Reflection for Week 7 EDET 697: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

Aleta May

Reflection Posts for Week 7

Gamification EDET 697 with Dr. Graham

How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

Student-centered classrooms are built on the constructivist paradigm. Relationship building is the most important aspect of student-centered learning. The teacher is the one who facilitates this. The vocabulary of a student-centered classroom sets a growth mindset for students.

In my research I found and words that create a positive, growth mindset for student learning and teacher facilitation; and when I wrote about this topic, I completed a literature review of words that have to do with a student-centered classroom environment. Here is the word list:

Independent; flexible; repetition; feeling of accomplishment; challenge; curiosity; exploration; interactivity; engagement; independent; research; interpret; take responsibility (ownership); freedom; personal interest; growth mindset; time management; organization; self-monitoring; persistence.

I really gained a lot of insight by reading several blog posts and thinking metacognitively by thoughtful replies. Every post that I read was thought provoking. Gerald came up with a definition for words in a student-centered environment that has quotes from great people. I watched a video clip and took notes as I listened—helps me think more deeply.

Overall, I believe that a student-centered classroom is key to motivating our students in this day.  Students now do not just accept everything a teacher teaches.  They need to research and see for themselves, write to each other and discuss ideas so that they add to their own schema and so that what they are learning will move to their long term memories.

Below are my replies with a response from Ali on my blog post:


The language of learning gives them a life-long language with a growth mindset for everything they want to learn. At play, it says, “I can learn how to play an instrument, how to become an artist, how to become a gardener.” At work, it says, it is okay to try a new skill, fail (or be imperfect), yet try again and practice. I am a great educator. Sometimes I have compared myself to other educators—and what student-centered learning needs to teach us teachers is that we each have many potential talents but time to pursue mainly our interests.

Nice—that makerspace time is such a wonderful way to build student confidence in their own abilities. Connecting students’ interests outside of school, to being willing to take a risk, is such a great idea.


Wow! The quotes that go with each word are awesome! Thank you for sharing these. I completely agree that we have maintained the stigma that it is not okay to fail—failing has become something like “if you fail, you might as well give that subject area up, because you are just not good enough at that.” I was certainly influenced by this negative mantra that basically says, “you have to be a natural at [fill in the blank] in order to be good at [. . .].

Yes, sitting through standardized testing discussions where we are taught that “the good new is that when you’re at the bottom, all you can do is go up.” Well, why are we at the bottom; and in a bell curve, doesn’t some group have to “live there?” Time to shed that and allow teachers to think for themselves so we can facilitate students in doing the same.


I believe that my focus has been so much on asking myself where do I get a learning management system (LMS) or learning platform to use for gaming, that I was forgetting the most important part of the game for engaging learners; game elements. Creating an interactive classroom that is focused takes time as well. I know that one focus across our district has been to expect our students from primary level to start being less dependent on the teacher and more dependent on their bilingual pair (which is then sometimes put into groups of four). The structure for this starts to look like shared assignments and activities. This is a start.


I remember watching teachers teach students to work together on projects. Most of the time, I went to school in the traditional method; especially middle and high school. It seems that outside of school, it is not easy to be creative or to know what to do with curiosity if most of your do is spent ‘being taught.’ My biggest concern in the afterschool hours was getting something to eat, since lunch had been so long ago.

With your how to speak with parents list, the timing is great—parent teacher conferences are coming up for us. I think your idea of referring to extra credit work as another quest takes the stigma of “being the top of the class” and puts it as “work is an adventure.” What is interesting is that our standards, though sometimes seem restrictive, can be applied in so many ways. We do not need to be driven by the tool called the textbook; rather the standards set a goal and the textbook is a guide that is rich with ideas to quest from, extend from, and frame our student’s interests. They can start at one point in a book, and with internet and other resources, go on forever on that one point—learning in depth, letting one question lead to another.

To Gerald on Sarah’s post:


One of the problems with our high school system is that after missing 10 days, they cannot get credit. That alone affects some students. They come to school, and seem to have no academic direction. What are their options then? But, like you, I try in my role as an educator to reach them all one way or another. . .


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Thank you for reminding me of this acronym: FAIL means First Attempt In Learning. This reminds me some of the writing process—the first step is a draft; it is expected that it will not be the end result and that it will take refining.

Resilience and time do go together. I would rather cover a concept deeply and teach students how to learn that cover five concepts shallow and broadly and teach them that we need to turn that page and move on. Sometimes a spiral method helps, and I think gaming helps with the strategies of “coming back to that (or repetition).”

The way you visually set up the SAPS Model is really helpful for me because it is clear; motivating students, is acknowledging that they are different, and different is natural!

I may have students given to me soon, as we have one teacher who is away until January. I think that whatever the content area, the reminder from your post that giving students choice is the most important. Since we are sharing students, I would like to keep my focus on the high students (in this case, students who read well enough to take off on side odysseys) being given choices.


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I was very inspired by what you wrote. How do we break out of the grade expectation mold expected by our school districts and parents?

Chris Haskell in the video clip made a strong point when he said that in the next 10 years, schools will change more than they have in the last 100 years. How will this happen. One way is for us to integrate gaming elements into the classroom as much as possible. There is so much yet for me to learn, and from everything I have read, it takes a lot of time initially. I think it would take less time once it is set up. One thing I notice teaching in rural areas, and I’m sure often times in cities, we may invest a lot of our personal time, money, effort to set up an environment, just to be changed to another class grade level to teach or subject area in high school.

These notes from the video sum up what we have been looking at in class, plus some:

What’s worth knowing or doing vs. what grade do I want. I like this simple outline he provided as well: The future of education

~~No Homework

~~No Due Dates

~~Student Choice


~~Better Tracking

Incomplete homework tells us which students are either overloaded or unmotivated and who has parental support (I’ll add for a variety of reasons), and puts a punishment onto the student. Schema has to do with what we know in a certain environment than anything else.

I like Chris’s definition of class design: We play a class! He are elements we see in Matera’s book as well:

~~Experience Points

~~Levels, Badges, Achievements

~~Allow and reward failure

~~Remove punishment

~~Multiple paths/Choice

~~Define a winning condition

~~We call it . . . Quest-based learning

Thank you for sharing this link, Ali. I got a lot out of this 5 minute video: (2012, September 27). Blowing up the grade book. [Video]. Retrieved October 20, 2016, from

From Ali to my post:

You wrote: “Although routines and clear expectations are important, relationship building should at least be the primary focus.” I agree with your statement. I always feel that the routines and procedures can be taught in the moment. As the problems/issues occur I address them and use it as a teachable moment. It is very important to build relationships with students and to allow students to build relationships in the classroom with their peers.

I replied to Ali:

Using teachable moments are an excellent way to address problems and issues that arise. In a gamified environment, behavior issues could be addressed in small group discussions and a social problem solving environment that the students address.

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