In my ECS 350 class (Pedagogy: Theory and Practices), we looked in detail at a case study involving a First Nation’s school and a small town high school merging a few classes together. This merge was a result of a fire that destroyed the First Nation’s school. The scenario was given to us; two teachers from the different schools were coming together to combine their classrooms and have a team teaching approach. If we were the teachers, what steps would we have to take to ensure that the merge would allow for students to continue to be in a safe place and feel open to learning?
I found this task extremely difficult because of the different world views that would be coming into the classroom. How would we allow all students to feel safe and not threatened by the others’ worldview? How could we get rid of the stereotypes that were bound to happen? When we got into learning about who our students were and what they needed, we started to realize just how diverse of a group of learners these students were. We read that both schools like that experiential, hands on learning. Awesome-that was how we were going to teach! But wait a second-does experiential learning look the same for both schools? Can we have experiential learning in a classroom that may not have good relationships? We decided that the use of technology (blogging to reflect, graphic organizers, wikispaces, and other software that may help with reading, writing and communicating) may work well in this classroom. Then we wondered if the school had access to enough computers or tablets for the students.
I feel as though I learnt a tremendous amount from this activity because as a group we were collectively discussing and challenging ideas about what would work best for this group of students. I came to the realization of how many different tasks and methods you have to think about in order for a group of learners to succeed. Through this activity, I have realized how crucial differentiated learning is to a classroom and how, as teachers, we need to be able to be extremely adjustable in our teaching. There are two ways we could have done this assignment; by reading the papers and writing a response, or by working together as a group of future teachers to actively discuss our options. Through working as a team, I feel as though I understood more points of view that were brought up by my classmates, and I learnt many new strategies and tools I could use to teach a class with many different learners.