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Megan Docherty

C&T 806
Map Assignment: Final Compilation and Reflection

After looking through all of the maps that I completed over the time of this course, I
noticed several themes. The first label and theme that I noticed was the importance of teaching
the whole child. The terms that fall under this category are social, emotional, academic, empathy,
connecting morals and values to real world issues. This theme is so important because we are
teaching our students to think for themselves rather than just repeat information or learn to just
memorize facts. As teachers, our goal is to teach our students information and skills and then
have our students take that information and use it in a new way. Teaching the whole child is also
important because academics are not the only part of education at the center of a student’s
learning. People are more complex and academics is only part of what makes us who we are as
individuals. Teaching social and emotional skills is also imperative to developing the whole
child, so students know how to have healthy conversations or discussions in a variety of settings,
understand their emotions in those settings, and make connections to all three of these aspects of
education. Empathy is an essential skill to practice and enhance in our teaching. As educators,
we want our students to understand different perspectives in order to make their own opinions or
ideas and in order for our students to do this successfully, then they must be able to be
empathetic and practice empathy on a daily basis.
Another label or theme that I found when reviewing my maps was the idea of shared
responsibility. Responsibility, release of responsibility and mutual respect were common terms
that I noticed throughout my maps. This idea of shared responsibility reflects a joint effort of
teaching and learning in the classroom between the teacher and the students. It also reflects
collaboration among all educators in order to do what is best for all students. There are times
when the teacher drives the learning process but there are also plenty of opportunities where the
students take over the ownership of the learning process. In order for the teacher to release
responsibility of learning in the classroom there must be mutual respect built between the teacher
and the students. The students must respect the role of the teacher and see the teacher as a
facilitator or guide throughout their learning process. The teacher must also respect the students
in the sense that the teacher believes the students have the best intentions and take their learning
seriously with the proper facilitation and structures set up by the teacher. Release of
responsibility falls under this category of shared responsibility because the teacher learns to
release control and the learning process into the hands of the teacher after modeling and guiding
students at the beginning. It is a step by step approach to ensure a successful learning process for
all students.
The next label I saw as a common theme is real world skills. These real-world skills
include critical thinking, problem solving, and discussing or addressing problems using
individual morals and values. A goal of most educators is for our students to take the information
that has been learned and use it in a new way or to generalize the skills taught to them. As a
special education teacher, this is the main goal that I have for my students. Therefore, looking at
critical thinking and problem-solving skills as life skills or real-world skills was a common
theme in most of my maps. It also relates to teaching the whole child and not only focusing on
academics. Students must also be able to relate or make connections with their own morals and
values when discussing or solving problems that closely relate to them. Outside of school,
students will be faced with dilemmas and situations in which they will need to problem solve and
think for themselves. Hence the importance of teaching real world skills.
The last label that I found in my maps was support for student learning. The terms that
fall under this label are scaffolding, structure, guidance, and modelling. All of these terms are
important for the teacher to provide in order to ensure the success of learning for all students.
Support for student learning is imperative in order for all students to be successful throughout
their learning processes. These supports reach students with different learning styles, students
with intellectual disabilities, ELL students, gifted and talented students, and all of the students
that fall on the learner spectrum.

Looking at my personal map that I wrote at the beginning of the course, I notice quite a
few changes that I would make to my map. Some of my ideas have been strengthened over time,
but also some have been diminished as well. Especially after reflecting and looking for labels
and common themes throughout the maps of instructional models, I notice that I have left out
some key ideas and have changed my mind about what the curriculum is. One important change
I would make to my personal map is include the idea that all students need to be empathetic and
need to make connections to their morals and values to academic concepts in order to fully
engage in the material. With the role of the teacher, I would include the necessity of supports for
students in order to ensure learning for all and the importance of including real world skills. The
key purpose of instruction would include teaching the whole child and include the emotional
aspect of learning, as well as, academic and social as I had before.
The ideas that were strengthened were the need for critical thinking and problem-solving
skills as well as the importance of generalizing. I had barely touched on these skills but now
realize their importance more than before. I especially understand the connection of these skills
to real world application and how it builds connections beyond just material but the connections
between the learners and their own perspectives. Another idea that was strengthened was the
need for differentiation in order to meet the needs of all learners. Differentiation comes in many
forms and each instructional model provided different methods of grasping the needs for each
student. The biggest idea that was diminished on my personal map is that the curriculum is
always known and set up by the teacher. After looking at the instructional model maps, I noticed
that at times the curriculum could be determined by students and structured in a way that focused
on emotional or social skills and not just academic skills. Before I always felt that the curriculum
was something that was set in stone and was not always flexible. This is the biggest idea that was
diminished by this course and reflection process.
Many ideas and concepts can be added to my personal map. After looking at it again
since the beginning of the course, I notice that ideas of shared responsibility, teaching the whole
child, and real-world skills can all be added to my map. These themes can be broken down into
the roles played by the learners and the teachers, as well as, what instruction would look like
with these concepts. For example, the role of the teacher is to gradually release responsibility
over to the students and the learners start to take on that responsibility by being active
participants in their learning process. I would definitely add the idea that sometimes the
curriculum can be determined by the students under the guidance of the teacher as a facilitator. I
realized that my former explanation of what the curriculum is, is very old school. It only looks at
curriculum from one viewpoint rather than evolving into a broader, more inclusive role in
education. Curriculum is not always pre-determined, but can be flexible to meet the needs of all
learners.
June 30, 2017

Dear Megan,
It has been 6 months since you have finished the course, Instructional Strategies and
Models. During the completion of this course, you have learned numerous instructional models
and strategies that can be used in your classroom. There were so many elements to this course
that you wanted to implement in your own classroom, instructional models/strategies to try and
also the ability to build a strong PLC in your own school, that I hope you were able to grow
professionally and try out some new material while starting in a new school and division.
The PLC group that you worked with established strong and clear norms that allowed
your group to be successful. Also, the group communicated often and clearly, although you were
the only one in a different time zone than the rest of your group, which is a huge celebration.
You thought this was going to be challenging, but your group accepted the time difference and
because of the constant communication, you did not feel isolated from the group. The group used
different roles and they changed each week in order to keep stay on top of your assignments.
Moving to a new country and a new school, you had wanted to implement the parts that were
successful, especially the norms of the PLC group and the different roles (but changed slightly to
best fit the needs of your own group). Which aspects did you find the easiest to implement? Did
you have any challenges?
A variety of instructional strategies were introduced to you during this course. Since you
and your group focused on the picture word inductive model (PWIM) you worked on introducing
it frequently into your classroom. It was such a success! All of the students would cheer when
you would pull up a picture and the comments were usually, “I love when we do this!” or “This
is the best day ever!” and coming from Adam, who could frequently be negative, this was a huge
win. Since this was such a big accomplishment in introducing this model into the classroom and
you have now started teaching in a new school and in high school now, what other instructional
strategies did you introduce? I hope you didn’t forget the feeling of nervousness and excitement
of trying something new without any practice. It is so important to get out of your comfort zone
in teaching. You do it quite often moving and living in multiple countries, so it is important that
it also carries over in your teaching as well.
With the completion of the multiple maps on different instructional models you really
dived deep in breaking them down and understanding the different roles, the instruction and the
curriculum. This was a completely new way of thinking for you that required you to really take
apart the models to see how each one impacted teaching and learning. Did you continue to look
through strategies with this model?
Congratulations with all that you have accomplished so far! You have worked hard and
pushed yourself to new limits as an educator. I can only imagine how you will be feeling when
you finally get to read this letter and reflect on the past 6 months. I only hope this letter continues
to push you further.

All the best!


Megan