Friday, September 27, 2013

My Latest Teaching Assignment

This year, like last, I am teaching a course (hybrid - on-line and face to face) at St. Mark's College on the campus of the University of British Columbia in the Masters of Educational Leadership Program.

I am two weeks into teaching my latest course: Curriculum and Instructional Leadership.  Here is a summary of the course taken from the syllabus I developed:

Learners will examine the rationale and context for the current trends in curriculum transformation both globally and within the British Columbia K-12 education sector. Learners will explore the potential pedagogical implications of these shifts on student achievement and school leadership. Learners will also review the latest research related to curriculum and pedagogy and how both impact student achievement. It is within this context that learners will be asked to develop their own vision, skills and working knowledge to serve as instructional leaders.

To further develop their skills related to instructional leadership, learners will to explore problem-solving opportunities related to curriculum, pedagogy, student achievement and overall school growth.

Learners will critically examine the rationale and themes for current trends in curriculum reform initiatives globally and within in BC. Learners will be asked to examine and refine their own “pedagogical creed” (Dewey) in light of both curricular trends and the latest research on teacher pedagogy.

Students will be asked to examine and reflect on such questions as:
  • What are the ideas, themes and values ideas behind “21st Century Education”?
  • What is the purpose of schools and the curriculum taught within them? 
  • In an information “rich” world, brought on by the proliferation of the web-enabled and mobile technologies, what is worth “knowing”?
  • What are some the implications for Catholic Education in light of some the current trends in curriculum reform? 

Learners will also be asked to examine the impact the current curricular trends are having on teacher pedagogy. Learners will also examine the latest research on the impact various pedagogical approaches have on student achievement. Within this context, learners will develop a better understanding of the impact instructional leadership has on student learning.

Learners will be asked to examine and reflect issues such as:

  • Role and impact of technology on student learning (blended learning, flipped classroom, etc.)
  • The impact of assessment and grading practices in the learning process and further explore such ideas as. Assessment For Learning, standards based grading, the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset (Dweck)
  • Understand the constructivist versus didactic approach to pedagogy and the possible limitations to each approach 
Finally, learners will have an opportunity to develop their own vision for what it means to be an instructional leader in today’s schools. Learners will be asked to examine and reflect on such questions and ideas such as:
  • How can school leaders be supervisors of instruction for learning?
  • How can instructional leaders create positive and effective learning conditions for both students and teachers? (e.g. professional learning, teacher isolation, collaboration, learning communities)
  • What are the conditions for “learning for all” in a school (for students and teachers)
  • What is school culture and climate? How can leaders shape school culture and climate to enhance student learning?
  • How can/does a leader motivate learning for all? 
Already the learners are pushing my own thinking on many of these issues.  

Of course, any insights or suggestions are most welcome....

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