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I’m starting into my official inquiry as part of the graduate diploma program through Simon Fraser University. I feel like I’m standing at the beginning of a trail with glimpses of a magnificent summit peaking through the trees. It’s exciting and scary at the same time – what I’m about to begin has the potential to totally change my perspective about education and the way I teach. It’s always daunting taking the first few steps into something when you don’t know what the outcome will be, but I’ve taken a number of steps already and I’m excited about the adventures around the corners ahead.
The foundation of my inquiry rests on two questions. My main question is: How can I teach in a way that is true and authentic to who I am as a teacher? Over the course of the past few years I’ve begun to see how my beliefs about education don’t always align with how I teach. It’s a form of professional hypocrisy. Although I’ve changed many lessons and activities I inherited when I started at my school (and have “recycled”/junked whole units of obsolete material), I still have a ways to go.
Out of this main question comes a sub-question that will help me answer the first: How can I authentically engage my students in the English curriculum? For the past year and a half I’ve done a lot of thinking about engagement and the importance of having students engaged in what they are doing – in some respects I feel that engagement is the holy grail of education. There are a myriad buzz words out there in the educational world like 21st century learning, assessment for learning, backward design, multiple intelligences, etc. etc.. All of these are great ideas with valuable implications for the classroom, but I think that when we boil everything down, what we’re essentially trying to do is engage.