EDU629: Module 1

2 minute read

EDU629: Module 1

Hi All, I’m Brandon I also go by bk for short. I just submitted my paperwork to get my standard cert in the area of Technology in NJ, wohoo! I teach at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest up in Bergen County. My current teaching duty has me teaching an introductory Technology and Engineering Foundations course for 9th grade, Engineering 1 course for 10th, and STEM Capstone course for 12th grade. It’s great, I am a hybrid between a traditional woodshop and a digital fabrication shop instructor and am able to use and teach both throughout my classes. Prior to teaching I worked in many workshops around Philadelphia and started Makerspaces within the Philly Free Library system.

Dr. Hattie argues that there needs to be a refocusing on student learning in educational spaces where all parties involved work to rid themselves of any distractions. He suggests successful teachers need to engage in reflective practices with leaders who are also focused on pedagogical practice. He suggests using traditional observation methods and engaging in deep thinking about how students: view learning, engage with it, or respond to various types of instruction you can begin to measure impact. Dr. Hattie contextualizes impact by matching it up with growth over the course of a year. Answering the how, where, and what does a years growth begins to give us quantitative and qualitative metrics to work with and judge the effectiveness of various interventions in the classroom over time. “Interventions” are different pedagogical practices such as direct instruction, flipped learning, differentiation, etc. The suggestion is that teachers need to be excellent at diagnosing student engagement and utilizing interventions on an individual basis to have a higher impact on learning. Dr. Hattie suggests that utilizing diagnosis, intervention, and reflection is the sequence required to increase impact and improve pedagogical practice.

Within the context of my technology foundations course we use a fair amount of initial diagnosis in the first unit to determine how students will engage in projects throughout the year. This diagnosis allows for myself and my student to begin to have conversations on how they will engage with the work within our workshops. I deploy a few different interventions over the course of larger projects to aid students in learning and mastering the tools and methods we want them to learn. Specifically I cycle through direct instruction, peer-peer instruction, and optional support as my students work through challenging tasks such as designing a siege machine or 3D modeling an enclosure for a USB flash drive circuit board. Over time either on my own or with my supervisor I begin to reflect on how things are progressing or how interventions are being utilized and modify my practice based on that. Our year to year growth metric was initially nebulous, but has started to gain clarity as our elective classes that can be take after foundations are being re-written and their projects are more concrete. This allows us to focus on students engaging in learning to focus on skills and ways of working that prepare them for those classes.