EDCI 500: Blog Reflection 6 Ambiguity and Constructivism

April 14, 2013

I must start off by saying that I was so happy to graduate high school and be done with school that I never wanted to step foot into another classroom again. I only took a few classes at the local community college at a co-workers urging, and I discovered an adventure that was one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my life. Yes, it did prevent me from going back to school, but it gave me a sense of purpose and satisfied my needs for the next ten years. I constantly took classes and trained, but it was something that encouraged me to help others and extrinsically motivated me.


I have found that over time my needs and motivation have changed, having children does that. As some of you know I have a child who is in a Special Education program and was treated horribly on a daily basis. Through all of the parent conferences and meetings to iron out an IEP, I struggled to understand how we got to this point. I came to the realization that many of these teachers had no clue what they were doing not only to my child, but also to many of the students in their classes. I found myself thinking that I could be a better teacher and do a better job. So I made the decision to go back to school to be a Special Education teacher. I knew that I could make school a better place for students. I did not like school; I just didn’t fit the mold until I went back to college.


So here is a break down of my motivation and how my needs are meet:

My Goal

Needs Being Meet


Earn my M.Ed. in Special Education Self-actualization, intellectual achievement, esteem, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic
Make my classroom a safe place for students Esteem, being, self-actualization, safety, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic
Fulfill my dream of being a teacher Self-actualization, being, esteem Intrinsic and extrinsic
Find a teaching job Esteem, self-actualization, being, physiological Extrinsic and intrinsic
Show my children that education is essential and following your dreams is mandatory Esteem, self-actualization, being, belonging, intellectual achievement Intrinsic and extrinsic
Help students succeed and find their path in life Being, self-actualization, belonging, esteem, intellectual achievement Intrinsic
To make good grades and earn achievements Esteem, intellectual achievement, self-actualization, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic

I think that by recognizing what motivates us as teachers and thinking about how I got to this point in my life it helps me understand how my students might be feeling and help motivate them. Through Maslow’s theory Woolfolk suggests that it gives “us a way of looking at the whole student whose physical, emotional, and intellectual needs are all interrelated” (Woolfolk, 2013, p.435).


By having a constructivist classroom including ambiguous projects and tasks you allow your students who are poor risk takers and have fear of failure to work on overcoming their reservations of these projects. Teaching them to embrace freedom to develop their own project and have artist license for a lack of better word will help them develop their abilities over the length of their education. You build their self-confidence, intellectual achievement, self-actualization, belonging and sense of safety with in themselves. According to Woolfolk students are able to make plans, set goals and are motivated to succeed (2013). In life there is not always someone to tell you how to solve your problems and which way to go, students have to learn how to take information and build upon it. You are not only teaching students how to complete a project on their own you are building life lessons into your class.

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.


Categories: Educational Psychology.

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EDCI 500 Blog Reflection 3: Immersion

February 24, 2013

While watching the video Skwerl, I found it to be just another evening in the life of these people. You could occasionally pick up on a few words here and there, but for the most part you were at a lose to understand what was going on in the video. Except when they were arguing, I think universally everyone understands when they are in trouble. It is more about facially expression at that point, like American Sign Language. In sign language it is essential to maintain eye contact and facial expression is the key to understanding the conversation, the signs and motions are secondary. I think this video brings attention to how children who come from a family that speaks a foreign language, or use sign language have great difficulty when they enter the classroom and have to struggle all day long to understand what the teacher is saying and what their classmates are saying. They also have to be able to read what is written on the board, we only had to watch a four minute video, I would go nuts if I had to go through that all day long five days a week. I also feel that this would be a difficult experience for children who have auditory processing disabilities, all of the chatter and background noise would make for a difficult environment. This problem if left unaddressed only leads to frustration and children tend to just give up.


The video would have been very difficult to understand and relate to if it was an audio file only. You would lose the facial expressions, props, background music, and you would not have been able to establish a setting, which all lend to help you understand the context of the video. All of this visual and audio information together should help us, as teacher’s to better understand the difficulties the students are facing. The classroom is an experience that needs to provide visual, audio, and tactile clues for all of the children to draw from. By providing them this additional information they are gain more information to make connections between the lesson and how to apply it. The sooner that children who are monolingual begin the learning process of adding an additional language to better they are at processing information and have to use only one hemisphere of the brain to make the connections (Woolfolk, 175).


Another key element to a multi-culture and multi-lingual classroom is to incorporate “culturally relevant teaching by utilizing the backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences of the students to inform the teacher’s lessons and methodology” (Coffey, 1). By making your classroom culturally relevant for all students you are making them feel welcome and comfortable in the classroom. By creating a comfortable environment you help them identify themselves as learners and as belonging in the environment. Woolfolk states, “for a child, genuine acceptance is a necessary condition for developing self-esteem”(238). As a teacher we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by creating a multi-cultural environment for children.

Coffey, H. (2008). Culturally relevant teaching. Culturally Relevant Teaching. Retrieved February 23, 2013, from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4474

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Why aren’t Spanish speaking kids getting an education? (2009, June 02). YouTube. Retrieved February 24, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwgiwnzbDa4

Categories: Educational Psychology.

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EDCI 500-02 Reflecting on No Child Left Behind

January 27, 2013


I began thinking about how to approach the topic of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), I immediately started on my thoughts of the matter. I am not especially happy with NCLB, I really do not feel that it is a true test of a teacher’s ability or of a child’s ability to learn. I know that the ultimate goal of NCLB was, “schools are expected to increase their performance for all “students on an annual basis.  The goal is to make sure that eventually 100 percent of their students score at least at the proficient level as measured by these annual tests” (Tavakolian, E., & Howell, N., 71). I think that you have to take into consideration all of the factors involved in education and the child’s life to understand the full measure of education and learning. I decided to ask my children about their feelings on the Standards of Learning tests (SOL) that they take every year, to help me understand the test and motivation of SOL test taking from their point of view.


I asked my son, who I will refer to from this point on as Male child, and my daughter who I will refer to as Female child several questions about the SOL’s and why they felt motivated to do well on the test. So that you have a better understanding of the children I will tell you that they are both exceptional learners who are in the gifted program at their school, they are both on Honor Roll every grading period and are both involved in community programs outside of school and involved in clubs after school. I asked them both the same questions and got somewhat different take from both of them.


When asked about how Male child felt the teacher’s handled teaching information regarding SOL’s he stated that they were “just pushing kids who don’t want to learn through” he eluded to the idea that they were not interested in the test and that it had become just another chore for them to complete. I then asked Male child how he felt other children approached studying and taking the SOL, he said that “some of the kids memorize things for the test, and then they don’t need it”. I asked Male child if he felt the SOL was a true judge of how he learned, what he had learned or why he feels motivated to learn, “no, it can’t possibly be! I learn for me, because I want to have a great job when I finish school and I know that I can’t have that if I don’t try hard”. When asked if he felt the test was effective in judging how well a teacher taught the information to the class his answer was, “no, not all of the kids care, they don’t care if how well they do”.


My interview with Female child was somewhat different, when asked about how she felt the teacher’s handled teaching information regarding SOL’s she stated “well it depends on the teacher, some of the teacher’s really care about the information and others well they don’t even like the kids”. So I asked her how she felt other children approached studying and taking the SOL, she said that “well that really depends on the kid, someone who gets all A’s is really going to try hard, the average kid will try a little, but doesn’t really care, and then the bad kids don’t care at all, they know that they will just get pushed through so the teachers can get rid of them”. I asked Female child if she felt the SOL was a true judge of how she learned, what she had learned or why she feels motivated to learn, “ no, the test is mildly challenging and I learn because I want to too! I don’t need a test to see if I learned the information, I want to learn so I try harder”. When

asked if she felt the test was effective in judging how well a teacher taught the information to the class her answer was, “ no, taking a test is a measure of how well I do with test taking, if you want to see how well a teacher is teaching then maybe they should put video cameras in the classroom and watch them”.


I was mildly surprised with the kids answers, I am happy that they realize that they are in-charge of their own success and that they have to motivate themselves, but it really disappoints me to know that a 14 year old and a 12 year old understand education better than Congress or the President of the United States.  I do realize that Congress and the President only wanted, “to close achievement gaps between all students by providing each child with fair and equal opportunities to receive quality elementary and secondary educations” (Tavakolian, E. & Howell, N., 72). When doing my research for the blog, there was not really anything that surprised me. Researchers have found that better teachers have very strong effects, a teacher who regularly have high test score gains in a classroom, and a poor teacher has low test score gains (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 134). Each individual state sets a standard for what a highly qualifying teacher is, for most states they have determined that a quality teachers require no additional education or testing achievements (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 135). Before NCLB was implemented new teachers were mostly required to have a bachelor’s degree, pass certification testing, and demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter in which they are instructing (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 135). Does this make teachers better educators? No, the standard really wasn’t raised, I feel that it truly comes back to the educator and what motivates them to teach, whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.


The entire problem with education does not solely lie with the educator, some of it should fall on the administration. Does the administration do anything to teachers who fail to perform? How is the information handled, are they punished, do they continue in their position regardless of performance? Do teacher’s unions protect their position? Our textbook tells us that a poor teacher tends to have a poor relationship with their students with “evidence mounting for a strong association between the quality of teacher-child relationships and school performance” (Woolfolk, 7). It also shows that “students who had the least effective teachers three years in a row averaged 29th percentile in math achievement in one district and 44th percentile in the other” (Woolfolk, 7).  So what is administration doing about poor teachers? The data appears to be very limited, we know how to identify, “the extent to which principals can distinguish less-effective and more-effective teachers and are willing to act on that knowledge constitutes a crucial determinant of the benefits of accountability” (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 146). Hanushek and Rivkin found that it is relatively unclear what school administration is doing with this information (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 146). So where does this leave us, if we do not use the information to move poor teachers out of education, then the NCLB act is ineffective.




All in all I think that the intent was pure when coming up with NCLB, I do however think that it is a failure. I think children who are either unmotivated at home or at school will never perform to a set standard if they decide that there is no reason for them to put for the effort. Teachers who are not interest in the overall well being of the classroom, will never be able to excite or motivate a classroom of hungry minds, and finally an administration that has no intention or lack of ability to weed out poor teachers and poor teaching methods is never going to meet or accomplish the goals set before them. However, I don’t think that a federally mandated education act is going to solve all of the problems, especially when it fails to meet the financial demands that it places upon school system.




Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2010). The Quality and Distribution of Teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act. Journal of Economic Perspectives24(3), 133-150. doi: 10.1257/jep.24.3.133



Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.


No Child Left Behind: A Decade of Failure [Video]. (2012). United States of America: The Cato Institure. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0WUqNO0qo4



Tavakolian, H., & Howell, N. (2012). The Impact of No Child Left Behind Act.Franklin Business & Law Journal2012(1), 70-77. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?nobk=y&vid=4&sid=745fa67e-b107-4f5d-80d9-375aaed13936@sessionmgr112&hid=126



Categories: Educational Psychology.

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