Welcome to the Brock Learning Network
The Brock Learning Network (BLN) is an innovative, on-line community of the Faculty of Education. It's a bit like Facebook™, YouTube™, news reports, calendars and a staffroom – rolled into one dynamic site. The BLN is a great place to find information, hold discussions, blog, conduct research and contribute to the issues in education and teaching that you care about.
Please watch the video on the right or go directly to the HELP tab to learn how you can make this site work for you.
I've been doing homework all day and as I'm looking through my agenda I"m seeing that the homework is definitely piling on. Read this subject here, study for pop quiz there and not to mention the long list of group work/assignments with due dates quickly approaching. YIKES!!
The last two weeks have felt like a roller coaster ride that has yet to reach the peak before its descent. I have been feeling overwhelmed at times but excited also. I keep reminding myself to stay the course. I have fallen behind from time to time on the readings but I'm still hanging in there. I know I'm not alone and this is made evident to me each time I converse with my fellow peers. If it weren't for weekends, I'd never catch up. Yet again, I remind myself to "stay the course" and this seems to help.
Student created videos are a great way to engage students while making learning fun. Check out this video by Brock education students.
I just spent the last 2 hours on a virtual tour. Before I enrolled in a class entitled, “Technology and the Classroom”, I thought I was in the ‘know’ on current sites and social networking. Was I ever mistaken! In addition to Facebook, I now can’t wait to work on assignments on my Wiki account and plan next weekends girls’ camping trip on it to impress my friends, I’m tweeting to the world, I’m setting up on Google Docs, I’m addicted to finding creative lesson ideas on Youtube, I’m enthralled with Podcasts, and I’m still trying to figure out how to successively use RRS feeds and Delicious. Yesterday, teaching, in my mind, included paper, textbooks, and pens. After last night, it’s radically different. It now includes Smartboards, cool pen-like gadgets that record people talking, virtual classrooms and video streaming. I can envision using these tools in my future classroom. I would love to be able to keep up with current events around the world and hear other responses from classrooms around the world. To give that level of exposure to a student was never heard of or imagined. I’ll have to be careful not to be addicted to Youtube in striving to make lesson plans better and creative. I can show clips from pretty much everything in my classroom. And for sure, my students will know about Google Docs. I feel ripped-off by my teachers for never have been told of such a fabulous resource. Well, that’s all for now. Here’s to starting into a new era of teaching with technology!
If you are interested in a Project Wild workshop (you will receive a certificate of completion for your teaching dossier), please sign up as per the instructions and contact information below:
Project Wild one day workshops will again be offered for our teacher candidates this year. This outdoor environmental education workshop has proven beneficial to our students in the past and will benefit our students this year as well.
Welcome to the Brock Learning Network. It is innovative, dynamic and exciting that we host an on-line community which fosters discussion, research and engagement in and about theories and practices in education. The Brock Learning Network provides us with a unique opportunity to connect with one another as a community of lifelong learners within Brock's Faculty of Education. Use and enjoy this platform to explore, challenge and engage in ideas that matter to you.
New guidelines from the Ministry of Education are helping educators zero in a controversial issue in high school classrooms when it comes to grading late and missed assignments.
A document called Growing Success, Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario's Schools sets guidelines that permit teachers to issue zeros for missed or late assignments. It also mandates that school boards establish their own policies which adhere to the guidelines.
While spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Patricia MacNeil stated that giving zeros has always been an option for teachers, the document states there have been "strong and often divergent opinions on the issue of how to deal with late and missed assignments." It points out that many stakeholders believe zeros should be assigned when a student fails to submit an assignment, although experts in the field often discourage it, saying it doesn't help students succeed in the long run.
"This is a very controversial issue and it's not something that is easily resolved," said Louis Volante, assistant professor, faculty of education at Brock University. Volante is not only the university's assessment and evaluation expert, but he participated on the ministry's faculty advisory committee for the document.
The fact that giving a zero is the last of several strategies listed speaks volumes, he said.
"It's saying that these are the strategies to use, then once you exercise them all, then teachers can give a zero."
Thirteen strategies precede the option of deducting marks for late assignments, up to and including the full value of the assignment. Measures include teacher-student conferences, requiring the student to work with a school team to complete the assignment, and providing alternative assignments or tests when a teacher feels its appropriate.
"I think the ministry is trying to balance without being to prescriptive because every class is unique" he said.
- - Want to include web-based images, videos or other web content in your blog or group post? Use the YouTube, Flash, Image or Source icons.
- - Want to keep track of what your friends or cohort members have posted on the BLN? Use the Subcribe link at the bottom of their post or profile page.
- - Are you a fan of Twitter or Facebook status updates? Use the status update feature on your profile page to let your friends/colleagues know what you're working on. You can also also post a short message on your friend's page.
- - Need to keep track of how many times you have posted content? Check out your user points on your profile page.
On behalf of the Department of Teacher Education, we would like to thank all of you who participated in this year's inaugural Teacher Candidate Survey. Over 40% of you responded to the December and May surveys, providing us with a significant amount of feedback.
"So what?" you may ask. In answer, we want you to know that we have already begun and will continue to look at what you told us to help improve our practices. We are delighted that so many of you found the program to be professionally and personally rewarding. We are proud that many of you found the work to be practical and useful as you prepared for a career in teaching. But you also reminded us that we have some things to work on to make Brock's teacher education program the best it can be in order to prepare the best Teacher Candidates possible. This includes easing the number of assignments in the program and the amount of group work, among other suggestions. The Department has already met to discuss your feedback and is actively taking steps to improve the program, based on your feedback.
Our very best wishes to you as you prepare to begin your teaching career. We look forward to seeing you at convocation on June 9th, and hope to hear of success stories arising from any interview opportunities underway. Surgite!
David Hutchison, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Teacher Education
Dr. Camille Rutherford
Chair, Teacher Candidate Survey Committee Brock University
Ontario and its teachers union are promising to overhaul a 20-year-old policy that allows the province's retired educators to pad their pensions and work nearly half the school year, costing boards millions of dollars.
The Ministry of Education and the Ontario Teachers' Federation said yesterday that an announcement will come soon regarding the number of days that retired teachers are allowed to work in supply positions. This follows a Globe and Mail investigation that found the province's 10 largest boards could have saved $16.7-million in the past academic year if they had placed new teachers instead of retirees in the classroom. "We are in discussions with the Ontario Teachers' Federation on this very issue, because we do believe that it is important for newly qualified teachers to have teaching experiences," Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky said. "I'm committed to looking for the very best resolution."
We leave for South Africa tomorrow for three weeks of practicum teaching. I am planning to keep a blog of our experiences as we go along. I invite you all to keep track of our adventures and send us comments. Stay tuned. The blog address is http://smabbey.blogspot.com
Sharon Abbey, Mark Wickens and ten students (Kristina Nicolaides, Caitlin Jones, Janice Kadowaki, Heather Vandahl, Vanessa Dinis-Alves, Shannon Tesolin, Kendra MacPherson, Amber Holden, Renata Hornich and Terri Sitarki).
But what makes a good teacher? There have been many quests for the one essential trait, and they have all come up empty-handed. Among the factors that do not predict whether a teacher will succeed: a graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try. When Bill Gates announced recently that his foundation was investing millions in a project to improve teaching quality in the United States, he added a rueful caveat. “Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn’t have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,” Gates said. “I’m personally very curious.”
When Doug Lemov conducted his own search for those magical ingredients, he noticed something about most successful teachers that he hadn’t expected to find: what looked like natural-born genius was often deliberate technique in disguise. “Stand still when you’re giving directions,” a teacher at a Boston school told him. In other words, don’t do two things at once. Lemov tried it, and suddenly, he had to ask students to take out their homework only once.
It was the tiniest decision, but what was teaching if not a series of bite-size moves just like that?
Lemov thought about soccer, another passion. If his teammates wanted him to play better, they didn’t just say, “Get better.” They told him to “mark tighter” or “close the space.” Maybe the reason he and others were struggling so mightily to talk and even to think about teaching was that the right words didn’t exist — or at least, they hadn’t been collected. And so he set out to assemble the hidden wisdom of the best teachers in America.
On Saturday, January 16, 2010, seventy-four teacher candidates from the St. Catharines and Hamilton campuses participated in an engaging elementary music workshop, hosted by clinician Lori Moccio, District School Board of Niagara. All teacher candidates had the opportunity to participate in a fun-filled morning, engaging in many music-making activities that can be integrated into teaching practice. The workshop session, held on the Hamilton Campus, was facilitated by Dr. Shelley Griffin, Helen Warkentin, Jane Wamsley, Heather Morris, and Dr. Kari-Lynn Winters.