Innovation in Teaching

Heading Into The Classroom

This week we head into the final, closing module of our PME 811 course. I am here to wrap up my thoughts on the following burning question:

How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative? How do we stay relevant and create programming that follows curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material?

I announce with great excitement on my final blog post that I am heading into my first classroom in a few short weeks. I will officially be teaching communications at the college level and I could not be more excited. All of the learning and collaboration throughout this course has got the ball rolling on my plans for the fall. Now more than ever I am concerned with my burning question, and decided to do what we’ve been stressing throughout this semester – collaborate.

Immediately after accepting the position, I turned to a couple professors whom I admire and asked the question: “How do I do this? Where do I start? How do YOU do this?” And was pleasantly overwhelmed with the support and suggestions I received. Ask and you shall receive, am I right? I now have a few templates to structure my semester as well as the classes themselves, and I am already hunting for the “latest and greatest” methods to communicate the content matter.

So, now it is time for a little closure to the semester. I’m going to break down my question and answer it in the two parts I’ve addressed week after week:

How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative?

We keep our teaching innovative and creative through research, collaboration and listening. Listening to our peers and administration for feedback, but most importantly listening to our students. Observing their challenges and successes, and asking them for their feedback on our teaching as well. We keep flexibility in our programming when we can to address their interests and keep them empowered and motivated. We realize that not all creativity is good creativity and become selective as educators to draw upon innovation and creativity when it is necessary and when it will work for the content we are presenting.

How do we stay relevant and create programming that follows the curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material?

It is up to us to stay relevant. While having time given to us by the administration can help and is encouraged, it is ultimately up to us to “keep with the times” and adjust accordingly (speaking from a post-secondary level). The structure of the curriculum will vary between post-secondary institutions, and therefore we must research to remain relevant and address the appropriate learning material. As stated above, give students the opportunity to address their interests in projects when applicable and encourage self-regulation in their learning experience.

Thanks again to everyone who has tuned in throughout this PME blogging experience. I look forward to working with you more in the near future.

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