Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Passion in Education

'Maiers Literacy Institute Reflections (Day 1)' photo (c) 2008, Mike Sansone - license: So, this week I am faced with the daunting task of trying to figure out what I would like to do research on for either my Thesis or Action Research for my Masters program.  First of all, this is my very first semester in the program and I haven't even taken the core classes of my program and certainly haven't taken the initial research class that I need in order to even begin my thesis or action research.  Therefore, my job is to figure out my passion in education, what I would like to delve into more deeply.  The problem is, I am passionate about education and teaching in general.  I just want to make a difference.  I don't just want to be a good teacher, or even a great teacher, I want to be the best.  The teacher that doesn't just teach, but opens up student's eyes to the wider world and helps them access it and become successful people in general.  When thinking about this passion more deeply, I become extremely perturbed about the issue of standardized testing and what it is doing to the learning in the classroom.  Teachers (in general) are spending a tremendous amount of their time in test prep, what they call "teaching to the test" rather than teaching students the critical thinking skills they need to be successful in education (and life too) and the enriching experiences of art, music, dance, and theater.  In most cases science and social studies are lost as well, as the focus is on the subjects being tested:  language arts and math.  Where I think that I am the most passionate is creating an all-encompassing curriculum, that can somehow link all of these subjects and still provide students with the skills they need to do well on the dreaded standardized tests, but also giving them the critical thinking skills that they need at the same time.  I took a little bit of time to look into this idea and I found a really cool website through Diigo called Interdisciplinary Learning in Your Classroom:  Explanation, in which the author not only defines what interdisciplinary learning is, but gives its roots, the benefits of using it in the classroom, and also gives the tools for you to create your own interdisciplinary classroom.  What I really like about the idea of interdisciplinary learning is that it incorporates many subjects together and emphasizes critical thinking, which is very important to me.  I will definitely be looking into this site further as I more clearly develop what I would like to do with my research.  At this point in time I am also unclear as to what the parameters are and the specific details about how to go about picking a topic and doing the research so I know as I take the classes in the program I should get a much clearer picture of what I would like to do.  If anyone has any resources for me that would be beneficial, please feel free to share them :)
I guess the questions I have at this point are:  Are there other resources besides "Interdisciplinary Learning" that I should be looking into?  Is there already a successful cross-curricular curriculum developed in California and more specifically San Diego that also addresses the interests of students and developing their critical thinking skills?
I am also very interested in using technology as one of the modes of learning in this curriculum that I am passionate about.  I think that it is a way to motivate students and a successful way to engage them and get them actively learning and sharing their knowledge.
The big question do I take all of these things and put them in a nice neat "little" topic?????




  1. I'm definitely going to check out Interdisciplinary Learning. Thanks Sherilyn!

  2. Its so refreshing to hear about how passionate you are about an all encompassing curriculum. Its a shame with what gets lost in todays classroom experience as many teachers are teaching to the test. Its unfortunate that this happens and that many teachers somewhat feel forced to do so. I love how excited you are about being the best teacher possible. I hope that we continue to have this passion for our students day in and day out, and remember to celebrate the small things when the going gets tough.

  3. I have no idea how you would put all of that into one or two words to make it simple to say, I think part of this is because it's not simple but it's a good topic to focus on. There is a need for an all encompassing curriculum, it would be a wonderful thing to have!