I think that’s where I am! Or maybe it’s just a time pit… This week’s learnings around Culturally Responsive Teaching, Universal Design for Learning, and technology’s effect on childhood made me think of this Learning Pit. I think it’s because both concepts acknowledge that learning is a struggle, but offer approaches to build capacity in our students to face the challenges and overcome them. I had heard of both Culturally Responsive Teaching and Universal Design for Learning but did not know enough to elaborate on either subject. I was really glad this week to have the opportunity to learn more.
Approaching my reading on Culturally Responsive Teaching, I used the following two questions on which to focus:
The “Levels of Engagement” gave me perspective about the connections between attention and commitment and the level of trust and safety our students need to feel in order to learn. I also began to speculate about the youngest learners and how this might apply to them. One thought I had was that younger students seem to trust more easily, but might struggle more in the areas of attention and elaboration (she explains this is an information processing skill). I also loved the idea that extended learning opportunities should not involve more assignments, but instead extended elaboration time--to process content already presented.
The learning on Universal Design for Learning was definitely a favorite. I was thrilled to learn more about this concept. I think I enjoyed it so much because it included layers and layers and layers of best practices. Again, I feel that UDL offers so much in the way of helping students climb out of the Learning Pit. Consider the guidelines and how they are organized to move students more and more towards self management in the “why, what, and how” of learning. I printed UDL resources out and am jazzed to share this with my staff--if they don’t already know. Back when I got my credential, UDL was not being talked about. I’m glad we got to dive deeper!
The added bonus of learning about how technology has changed childhood reminded me of my own household and children. I was definitely alarmed with Liz Perle’s comment that was something to the effect that this much technology is the greatest experiment we are doing on our own children and we don’t know the outcome… However, I still feel that technology is a tool (like any other--hammer, medication, etc) that needs to be used carefully. Common Sense Media is a wonderful resource to help manage this tool. Technology has so many countless applications in the world of education. It can be used to help engage, represent, and express information (like in UDL) as well as to help build collectivism, engagement, and connecting new content through music and visuals (CRT). You could almost say that technology, when used carefully, could serve as an adhesive to many components of these exciting pedagogies.