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Assignment 1 – Written short essay
The aim of this first assignment is to connect you to some of the key ideas in the literature in regard to ‘student engagement’, ‘communities as curricula’, ‘students (and teachers) as researchers’ ‘critical teaching for everyday life’ and ‘critical service-learning for active citizenship’. The paper should have two parts:
- Based on your reading, annotated bibliography and reflections prepare a short written essay that explains your understanding of TWO (2) of these concepts and how they might be useful in your own curriculum planning. The intent is to develop a rationale for making the curriculum more relevant to students’ lives and their communities.
- Begin to describe how these ideas might open up some new possibilities (clues, leads, directions) for working with a group of students on a particular topic in your own school and community setting. In this task you should begin to identify some community assets, needs, resources, strengths, and/or social, economic and cultural features of your school community that might be useful to this project.
Teachers play a very important role in the life of the students because after families, students spend most of the time with their teachers. They observe teachers, learn from them and adopt the same thinking in their lives. The best form of teaching practice constitutes a discussion, the participation of students, debates and practical learning. It is very important for teachers to design activities that will ensure active participation from students and develop their learning practice. In order to follow these implications of teaching, the role of Student Engagement and Communities as Curricula is discussed below
Student engagement is one of the most important elements that ensure their active interest and participation in their lessons. It means that the students take part in their school or class activities; they attend their class regularly, submit the homework on time and follow the direction of their teachers. Student engagement can take place within the boundaries of a classroom or outside the class in real world situations. In this case, it is important for teachers to create conditions that make students react so that they engage in class discussions and take part in different activities of the school, which in turn facilitates their learning. Students are encouraged to take part in different classroom activities during the school premises that include, educational plays, learning about nature by visiting the school garden etc. Such activities ensure participation from every student and make learning fun for them. Hence, it promotes student engagement in different fields. While developing the curriculum, the teachers first should understand the meaning of student engagement and what is it that she/ he is expecting out of the process. After the basic definition and expectation are cleared, the teacher should then start making an appropriate curriculum for students that ensures student engagement. The teacher should show appropriate skills required by students for successful learning, demonstrate the engagement in learning as an important part of their personality and get a constructive reaction of the curriculum. It is important for the teachers to understand that relationship of students with other students; teachers and parents are a result of student engagement (Trowler, V., 2010).
Besides developing a proper curriculum, with student engagement teachers can ensure that an inclusive education developed that promotes participation from all students regardless of their socio- economic background, religion, cultural diversity, and language. In times when many international student programs are supported throughout the world and globalization is giving larger importance, student engagement hampers such growth and makes them better individuals.
Hence, the student engagement not only helps students from different nationalities and abilities to engage in learning and facilitate an inclusive educational program, but it also develops other students to become tolerant of different people and adjust to different surroundings. Thus, students tend to become better individuals with more self- esteem and respectful for different cultures and people. In fact, it strengthens the students and provides them with confidence to discuss their queries and take active participation in everything. Student engagement also promotes the development of strong personalities wherein students can raise their voice in the real world situation also. In this regard, it is very important for teachers to facilitate proper learning techniques and increase inter generational equity throughout the learning environment. The idea of student engagement opens up many directions for students because of the fact that students take part in different activities of the school and they enjoy learning. Studies are not a struggle for students with this approach and even when they face problems, students tend to clarify their doubts and talk to the teachers
Furthermore, student engagement also open up many other ideas for student learning as it supports participation within different communities, studying with a researcher’s perspective, critical service learning and many other approaches that are important in learning. Therefore, it can also be understood that student engagement is the most important element of learning because it is the first step that opens up many other doors and possibilities within students. Moreover, the teacher can ensure student engagement with many activities such as the teachers can start a new lesson with real-world examples and discuss on a general topic before narrowing the lesson, she/ he can also start a small debate in the classroom, that ensures some sort of reaction from most of the students, in a mathematic activity, each student can come in front and solve the sum one- by- one on the blackboard, etc. Outdoor participation can also take place by observing the surroundings, visiting a nearby market and learn a topic of coursework (Liu, Y. & Hannafin, R. D., 2010)………………..
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