Reimagining Language Arts Instruction
Reimagining Language Arts Instruction
Being a teacher gives you the unique opportunity to make a difference in a student's life. Teachers have the chance to support student aspirations, teach empathy, and cultivate a love for life-long learning.
The decisions we make as educators have a profound impact on our students. These decisions influence classroom culture, students' motivations, and their desire to learn. Growing student autonomy in the classroom starts small. Students gradually gain agency with time, practice, and teacher support. Fostering student autonomy by providing choices, challenges, and collaboration and allowing students to govern their learning increases intrinsic motivation and engagement.
This mini-course reimagines language arts instruction in the classroom. The course will demonstrate how educators can shift decision-making by providing the tools necessary to empower learner autonomy.
What You Need to Know about This Course
Each unit contains the following features to support your independent learning journey:
- Explanatory Content: The informational content of each unit, including reading passages, images, and videos.
- Check for Understanding Activities: This is an opportunity to assess your understanding with a quick self-check.
- Active Engagement: This is your chance to practice what you learned.
Using Metacognitive Strategies to Plan for this Course
Asynchronous learning may offer more flexibility, but as an independent learner, you are responsible for your success. Using metacognitive strategies, will create an awareness of your thinking process. This idea of "thinking about thinking" will help with planning for each unit and with monitoring the material learned.
Metacognition is all about planning, monitoring, evaluating, and self-reflecting. For each unit, you will use the five skills associated with metacognition. Ask yourself the following:
- What is the task?
- What do I need to know to complete this task?
- What steps do I need to take to be successful?
- Evaluate your skills:
- What are my strengths regarding this task?
- What are my weaknesses regarding this task?
- What is my learning approach?
- Take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses to devise a plan.
- What assessments are available for me to monitor my progress?
- Where am I concerning my learning goal? What do I need to do in order to achieve it?
- What worked and didn't work for me?
- Can I adjust my approach moving forward to help me reach my goal?
The Gap: SEL and Academic Readiness
Many factors contribute to learning loss in the classroom, including class size, dependency on state testing outcomes, the digital divide, and the impact of COVID-19 with its increase in absenteeism. Missed instruction exacerbates inequities in the education system and overall student academic achievement. School districts nationwide have noticed the importance of integrating Social-Emotional Learning into the curriculum. SEL will help in creating autonomous learning and increasing higher education readiness.
According to the San Diego Foundation:
Many students often struggle with post-high school coursework, whether they’re in a 2-year or 4-year college program or a trade school. This is often due to a lack of the social and emotional skills needed to thrive in a higher education setting. While academic readiness is certainly important, missing out on critical SEL can contribute to a lack of preparedness for college and future career paths. (SDF, 2022)
Social Emotional Learning within the curriculum provides students with academic choices over step-by-step learning structures. Options within academics prioritize student autonomy over accomplished and compliant followers. As Kittle and Gallagher explain, "detailed instructions are part of the problem. Completing teacher-generated step-by-step work is not learning; it masquerades as it" (Kittle, et al., 2002). By involving students in their learning and giving them opportunities to make choices within reason, educators are providing students with a more engaging learning experience that will help prepare them for the demands of higher education and the world outside of academia.
Though schools recognize the importance of Social Emotion Learning in the classroom, there is still a need for incorporating SEL and autonomy into content and curriculum. The goal of this mini-course is to help shift decision-making in the language arts curriculum to increase student self-sufficiency and learner readiness
Upon completion, participants will be able to:
- Plan, monitor, and evaluate meta-cognitively to provide the framework for student self-reflection, assessment, and regulation.
- Design a reading and writing lesson that is student-centered over teacher-directed.
- Explore formative, summative, and individual assessments that inform rather than grade students' progress.