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The Consequences of Ignorance: Analyzing Character Action and Motivation in Contexts

Written by Rebecca Itow
September 10, 2011

I never thought I would be a teacher … I certainly never thought I would use my teaching experience to guide my thinking as I begin to work on a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences, but here I am. I am the only one who is surprised. 

It has been evident from the beginning of my teaching career that my teaching style differs from those of my colleagues, and it was no secret that many disagreed with my inclusion of 21st Century tools and using discussion as a main form of  learning and teaching. But I could see that my methods were working, so I continued on. 

In April 2011 I had the opportunity to work with Indiana University professor and researcher, Dan Hickey, and learned that much of what I was already doing in my classroom aligned with a set of principles he and his team had outlined as a framework for developing curriculum.  We began to work together to create a module that I could implement in my own classroom based on these principles.

The next work of literature I needed to teach was The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, so that is the context in which the module was placed. The module focused on Common Core Standards, and used traditional and 21st Century tools to engage students and assess learning. A major component was reflection upon practice; my goal was not to test students on a specific scene or line Shakespeare’s play, but rather to provide them with opportunities to use the tool that is character analysis to analyze and dig into the work. What a success we had!

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