XQ Learner Goals

Take a look at the XQ Learner Goals and think about how your content area and current practice fits into these categories or how it might fit in the future. Once you are ready, reply in this topic thread and post your thoughts in response to each category and start up a conversation with your colleagues.

I do think that language arts and what I currently teach lends itself well to many of these ideas. Students learn about varying cultures in the novels and stories we read - I work to provide variety for them. We are focusing more and more on teaching students to dive deeper into texts and to become critical readers. Writing is another area that needs more focus - and as we shift the thinking on that, students will gain more skills to become stronger writers. I do think that we are pushing to make students “sense makers” because I am working on the standards committee for ELA in North Dakota and we are creating new standards that look at research and how to help students make inquiries and find valid sources. And the same goes for collaborating. We see these important skills and are rewriting standards to match these needs thus changing how we will present ELA information to students in the future. Finally, I really strive to push students to discover for themselves and to make mistakes and try again. This will hopefully guide them towards being lifelong learners. I am excited that many teachers in North Dakota have agreed that these skills need to be better incorporated into ELA standards. This will help the shift to happen more clearly.

I think ELA and History (and in general all Humanities courses) fit well into these categories.

  1. Foundational Knowledge: Understanding the world in all its complexity and embracing difference to craft a better world is much of the purpose of teaching humanities to students. It builds empathy and understanding.
  2. Fundamental Literacies: Being a critical consumer and a meaningful contributor are essential life skills. Applying these skills to the human experience is much of the goal in the humanities.
  3. Original Thinkers: The Humanities are also a great way for students to practice exploring multiple perspectives and creating their own understanding using all of them. They also learn how to communicate their new understanding through speaking and writing.
  4. Generous collaborators: In my class, collaboration and presentation are essential skills. Students constantly lean on each other and learn from one another. They also share their own knowledge and help others.
  5. Learners for life: I would say about half of the projects that I do are self driven and open ended. They let students see the essential question, learn some background through their own research and inquiry, and then they build, write, or create something to share their understanding. I would like to implement these lifelong learning skills into more of my curriculum.

I feel a bit like a broken record being the third language arts teacher to respond to this thread. To diverge a bit from mere repetition, I do feel fortunate that in a relatively conservative climate, I am still surrounded by a progressive department of colleagues. I can really see many of the overarching ideas in play currently — specifically moving beyond rote instruction and into student-centered critical thinking. We still certainly have plenty of room to grow, but many of the ideas I see mentioned by the XQ project are actively discussed by my colleagues.