A slightly briefer and late post for last week's Masters of Teaching Mind dump! I've been juggling recordings (music work...) and the study. I'm in a period of getting a number of assignments done in a row... so, that leaves not so much time for introspection. It's heads down and bums up to burn hard for a few weeks! After that, my brain can rest a bit.... but it is probably an indication that I should switch to part-time study. My wife is taking up most of the slack with the kids and home, but it would be unfair to keep this going like this for the next semester.
Anyway, most of the coursework is on a bit of a pause while I'm tackling the assignments. Oddly enough, I didn't realise that there was a mid-semester break, and so it appears that I'm about a week ahead on the coursework anyway! Lucky bonus for being an oblivious idiot who didn't check the university teaching periods on the calendar!
The assignment that took most of my time last week was the one to do with Classroom Management. It was all too do with designing a serious if lessons around the Jigsaw group learning strategy and how to enable the use of the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy in the tasks.
As it was a mixed group, we could all choose a 1-3 lesson design in the topic and area of our own choosing... Also, pitched at whatever secondary school year we wanted. I ended up opting for a middle school Mathematics target class, with three lessons on learning the three types of averages (mean, median and mode).
The design was such that I would have the first lesson in a class data collection. So, all the students devising questions to ask the whole class and then gathering the data for use in the following lessons.
The second lesson would be around learning the averages with the Jigsaw method. So, each home group would have a member that would socialise learning one of the average which they would then bring back to teach the rest of their home group as an expert. The home groups could then use the new knowledge to analyse their data, to start to figure out the strengths and weaknesses (sorry, not weakness... Possible limitations or improvements...) of each middle location description. This would help start visualising the shapes of data sets, but would still need a method for describing spread (inter quartile range or Standard deviation).
The last lesson would harness the deeper applications of their knowledge (Bloom's Taxonomy) in a choice of two tasks which I named 'Chaos Agent' and 'Hacking the Data'. The first would be an investigation of outliers whilst the second would be to investigate the effects of 'massaging' the data set (or fabricating a completely new one!). These were designed to push the creative, analysis and evaluations levels of the new knowledge according to Bloom's Taxonomy. The "Hack the Data" task was geared towards the higher ability differentiation of the class with the other "Chaos Agent" task being more the base level application of the understanding.
In doing some reading for this assignment, I was a little bit disturbed that a widely quoted metastudy has been criticised for frail data inputs and a somewhat trivial approach to statistical analysis. Very odd... But most of the humanities (education) sector have appeared to be wowed by the concept of 'numbers' and the weakness of the study hadn't been addressed... In my eyes at least! Worrying!
Anyway... onwards with this week's two assignments. One, to finish observation tasks for the teaching practicals and the other to devise a set of lessons for the Mathematics unit. Sigh... and two recordings to juggle as well. At least after this burn, I will be clear for a little bit. Hopefully with enough brainpower to tackle that bloody Smetana that I wrote about yesterday!
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