Thursday, June 12, 2014

New MOOC - Week One

5 Habits of Highly Creative Teachers

Who Stole Curiosity?

Although I have yet to step into a classroom as a teacher, as a designer of instruction, I think it's important for me to be aware of effective teaching methods.  As such I've enrolled in my second MOOC.  Unfortunately I've started behind already due to a hectic work and school schedule, but I'm still excited about the content and learning from my classmates.

We were asked to think about barriers and motivators of curiosity.  I think complacence and compliance get in the way of curiosity.  As children, I don’t necessarily think we need to be encouraged to be curious because everything is new and exciting and we're motivated to seek out as much information as we can and experience all that we can.  But as we grow, we’re required to comply and think of “correct” answers... we’re no longer encouraged to explore and discover or think outside the box.  Over time I think we forget how to look at things from a fresh perspective because we're consumed by having the right answers and afraid to look stupid when we don't.

I think to turn these barriers into motivators, we need to recognize that not all questions can be answered the same way.  Instead of requiring students to learn verbatim information for later regurgitation, we need to approach the content differently and provide opportunities for exploration and discovery.  I feel that intrinsic motivation is so much more important than extrinsic motivation.  According to a quote in Wiley's The Instructional Use of Learning Objects (2002), "If a student does not want to learn, she will not; Regardless of the quality of the instruction offered her. If a student wants to learn, she will find a way; Regardless of the quality of the instruction offered her" (p. 151).  I think this is because of curiosity and motivation.  Because we're curious, we'll seek out information for our own internal reward.  This is priceless for learning as students and as educators.  If we remain open to our own curiosity, we are lifelong learners and will be sensitive to fostering creativity in our students.  By doing so, we can get them to question material rather than passively accepting everything.  I think of Boyan Slat's asking why can't we clean up the mess of plastic in the ocean and tackling the issue from a different (and fresh) angle, which led to a viable solution.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall ... Who am I really?

As a formal learner, I think I stopped asking questions and became a passive learner, just accepting information as is without much question.  I wanted to do well in school and in my professional life and it was my belief that conformity and compliance would get me there.  I think this became so ingrained in me that I stopped asking questions.  Because of this I think I tend to be more of a (.) passive learner; however, when I entered graduate school, I was encouraged to think critically so I've become more of a (?) curious learner since then.  In my personal hobbies I believe I'm a (?) curious learner, and I think that goes back to intrinsic motivation.  If I'm curious about something, I seek out that information and ask questions.


This week we were also tasked with creating a matrix for boosting our own curiosity as well as fostering it for others.  After brainstorming a bit, I came up with a few key words to remind me to boost my own creativity and try to provide opportunities for others to do the same.  I need to remember to allow myself time to explore, discover, experience, and play... to collaborate with others and take time to ask questions.  By creating a safe and trusting environment for students, hopefully they'll feel like they can explore without fear of being wrong.

Week One Wrap Up

From this week, I think I've learned to recognize that my own curiosity has been stifled, and I need to rekindle it.  By doing so, hopefully I can also recognize opportunities to incorporate curiosity and creativity into the instructional materials I create.

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