Teacher Innovation #10: “Innovation as Self: A Teacher Reflects on Innovation as a Pedagogical Philosophy Shift”

Adobe Spark (10)

Post #10 is from Dr. Kim Foster, a practicing ELA teacher with nearly a decade of classroom experience. I met Dr. Foster when we both started our doctoral studies in 2013 and from day one, she was both a good friend and someone who challenged my own intellectual aptitude as a graduate student. (I grew to be a better doc student because of her; although, she is too humble to agree to that.) Dr. Foster has my utmost respect and is the embodiment of what it means to foster (no pun intended) caring relationships in the classroom and to have a growth mindset. Her post reflects on her evolution in pedagogical philosophy and pedagogy in the classroom over the course of her career and particularly the last four years of research. Much like myself, Dr. Foster experienced a seismic shift in her pedagogical approach. If you want delve into culturally relevant pedagogy and a critical approach to teaching in the classroom, you do not want to miss reading this post. Even if you’re not a teacher, this post highlights how our best teachers grow and change student lives.

Previous Entries in the Series: Post #1 // Post #2 // Post #3 // Post #4 // Post #5 // Post #6 // Post #7 // Post #8 // Post #9

By Dr. Kim Foster

When Kyle asked me to participate in this “innovation” series, I immediately said yes because Kyle is awesome, and I love to write about my classroom. However, the more I pondered on my teaching, the more I concluded, “What I do in the classroom is really not that super innovative…what does it mean to be innovative?” Well, I googled it because that is how we find quick answers these days. Google claims that innovating is “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” As I mulled over my thoughts, what I determined is that my mindset as a teacher has been in a process of innovation for the past four years. In this post, I will share about an unanticipated shift in my pedagogical approach that came about when I started a doctoral program (how I met Kyle) to learn more about how to teach more effectively, and what I gained can not be quantified by insignificant numbers or qualified by mere words. I am the result of innovation, and I hope that all teachers can find encouragement in allowing yourself to be refined, revived, and renewed in ways that you may never know that you need. I start with a reminiscent scene from ten years ago during my student teaching; I then share a brief description of the knowledge that sparked my journey. I move to a reflection from my dissertation research; and I end with a reflection as I move into my tenth year of teaching. Continue reading

Zines and Identities Emerge: An Anecdotal Look at When Participation and Rhetoric Collide

20150403_093151 (1)

Students began turning in their mini-zines on Friday with more to come today. As mentioned in a previous post, I pointed my students in the direction of using their zines as a mode to express their knowledge of and use of rhetorical strategies. The early results are promising. While I do love using zines as a tool, they are ultimately merely a tool. What has been fun and exciting to watch unfold in the classroom is the overall enjoyment students have shown in the process, and specifically watching them show aspects of who they are that are so easy to hide or reserve for only a few. Identity is fluid and social as well as a part of a person that is multiplicitous and is in-process as well as embedded over time. Adolescence is an important moment in our lives when we explore our identity. My current research is in part looking for where the ELA classroom may serve as an important space in school for students to do this exploration while also a space that empowers them to act. What that action is cannot really be predicted with certainty, but I will venture to state that a student acting with a belief they are welcome to and encouraged to act is inspirational. I will also venture to state that a student choosing openly to not act, to resist or push against, is just as inspirational. Sounds complex, right? Inside today’s post, I share what my students have been up to so far with some anecdotal understandings I have of their process. Continue reading

Happy New Year: An Update on My Insane Trip Through Dissertation Land

graduation-tam-black1

I want to begin today’s post by acknowledging that I should be working on my proposal for my study right now rather than writing this post. Now that I got that out of the way, let me explain why I am actively avoiding finishing my literature review. Continue reading

Looking Back on Comps and Looking Forward toward a Prospectus

07cetnz

So comps happened. I passed. Passing feels awesome.

For anyone unsure, comps is short for comprehensive exams; they are a rite of passage for all doctoral students whereby a potential doctoral candidate must demonstrate both his or her theoretical and methodological knowledge. In other words, the exams are a proving ground. A student must prove he or she is ready for the dissertation phase of their program.

Thankfully, my committee believes I am. Inside today’s post is simple reflection on the process and what I have ahead of me.
Continue reading