Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Throughout discussion and reflection, I have been thinking a lot about authentic instruction and what it means to foster student choice.  I think it's an interesting experience, being a student while learning to be an educator; I am learning about myself as both a learner and teacher by using strategies and completing activities and assignments that I may be using myself with my own students.  It is FAR too often where teachers don't give their students the option to direct their learning by giving them choices, like what book to read, what topic to research, etc..  But I'm beginning to see it goes further than that.

Hicks (2009) discusses this important topic of student choice when he states, "choice, within reason, forms the foundation of a writing workshop; a firm belief that students can and will, with guidance, make appropriate choices as writers directs our thinking as teachers" (p. 15).  I strongly believe that giving students their choice fosters independence, responsibility, and builds character that could quite possibly never form if there was 100% teacher direction.  I'm learning this more as time goes on, especially through the genre pieces project in LTED 618.  Being given complete freedom to choose our project topic, the process by which we complete it, and the product in which is formed has truly been much more difficult than I would have imagined.  I would label myself as someone who is not a surface-level thinker, but someone who thinks deeply about everything, in detail and with great meaning.  So, when given the unlimited choice to pick a topic, I don't immediately think about my vacation or my favorite sport, I think about life, love, happiness.  As much as this is a part of me and I know my character would be drastically different otherwise, I often make things more difficult on myself by wanting to choose the hardest, most complex topic or process by which I complete the project.  I think this is an extremely important realization to take to my classroom, knowing I will have students that are also like me and may need some direction.  The direction I have gotten in class to help me make decisions regarding my project have not been directly instructed, but more subliminally guided, through activities in which help me brainstorm and break down my ideas into a format I can actually organize and work with. 

As a student, I have also been exposed to a great amount of resources available to me to help me through my projects, which I will use as tools for my students as well.  Hicks (2009) discussed the importance of "guiding students through the process of discovery and collaboration with digital writing tools" (p. 17).  Through the use of RSS and bookmarking tools, the access to podcasts and photo essays, and even the use of this blog, I have been able to learn an incredible amount about my topic through others' work and experiences, as well as self-reflection.  I think it is crucial to help students meet their potential by giving them freedom of choice in combination with setting them up with the tools they need to succeed. I am extremely grateful for the process I am going through in my grad classes, to be able to experience what I will have the opportunity to offer my own students someday...hopefully sooner than later.

1 comment:

  1. Danielle, how exactly to you plan to "guide students through the process of discovery and collaboration with digital writing tools" (p. 17)?
    And how will giving them choice aid their process of discover and collaboration?