horrible murder trial for Cindy Gladue, who bled to death in an Edmonton hotel room from an 11-centimetre wound in her vagina. The white man was found not guilty, afterUnknown graphic images of her wounded vagina were on display for all of the jury to see. Would this case be any different if the woman was white and the accused man was Aboriginal?

As a cat lover myself, I was devastated to find out that a cat was found in Regina, tortured, with his legs tied up with electrical tape. Evie Ruddy compares the media’s coverage on these stories – the media con3803753_1426867084.7726tinues to post numerous updates about this poor cat and he has even gotten international media coverage. Citizens have fallen in love with this cat and have raised over $22,000 for him. How is it that a cat can get more media coverage, whereas a horrific murder trial with an outrageous verdict is nearly hidden from the public?

This article, and this author’s experience with stereotypes is exactly why Indigenous education is so crucial for our society. There is no question that we have a long way to go, but I am confident that once there is more awareness raised, the critical questions will soon follow.

Inquiry Project Post #4: Is Indigenous Studies a Choice or Requirement?

Throughout doing research for this project, I have noticed my eye catching a lot of headlines in the news that pertain to my topic. Recently I came across an article that surprisingly one of my friends I had grown up with, shared on social media that I couldn’t help but find so intriguing. The article is titled “Why Indigenous Studies Shouldn’t Be Mandatory; It’s redundant, it’s unfair, and coercion causes resentment” and it is founimagesd on Maclean’s website. This was even more interesting to me that she chose to share her ideas about Indigenous studies being invaluable as she herself has Métis background.

This article hits very close to home because it is specifically about University of Regina students. Although I do appreciate the concerns of some students in the article for the reasons why they feel they shouldn’t have to take the class, there is one specific part of the article that really stood out to me:Unknown

“I’m with him. Indigenous Studies is fine as an elective. But for many, it would be a waste of time and money. Above all, it’s wrong to force students to take classes focused on one minority’s history—especially when that minority’s history is already widely-covered in Canadian K-12 curricula.”

The reason I disagree with this is because I know first hand that the “minority’s history” is definitely NOT widely covered in Canadian schools even if it is included in the curriculum. I feel like I can say that with confidence because I grew up in a small town where we did not follow the curriculum, as we should have. Therefore, as I mentioned previously, I had zero exposure to any type of Treaty Education. I didn’t even know what a residential school was until my second semester of university.

I know that I can’t speak for all small towns, or even for people my age about what and when they were exposed to Indigenous education, however, I am familiar with the current curriculum and I was just in a high school where “the minority’s history” was not taught. Even though Aboriginal history is an essential aspect to the curriculum, it is unfortunately not always emphasized, as it should be.

For those reasons, this is why the article upset me. The fact that someone would say that the history is previously covered therefore we no longer have to learn it, is quite upsetting. Especially because my generation in particular there seems to be some sort of divide with the minority of our Aboriginal population because many people my age were not exposed to the important historical events that have had major impact on Indigenous people. This in turn then made many people ignorant and very unforgiving to the much more prominent stereotypes that we were exposed to instead.images-1

Even just the title of the article itself is problematic. Educating our Canadian people about the Indigenous population and their trial and tribulations they have suffered is absolutely necessary because it is such a crucial aspect of our country’s past. Claiming that making this type of education mandatory is going to cause resentment is just proving the point that the lack of correct Indigenous education is prevalent in our society.

I found a article arguing why the fact that someone actually wrote this article is PROOF that Indigenous studies needs to mandatory. If you felt upset like I did reading the article in Maclean’s, I would strongly suggest reading this post by Bannock + Butter on Tumblr.

To drive my point home, I will end with this quote; “he objects to being forced to spend $650 and countless hours on a subject he’s not interested in”.

Is the tragic history of our country’s people merely a subject that one can choose to participate in? I disagree with this article and think that choosing to participate in the Indigenous studies of Canada shouldn’t be a choice as the culture and repercussions of mistreatment surrounds us more then ever today.