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Pre-Service Teacher Reflections

Written by Danielle Filipiak
November 30, 2013

Below are excerpts taken from student reflections written up after the panel series ended.  Some students published their reflections to the Digital Is Website, and links to them can be found at the bottom of this page.

“However, when we initiated a willingness to listen to their perspective, they too willingly listened to ours. The concession to hear becomes the first act of acceptance that will hopefully inspire more inclusion. This is the real potential in expanded discourses through technology. It is why I believe efforts to expand the borders of a classroom beyond even that of the surrounding community can prove so fruitful.” ~Andrew

“As most people so painstakingly have portrayed teachers as the “experts,” what we have failed to realize is the expertise that young people have and how we could have been using that to plan our lessons and guide our instruction and curriculum. Something that resonated with me that Nicole touched on was how we can teach students to use English to “advocate for themselves” rather than feeling burdened by a class that is required of them for their academic lives.” ~Margarita

“However, when I examined my own situation in this regard, I found myself wondering how one approaches this if he or she is completely new to a school’s environment? How do we begin to approach this issue of authentic community involvement if we are entering this community as a total outsider?”  ~Kelsey

“Nicole unwittingly answered a major question I had about teaching.  I have often wondered how teachers get to know their students when there is so much material that must be covered.  According to Nicole, relationship and team building should be connected with the curriculum:  “Get to know who your students are.  Relationship and team building should be built into content, not separate from content.”  In retrospect, I wish I had asked her for tips on how to do this; it sounds easier said than done.  I know this is an element of teaching I will need to work on.” ~Katherine

“According to Wittgenstein, we are still occupied with the same philosophical problems because our language has remained the same. Even when we attempt to implement new methods and incorporate technology into the classroom, we often face the same issues because we simply “replicate existing literacy practices”–the literacy practices we grew up with and were subjected to as students (Garcia, 95). We use what we know, what is familiar, even though these practices end up reproducing the same disinvestment and alienation we may have felt as students ourselves. If we want to change the way students see English class, we need to change our definitions of reading as a passive or isolated activity and writing as a finished product. “Reading the word implies continually reading the world,” since reading is a transformative act that involves negotiating and navigating the differences between reader and writer contexts (Duncan-Andrade and Morrell, 3).” ~Katie

“English education = developing a voice = advocating for oneself. This idea holds additional value in that it can help us to be explicit with our students about the importance of what we’re doing in our classrooms. Student resistance to participating in school can be attributed to several factors: un-engaging curricula, un-engaging teaching, and low student self-esteem, just to name a few reasons. But one factor that educators at the secondary level seem to most often overlook is the lack of transparency with our students concerning what and why we are teaching what we teach.” ~Joanne