This is my response to the reflection questions at the end of Chapter 2 - "Learner-Driven, Evidence-Informed" from the book "Innovate Inside the Box" by George Couros and Katie Novak.
1. What might a wider definition of success be for your students or your community? How can you get your students involved in defining success for themselves in short- and long-term planning.
I am teaching a completely, brand-new class this year. Most of my students have never even heard the terms "design thinking" or "computational thinking", so I have an advantage in the fact they don't have a sense of "grading" in my subject. At the beginning of the course, I state the goals I have for my students throughout the class, however I did not ask them to reflect on their previous experiences and set goals for themselves. For my, I think wider success for my students would be feeling comfortable stepping outside "their box" and challenging themselves to be more creative, open-minded problem solvers. This is especially true for my 8th grade students who are really diving into gaining empathy for others in terms of addressing an issue they see in school. For them, success take the form of better understanding their classmates and peers in some way or another. I definitely want to focus on goal-setting in my class and already have some ideas for my next rotation.
2. What evidence can be used to inform student goals and progress beyond standardized test scores. Share with others how you use this evidence to create better learning opportunities for you students.
Giving students hands-on, real-life experiences and being able to showcase that to a broader audience is a great way to show progress. In my 8th grade course, students are working in teams to identify an issue in our school setting, interview other users about their issue, and design a solution. They then are going to present their solution to an authentic audience (their classmates and other teachers/administrators) and reflect on their process. The reflection piece, for me, is absolutely key in showing progress. If students can identify their areas of strength, future areas for improvement, and adjustments they would make, then I can very clearly see the progress they've made, even more than I would on a standardized test.
3. How do you leverage the strengths of the learners you serve in your classroom, school, or organization?
I think you have to allow students the freedom and opportunity to use those strengths. In a classroom setting, I think it is vital to pair students with different strengths so they can build off of and learn from each other. This also allows them to share their passions and explore multiple areas of interest. I am also the adviser of the TV studio at my school. This year, due to a schedule change, I was able to find time to see my students each day to allow them to pursue passion projects related to our TV studio. Some students will work on creating graphics and content for social media, some will learn to create and edit short promotional videos, and some will work on learning the behind-the-scenes aspect of a TV studio. In this case, each student gets to showcase their own strength and pursue their passions to benefit the larger school community.