EDET 677 Week 5 Initial Blog Essential Question: What is the relationship between teaching and learning?

Aleta May
EDET 677 Mechanics of Technology with Dr. Lee Graham

The computer programs I have used at school; such as Reading programs– Lexia, Compass Learning, Imagine Learning, assisting with the Read 180 program and Math programs Dreambox while touching on ALEKS Math, are all wonderful tools for an individualized blended learning environment. But it is so important to remember that these are programs designed to deliver curriculum—and can become robotic and even counterproductive if the teacher is not closely monitoring student progress within the medium of computer learning.

In Martinez & Stager (2013), the mantra, Less Us, More Them (LUMT) was introduced. This means we need to support our students; usually after waiting to be asked, but also by making ourselves available by walking around observantly. The goal is not fruitless struggling, rather “Wise teachers know when to dispense the smallest dose of information possible to ensure progress” (p. 71). This theory of learning rests on contructivism that is “progressive, child-centered, open-ended, project-based, inquiry-based” (p.71). The theory of teaching is constructionism—where teachers bring together new experiences that are associated with what students know and to be available at a natural moment in time – while being willing to let go of making sure every student gets the same “right” information delivered to them without any opportunity to tinker with objects and resources to experiment with and discover ideas. We need to set up environments for learning that bring about teachable moments that can be fully utilized when they occur. This 8 minute YouTube clip captures the teachable moment in a way that connects teaching and learning by setting up for a Leaning Mindset that includes not just a growth mindset, but a sense of trusting the teacher, belonging, and class goals are relevant to their personal lives:

The Cognitive Principles of Effective Teaching Video 5 of 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1QTaK2wmBQ

Prior knowledge needs to be correct in order to build on it. How do experts use this knowledge? Why does what I am learning matter. Formative assessments are valuable for immediate feedback for both students and teachers. Teachable moments need to be long-term. By using the information, students gain information they need for building understanding, and in turn using this knowledge over at least three times (in different ways). When students are completely involved in the concept, they are more likely to recall it from long-term learning.

I found a site where I can go to, select a subject (math), select video and type in a topic (area & perimeter) and get to videos or interactive games: http://pbslearningmedia.org

Using these can help the teacher capture a teachable moment and individualize learning. This is the Twitter handle: #PBSLovesTeachers

I believe that teachers’ professional identities are strongly impacted by factors like how the teachers around them view their roles, how safe a teacher feels trying out new pedagogies when they are being observed for using perhaps more traditional methods, and most of all how teachers view themselves as confident educators through their own beliefs and knowledge. Gee suggested “that a person’s identity is related to being recognized in a given context” (Bjuland, Cestari, & Borgensen, 2012, p.4). Related to this is the idea of using narrative to teach. This is similar to using think-alouds to teach, the teacher goes through a narrative process as he/she shows students their thinking by letting them in on their own process as they teach. When we solidify our thinking by self-reflection, we are in the process of thinking through how we will engage students through similar narratives, even when we teach math.

What is just as important is when we create an environment of pedagogic discourse is to allow for dynamic discourse—talk that is less regulated by the teacher and more shared between the students, rather than making them the regulated. The teacher takes on the role of being regulator only as needed. A resistant identity “complaining/arguing with the teacher, finding fault with/making fun of the teacher, blaming/doubting the teacher, challenging/refusing his authority” (Park, 2008, p. 9) is the result of legitimizing the power structure in “seemingly normal classroom interactions as pedagogic discourses between teachers and students as the regulator and the regulated in a classroom” (Park, p. 9).

Teachers will need to change “how they view themselves and their work in the context of their discipline and how they define their professional status” (Brownell & Tanner, 2012, p. 339). In my role as an educator, I have served primarily as support staff. I teach students individually and in small groups, I have gone room-to-room to teach English Language Development, and used music to teach speaking fluency. The changes in my roles are numerous. I have definitely experienced the changes in my own professional identity and often considered what the “rules of membership of that discipline” (Park, p. 341). I have a lot of control over how I am perceived, but not completely. There are many perceptions of how a special education teacher should teach, usually without consideration to the whole picture of how I would actually serve a number of students with highly different ages and needs. There really is not a professional culture of special education teaching anymore—as it has already gone through so many changes and adjustments.

In my role as a reading specialist is not necessarily the same from one day to the next either—direct teaching in small groups with a novel, teaching reading skills through content area reading, bringing students up to the level of their peers on a fast track, analyzing reading data for teachers, and coaching. I think as a technology professional, I will need to keep my professional identity in line with that of current research readings, needs of my school and district, and keeping students up to date through immersing them into as much information about the various uses of data as possible in order to prepare them for their future careers.


Bjuland, R., Cestari, M. L., & Borgensen, H. E. (2012). Professional mathematics teacher identity: Analysis of reflective narratives from discourses and activities. J Math Teacher Educ. Springer.

Brownell, S. E. & Tanner, K. D. (Winter, 2012). Barriers to faculty pedagogical change: Lack of training, time, incentives, and . . . tensions with professional identity? CBE Life Sciences Education. The American society for cell biology. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516788/

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G., Ph.D. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Park, Hyu-Yong (2008). “You are confusing!”: Tensions between teacher’s and student’s discourses in the classroom. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 43(1), pp. 4-13.

2 thoughts on “EDET 677 Week 5 Initial Blog Essential Question: What is the relationship between teaching and learning?

  1. catherinesquared

    Aleta – You made a great connection between learning and the constructivist theory and teaching and the constructionism theory. It’s one I had not made on my own, but it makes sense. I also watched the 8 minute video, and it was more than worth my time. I plan on watching it again, because I know there were things I didn’t catch the first time around. One issue I’ve pondered a long time is wondering why my students seem to have long-term memory issues and not knowing why or how to fix it. Because of this, “Nuthall’s Rule of Three” caught my eye, the belief that students need to encounter on at least three different occasions all of the information needed to understand a concept. It is similar to other things I’ve read, but if what Nuthall says is true, I needed to hear it again. ☺ Thank you! I always find your posts to be so informative, and I appreciate your perspective.


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