How do we pack what is worth keeping in life?
How do we prepare for a wedding?
We don’t want to be under or over dressed. We don’t want to outshine the bride or the groom, but if happens, I guess we just couldn’t help it: our taste and choices are just delightfully accurate!
How do we plan our units so that they are not under or overloaded?
We certainly should not want to be the center of attention and generate monotonous learning experience for learners. Likewise, we should not want to let the waves of learning without having a goal in mind for all learners- teachers included. In other words, when crafting units, we must make sure our taste, choices, stimulus, and provocations are delightfully accurate, relevant, enjoyable, impactful, and learning-centered. And since we, teachers are learners as well, the experience must be equally powerful for all participants. Teachers just happen to be the planners, but the journey is decided along with students.
This year, at my current school, we, language teachers, have immersed ourselves in an odyssey to define what we consider a well-packed unit; a well-designed collection of learning experiences; and, above all, quality learning. We have co-taught throughout the year, serving as lead teachers, observers and sharing the platform. We have devised an attitude through which the design of our curriculum responds to students’ needs, to a most desired challenge we want as educators, and to the idea of sustainable learning full of transfer and opportunities for learners to experience, taste and execute a varied set of skills.
As a result, we have been fortunate to craft a curriculum map that emulates the 8 key elements of the school’s mission statement and that resonates with a learning experience in which students are given the chance to use the skills and information they possess in a variety of ways. We have agreed that we are not just language teachers; our subject is a forum where learning through and about the language is our daily bread.
In this post, I would like to share our journey through an MYP unit, the 4th of a set of 5 in this academic year; a segue to a service-led unit which I described in my post titled ‘The Power of Local Context’; and one in which we wanted students to dwell in the realm creativity and problem solving with fairness and development in mind. While through this unit we were to consolidate our approach to designing inquiry-based units, we also wanted students to be more aware of the stages they must go through as they plan their explorations. Thus, the use of various inquiry cycle models was paramount.
As this unit was designed, not only was our intention to fulfill our subject objectives, but also to explicitly proclaim that Global and Local Contexts make it possible to include elements of service-learning, to utilize the intellectual resources in our community, to offer students opportunities for real world interactions, and engage learners in a variety of thinking experiences (creative, design, divergent, etc). Above all, we wanted to make sure that all outcomes of the work conducted in this unit could help pupils be proud of and own their achievements.
Emulating the farming and harvesting process, the following Thinglink will help you visualize our journey in this unit: an exploration into the way creative solutions for problems give way to cultural and linguistic adjustments related to social demands, processes, novel ways of doing things, and the purpose of knowledge. (Hover over the image to see links)