I have a solid Professional Learning Network (PLN) both online – through Twitter where I am connected to educators globally who share my passions, as well as those who have different perspectives but who are interested in a civil exchange of ideas and growth – and in person – at my place of employment and professional conference associations. Identifying new opportunities to grow my professional practice was an exciting assignment.
Where to start? That was the key question. Should I look for a community relating to curriculum design and development? Or for one related to my primary teaching subjects?
In the end, I decided to follow up with an organization I have been interested in for a number of years: the College Association for Language and Literacy (CALL). I attended my first CALL conference late last semester, and feel this group which focuses on literacy and language throughout the Ontario community college system is a good fit for me professionally.
Contributing to CALL is most likely through email and articles. I’d like to find opportunities to collaborate with other communications professors about the curriculum designs that work best with our current students and how to engage them in ways that foster learning and mastery. I am currently redesigning my own courses to reflect what I see in terms of student ability and engagement coming into the college, and taking into account pedagogical and heutagogical approaches to learning as well as what I have taken away from this course.
I have been in contact with a number of educators teaching communications at Ontario colleges to see what approaches to curriculum they are taking. Its a definite mix. Many still come to the classroom with a philosophical focus on Perennialism or Essentialism, especially in foundational classes, but more and more of my colleagues are mixing concepts of humanism and social constructivism into their chosen philosophy, suggesting that there is more fluidity than not in our approaches to teaching in the college sector.
My next steps are to analyze where I might contribute to the ongoing dialogue on curriculum through this association.