Reflections and Conclusions
What have you gained from taking the ABQ Junior Course?
In taking the ABQ Junior Course, I have learned a number of things. In addition, I’ve been able to apply things that I had learned in other contexts to the Junior classroom idea, and understand how it is similar and different. In considering the junior age learner, I learned a lot about their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. I also was able to consider what how to best arrange and plan for the learner in the various developmental stages. For instance, the concept of how students at this age are learning to socially negotiate with their peers as they establish their own identity can be supported through purposeful groupings of students for group work activities. When it comes to meeting the diverse needs of students, it was very interesting to read the different posts from the members of the class who all have different backgrounds and perspectives. Thinking about all of these ideas and how diverse the junior classroom can be was eye-opening. I think I tended to think about cultural diversity more, but now have a better understanding of how developmental diversity needs to be considered in addition to cultural.
The concept of the physical setup of a Junior classroom was new to me. Having a secondary background, we are generally forced to share a room with multiple teachers, where multiple classes of student visit on any given day. The idea of one class – one teacher – one room was an interesting one to consider and I learned a great deal about the various options and how they would be useful or not in promoting the learning of students.
In terms of the curriculum, planning and assessment, this is an area in which I’ve had a great deal of exposure in my current role as a curriculum consultant. However, much of my work has been in science specifically, and also often in secondary. It was very intriguing to take the concepts as I understood them and apply them to things like Learning Goals, Success Criteria, Literacy and Numeracy skills. I particularly gained insight into how to consider the infusion of cross-curricular literacy into subject areas. That’s an idea that I’ve had for a while, but in this course, I was able to delve deeper into it and consider what it would look like in a practical sense for the Junior learner. All in all, I feel I grew as an educator and gained many insights that will serve me well in the profession, whether it’s in a Junior classroom, senior class or any other role. I think I now have a broader based understanding of learners and what teachers can do to help with their success.
What is an educational goal you have for the immediate future?
I want to apply all of the learning I’ve done into a classroom. In my last 5 years as a consultant I’ve learned a great deal from the system and provincial perspective. I also completed a Masters degree in Education and Digital Technology, and now I have a better understanding of the Junior learner. As I return to a classroom in the fall, I want to start to apply and put into practice many of the ideas and concepts that I’ve been grappling with. I think it’s going to be fun. 🙂
The ABQ Junior course was a great learning experience. I learned new things, and was able to apply things from other contexts to the idea of the Junior learner and how the junior classroom is different from the others that I had previously experienced. I feel I’m better prepared to address learning needs in any classroom now through the application of ideas, principles, theories and strategies that were learned with my colleagues in the course.