Lesson Reflection

Reflect on your teaching experience. Write a paragraph response to each of the following questions, and don’t forget to use and underline vocabulary from the theories we have learned to answer these questions.

How well do you feel your lesson helped develop students’ abilities to use metacognition to be successful?

I believe we used metacognition well, especially at the end of the lesson. Students completed an exit ticket to reflect on what they learned. During the lesson, we read, annotated, and summarized, and students used their procedural metacognitive knowledge to decide if, when, and how to use each of the

How well do you feel your lesson helped develop a growth mindset in your students?

The Fugitive Slave Act, which we read as part of the lesson, is long and has dense language. Having students read the entire thing and be able to actually understand it—I feel this contributes to a growth mindset because at the end they knew they’d done something hard. At the beginning of the lesson, we talked about the text itself: it’s long, and it’s got some legalese students had to wade through, but I had observed these students and I knew they were smart enough to get through it. I believe that successfully doing something hard helps build that growth mindset because students learn they can do difficult tasks.

How well do you feel your lesson motivated your students? Which strategies were successful and how could you improve?

Frontloading the vocabulary motivated students because it was a way to connect with stuff they already knew. If I taught the lesson again I think I would have used a modified jigsaw where students read only a fourth of the law and then presented the key points to their peers; this would have been motivating because group work provides sense of belonging and autonomy, also allows students to feel competent in front of their peers.

How well do you feel your lesson met your students’ cognitive development needs?

I think the lesson met their cognitive needs pretty well. Both of the texts we read were within the students’ Zones of Proximal Development, and I think I provided enough scaffolding and MKO (both text and me as the teacher) to help them be successful.

How well do you feel your lesson met your students’ identity development needs?

Probably not as well—we didn’t get to spend as much time talking about how the law or poem would impact them in various roles, and we didn’t get to spend time talking about how the tone/purpose of the law and poem are different from today. We didn’t get to make as many connections to their personal lives and who they are—instead, we talked about the law/poem in context of the characters in the novel. I think if we had been able to spend more time talking about the various texts and the related to the students’ current culture, this would have met their identity development needs more fully.

How well do you feel your lesson met your students’ moral development needs?

Again probably not as well—we did talk about the different tone/purpose of the poem (empathetic, anti-slavery) in contrast to the law (objectifying, dehumanizing, criminalizing), but we only touched on this briefly due to time constraints. I think if there was more time, or if there was a second lesson, I would help the students make this moral connection more obvious, and help them think about some ethical dilemmas that a novel character, abolitionist, or free black person might have been in around the time the fugitive slave act was passed.

Did the learning theory you chose work well for these students? Why or why not?

My lesson used mostly Cognitivist principles, and I feel it worked pretty well for the students, largely because they are used to lessons based around cognitivism. Many of the lessons I observed used cognitivist principles, and I believe these are pretty common in schools today.

How might using another theory have improved the lesson or made it less effective?

I believe the students would have responded well to a more constructivist lesson, but since I had not observed Mrs. G. use more complex models, I was hesitant to try one with her students. I considered using the jigsaw model, which would have created a complex learning environment and been more in line with constructivism; I believe this could have made the lesson more effective for the students because they would have been more actively involved in the lesson.

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