Reflection

This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • #272

    Jill Sweeney
    Participant

    Give an example of a time you lacked the background knowledge to meaningfully participate in an experience.

    A time that I lacked background knowledge when trying to participate in an experience was when I was writing my first lesson plan. Before my first lesson plan, I did not have any background knowledge in how to write a lesson plan or what to expect from writing one. Going along with writing the lesson plan, I did not have much background knowledge in the implementation of lesson plans. I knew that I can expect for my lesson plan to not follow directly what I had in mind, because children take things in other directions, but I did not know how to steer it back and get back on track. This is another reason that I believe that background knowledge is not the only important thing, but that experiences are also important. After the implementation of my first lesson I was not where near being an expert but I was definitely more comfortable with the idea of it.

    #274

    Jen Newton
    Keymaster

    Can experience provide background knowledge? Is it possible experience and background knowledge are two parts of the whole?

    #283

    Jared Tschohl
    Participant

    A few summers ago, I had decided to volunteer at a summer camp for students with low-incidence disabilities in order to gain more experience with students with more severe/profound needs.

    Being a new volunteer, although there were stations set-up and the campers split up into groups, it was difficult to determine my role. Somedays, it seemed as if “camp counselors” stayed at their respective station, while other times, each “camp counselor” stayed with the same “camper” the entire day.

    It was very hard to know what to do and so it became very piece-meal in how to involve one’s self into the situation, on top of I did not know anyone else there, so when I asked others, I got different answers.

    This culminated eventually, in an office staff member talking to me privately and stating that if I wasn’t going to ingrain myself more into the activities, then I should think about not coming anymore. [What was crazy is this was told to me about two days before the camps ended, as opposed to earlier in the summer.]

    When I tried to explain my predicament about not knowing whether I needed to be with one individual or one station, I still did not get a further answer on it. Suffice to say, being a VOLUNTEER no less, that hurt me. Granted I did not tell anyone I had a background in special education already, but I also decided to finish the summer and not return after that.

    If I had more appropriate background knowledge, perhaps I would still be volunteering to this day.

    #286

    Jen Newton
    Keymaster

    Background knowledge in that circumstance is maybe kind of like a “hidden curriculum” of sorts? Like everyone knows the ins and outs and no one knows how or is willing to express them. I think that’s another good example of background knowledge and experience rubbing. The experience may have provided background knowledge had you gone back another summer but negative experiences do not result in opportunities to build.

    #287

    Anonymous

    There have been many times that I feel as if I didn’t have adequate knowledge to participate meaningfully in an academic experience. Unfortunately, many of these learning experiences have come from my participation in education classes here at SLU. As a special education minor, I have been enrolled in a handful of classes that I am required to take to achieve the minor, but that I am not necessarily “qualified” for. In a class just this week, I had to complete a major assignment that consisted of writing my own lesson plan for a weeks worth of a class. I am one of two people in the class who is not actually in the school of education, but everyone else already knew the basics of writing a lesson plan. They also knew what age and subject they were looking to teach. I had to pick a random grade and topic and struggle through the discussions about the assignment and the assignment itself. The lack of adequate knowledge that I sometimes have to participate meaningfully is unfortunate, but mostly unavoidable in this situation. Still though, it is never a good feeling to sit in class and have no clue what’s going on, but still be expected to participate the same as others. Teachers should strive to acknowledge and incorporate the differences that exist in background knowledge of students, regardless of age or subject area. In doing so, they can eliminate frustrations and contribute to a far more significant learning experience for their students. I do think that experience can play a big role in creating background knowledge– the students who i felt were ahead of me were only so because they had experience in writing lesson plans that contributed to their knowledge. Experience and background knowledge can combine to create the optimal meaningful experience.

    #293

    Sarah Reich
    Participant

    At the moment I can’t think of a specific experience (without saying exactly what Courtney just said about being a minor in the education department), but class discussions are generally a very good example of this. Without having the background of whatever topic is being discussed, I am unable to fully participate. I think that background knowledge almost serves as like a safety blanket. Background knowledge typically gives me the confidence to speak out, without the fear of misspeaking. It also helps me understand the topic on a deeper level, which should give me more ideas on what to talk about. It gives me the ability to link events or facts together and formulate it into an idea.

    #305

    Jen Newton
    Keymaster

    How do you gain background knowledge on subjects new to you?

    #416

    Anonymous

    I remember once I wanted to participate in track in high school (which I did for a very, very short-lived time). Once I started, I felt behind my teammates because they had all ran track before, some ran indoors/outdoors, and some had been running since they were small children. I felt I lacked the background knowledge/skills to even compete. I didn’t feel like I was an important aspect to the team because of my lack of knowledge.

    #477

    Anonymous

    When I was in Scotland, the school that I was visiting put me into a French class because I was taking French back home. I had just completed French 1 so I still had a very limited vocabulary. When I showed up to class on the first day, the teacher handed me a French novel and told me that we would be reading it together as a class. I had assumed I could get away with just sitting through the class quietly even though I was super uncomfortable and talk to the teacher when the class was over. When she called on me to read aloud, I was very embarrassed to tell her that I only knew maybe 5 of the words on the page. I think that day takes the cake as one of my most embarrassing school moments.

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