Meta-reflection for Standard 2: Learning Environment

The artifact below focuses on my understanding of how people learn, what the best environmental contexts for learning are, what motivates learners, what my role as a professional educator is and how these all combine into my personal pedagogy. This artifact satisfies standard 2: Learning environment: Creates and maintains school-wide and classroom environments that are safe, stable, and empowering.

Human Development and Principles of Learning

Another artifact that satisfies standard 2: Learning environment, is also from EDU 6655. This artifact discusses how to maximize motivation in order to maximize learning. Motivation is the key to effectively educating children. There are three main aspects to maximizing a child’s motivation to read: choice, collaboration, and competence (Gaskins, 1998).

Maximizing Motivation

Below is a direct link to all artifacts that I feel have implications regarding learning environment.

Ethics and Morals Course Reflection


I am not the sole creator of my values; in-fact I play a small part in their development.  My values were, for the most part, chosen for me. My values were chosen by my parents in that they nurtured my character. They were chosen by my community as the community nurtured my parents. My values were chosen by my country as it provides the framework for my community’s culture. My values were chosen by my environment, my experiences, and how others as well as myself deal with those experiences.  My education and where I received that education, my husband, my friends -the only place where I have added a personal touch to my values and beliefs are in how I perceive things and how I have melded all these components of family, community, culture and environment into my continuously morphing personage. “We are not born with them [virtues], nor do we acquire them by any natural process that does not involve our own activity and perhaps more important, the activity of parents and other elders” (Aristotle).

How does this affect my teaching practices? If I believe that values are created within each person through the influences of others than I can make a difference in the growth of my students’ characters. This is true for me as well. If I believe that character continues to be shaped throughout one’s lifetime then I have the opportunity to learn alongside my students. This provides opportunities to model problem solving and to work through problems together, in the moment, or to reflect upon situations in order to wade through the pros and cons of various solutions. Everyone in a classroom should be an educator and a student when it comes to anything known or to be known in regards to morality or of any subject or discipline. “But to study with a teacher who not only speaks but listens, who not only gives answers but asks questions and welcomes our insights, who provides information and theories that do not close doors but open new ones, who encourages students to help each other learn…” (1993).

I must be explicit, cautious, and open when teaching or choosing a read aloud about responsibility, respect or compassion. I must also consider the larger community in which my students belong. “It reminds me that the questions I ask my students must take into account the larger community of truth in which they live their lives…” We do not want to create in our students “…a kind of schizophrenia in which knowing runs on one track, living on another, and never do the two tracks meet” (1993).

Yes, I have influence, but I must also take into account their ever-changing environment and self. I must create a gradual release of responsibility within my character teachings to provide a “…gradual and respectful acknowledgement of their increasing responsibility for their decisions…” (1999). My role is to guide students to become actively engaged democratic citizens. They need to be able to problem solve and be knowledgeable decision makers. It is my responsibility to show as many sides of a situation and provide my students with the tools to make educated decisions. “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defense against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is not infallible protection against a soft head” (1974).


Lewis, C.S. 1974. The abolition of man. NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Palmer, P. J. 1993. To know as we are known: Education as a spiritual journey. NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Scales, P.C., Leffert, N. 1999. Developmental assets: A synthesis of the scientific research on adolescent     development. MN: Search Institute.

Ethical Dilemma: Public or private record keeping in regards to misbehavior

In my classroom I promote consistent positive feedback with a ratio of three positives to every negative. For the purpose of this paper I will be focusing on what I should do when consequences are necessary in order to redirect behavior.

I have tried two different management techniques since I began teaching at —- Elementary. A card-flipping method, which visually reminded the students of what consequences they had received as well as giving them heightened awareness of their behaviors as they were held accountable to flip their card whenever they were reminded to stop a certain behavior.

The second method that I am currently using is a more private technique. I keep track of individual  behavior reminders and tell students privately what consequences they must serve. I created a matrix where I record interruptions and any other disruptive or disrespectful behaviors. In the following sections I will dive deeper into my inquiry about the ethical controversies and dilemmas that I face when considering various techniques to hold students accountable for misbehavior.

Ethical Dilemma

The Wiki Way of Learning

As much of what I am learning throughout the Curriculum and Instruction Program is centered around the educational theory of constructivism-I appreciate the ‘wiki way of learning’. That is, the communal construction of knowledge.  Humans are innately social beings so we, as educators, must nurture that characteristic and shy away from a more competitive model.

I also clung to the idea that there cannot be a construction of knowledge that aids in understanding and mental growth if individualism is not nourished. For instance, as stated on page 138 of this article, “Collectively, teachers and students benefit from a shared collaborative document that could not have been built without unique contributions from different authors,” and continues by stating that, “…it is a mode of thinking and acting that requires individuality in order to be a collective experience” (2009).

Going forward with the ‘wiki way of learning’, and not having many resources in my classroom to work with currently, I am going to attempt this collaborative knowledge idea on bulletin boards. This will be a place where new learnings, elaborations, thoughts, feelings, and questions can be posted, in linguistic or nonlinguistic representations, surrounding a particular idea or concept that is aligned with the current unit of study. I would contribute to the collaboration as well to monitor understanding and clarify as needed. This will also be used as a formative assessment tool that will continuously provide information about students’ growth of knowledge.

Also, each Friday or so, the class and I could have a group discussion surrounding the ideas and thoughts posted on the bulletin boards and come up with a group generated summary that would be pasted on the classroom blog or website. This way, “…knowledge is formed by the individual as a process rather than a product that is presented by them. Being a process, knowledge is always ‘in formation’ rather than ‘already formed’ (2009).

Ruth, A., Houghton, L. (2009). The wiki way of learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(2). 135-152.

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0.

I found the most prominent idea in this article to be the social learning aspect, as stated on page 3, “the focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning.”  A child can only learn so much via direct instruction, say about tolerance of other perspectives and ideas, but if the child were to engage in discussions surrounding various topics and be able to consciously change his schema surrounding that concept – that knowledge, that student –  will want nothing more than to share the experience and, in turn, share and create a similar experience for another.

Also, I have always found apprenticeships to be an effective learning process; but how great to have multiple masters as well as multiple apprentices to learn with (I say to learn with instead of to learn from because learning to be is a evolutionary process; no matter if you are a master or an apprentice!)

Having open source forums increases motivation for students to further their education. On page 15, Brown and Adler write about the demand-pull approach, saying that it is a “passion-based learning.” The student’s natural intrinsic motivation is tapped simply by allowing access to information that is interesting and intriguing to the student. Ownership plays a large role as the student becomes an active participant in a community’s evolving knowledge-it is no longer solely the community molding the child. We all now have the opportunity to be heard and our ideas (no matter how small) are taken into account. We participate, therefore we are.

I teach second grade and I know my students would love to hear and see how others discuss their ideas. I wonder if, in my classroom, could set up a some sort of forum (perhaps it would be a blog) about certain children’s books where students, teachers, and parents to discuss what main ideas and learning they took away from the story (perhaps could invite the author to join in and give us what he or she thought when writing the story).

Brown, J. S., Adler, R.P. (2008). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1).

Maximizing Motivation

Motivation is the key to effectively educating children. There are three main aspects to maximizing a child’s motivation to read: choice, collaboration, and competence (Gaskins, 1998). “One reason that motivation and engagement may influence the development of reading comprehension is that motivated students usually want to understand text content fully and therefore, process information deeply” (Guthrie, et. al., 2004). Read more in the following document: Maximizing Motivation

Empowering Our Youth: Providing Opportunities For Discovery

The artifact below focuses on my understanding of how people learn, what the best environmental contexts for learning are, what motivates learners, what my role as a professional educator is and how these all combine into my personal pedagogy.

Human Development and Principles of Learning

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

This paper focuses on the importance of integrating the multiple intelligences, defined by Howard Gardner, while planning instruction in order to more effectively teach all students. This paper demonstrates knowledge regarding standard 1 specifically. Theory of Multiple Intelligences