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					                                            Foster Active Learning Strategies   1


Running Head: ACTIVE LEARNING JROTC




                        Active Learning JROTC

                             Submitted by

                         William W. Foster, Jr.

                  Current Educational Trends EDUC501




                         Southwestern College

                              May 2010
                                                    Foster Active Learning Strategies      2


                                         Abstract

This paper is a documented reflection of the active learning strategies implemented in

JROTC learned during the Southwestern College course in Current Educational Trends.

As a new instructor in a High School setting I had many pre-conceived notions of what

teaching was about, this class has taught me many new strategies to implement every

single day that can directly influence the level of motivation displayed by my students.
                                                       Foster Active Learning Strategies    3


                                 Active Learning in JROTC

       As a brand new instructor in a high school setting, this year has been an

experience in development and learning, an opportunity for personal growth as well as

the chance to influence others to want to be their best. I have utilized my education and

training in attempts to influence my peers and administration, but most importantly to

have a positive impact on my students. Throughout this course I have learned some

tremendous tools to use in my daily quest to become the teacher I want to become, the

teacher that inspires the best in every life they touch.

       Ciaccio (2004) states that “by helping students, you will enrich your personal life.

You will leave the education profession a far better person that you were when you

started your career, because personal growth is the hallmark of a successful life” (p. 168).

Personal growth is what I have attained during the course of Current Educational Trends,

it has sparked a passion within me to continue to grow and learn about different

techniques, tools and strategies that are available to me on a daily basis. My goal over

the last six weeks has been to absorb as many new strategies as I could, implement them

in class and make a difference in the level of motivation of my students.

       Throughout this course I have learned many strategies and implemented many

strategies with the common goal of increasing student motivation and readiness to learn.

I have discovered that there is more to the student/teacher relationship than just

lecture/learn, that by increasing my level of engagement and investing some feeling,

passion and compassion, I could engender the same in the students and increase their

level of achievement. My plan was and will continue to be helping students achieve their

full potential through active engagement.
                                                      Foster Active Learning Strategies        4


                                  Strategies Implemented

        At the beginning of the course I conducted an inquiry of active learning self

evaluation. One of the noticeable outcomes of the self evaluation is that I tend to give

more negative feedback than positive to lower performing students. I also evaluated my

student’s ability to engage in active and constructive learning utilizing the DESCA scale

as provided in Inspiring Active Learning authored by Harmin and Toth (2006). The

DESCA scale measures students’ level of dignity, energy, self-management, community

and awareness as it applies to their overall levels displayed in class. What I discovered is

that my perception of the students trended low in self-management and awareness, both

of which are critical components of our JROTC philosophy.

        In JROTC our main focus is to develop citizens of character, our mantra is to

develop the whole person and not just the student in our class. We focus on everything

the students do and their success as people rather than whether they pass our tests and

learn the information we are teaching. The DESCA scale also revealed that our students

were on the lower end of the scale in all five areas, my goal in this course, after the self

evaluation was to target all five of these areas and increase the student’s ability to engage

in active learning.

        The first week that I started implementing some of the active learning strategies

my results were surprising. I decided to use an approach that targeted all five of the

measurements because I wanted to test for myself whether these strategies would actually

have an impact in helping the students become successful. Following is the five day

strategy I implemented:

 Date        Targeting    Adjusting                Balancing            Supporting

 4/12/2010   Dignity      Strategy 16-3            Six deep breaths     Meet with
                                                       Foster Active Learning Strategies     5

                         Question, All Write                           co-workers for lunch
4/12/2010   Energy       Strategy 8-6 Special      Walk around the     open up discuss
                         Energizing Activities     Class               a positive event
4/12/2010   Self-Mgmt    Strategy 4-1 Truth        Peaceful thoughts   email other teachers
                         Signs                                         for ideas on simple issues
4/13/2010   Community    Strategy 5-3 Ask          Say no              meet with co
                         a Friend                                      workers for lunch
4/13/2010   Awareness    Action 4-3 Risk           Six deep breaths    open up discuss
                         Language                                      a positive event
4/13/2010   Dignity      Strategy 5-9 Dignifying   Readjust tone       email other teachers
                         Acts                                          for ideas on simple issues
                                                   Evaluate non-
4/14/2010   Energy       Strategy 3-3 Quick        verbal              meet with co
                         Pace                      cues                workers for lunch
4/14/2010   Self-Mgmt    Strategy 5-4 Once         Discuss feelings    open up discuss
                         Principle                 of frustration      a positive event
                                                                       e-mail other
4/14/2010   Community    Strategy 15-5 I Start     Open up to          teachers
                         You Finish                co-teacher          for ideas on simple issues
                         Strategy 9-7 Brain
4/15/2010   Awareness    Drain                     write about what    meet with co
                                                   just upset me       workers for lunch
4/15/2010   Dignity      Strategy 5-6 Class        time out            open up discuss
                         Leaders                                       a positive event
4/15/2010   Energy       Strategy 3-3 Quick        Manage tone         email other teachers
                         Pace                                          for ideas on simple issues
4/16/2010   Self-Mgmt    Strategy 8-3 Authority    Written             meet with co
                         Statement                 affirmation         workers for lunch
4/16/2010   Community    Strategy 17-8 Boss/       Revisit Positive    open up discuss
                         Secretary                 feedback            a positive event
                                                                       e-mail other
4/16/2010   Awareness    Strategy 19-7 Creating    six deep breaths    teachers
                         Groupings                                     for ideas on simple issues



       It was amazing seeing the response to something different I did, I have often

heard that if you keep doing what you are doing then you will keep getting what you are

getting. So, if I want to effect a change on my students then it is up to me to change what

I am doing to elicit a different response from them.

       This was a fun chance for me to learn some new ways of handling old situations,

not coming from and educational background I was lacking in many basic strategies for

shifting the feel of my class. I was shocked at the quick pace responses as well as the

brain drain; they were fun, energetic and really got all the kids excited and engaged. But,
                                                     Foster Active Learning Strategies     6


I think the ones that had the most impact on me were the different balancing strategies

that I forced myself to use, I stopped myself in midstride and was able to refocus negative

thoughts and act appropriately to keep things positive.

       In the second week of implementing active learning strategies I noticed quite a bit

of difference in my classes. The level of energy was higher and by the end of the week

the feeling of team cohesiveness seemed to improve. The strategies I chose for this week

were a little narrower in focus and were all an attempt to improve energy, community and

awareness, to make the students feel more in control of their education and to help them

feel increased levels of knowledge, following is a list of the strategies I implemented:

       Strategy 27-3 Promoting Kindness to promote positive peer relationships

       Strategy 12-3 Make a Prediction to motivate student interest in a topic and to
       exercise students’ ability to think ahead

       Strategy 5-3 Ask a Fiend to have students get their questions answered efficiently
       and to nurture a classroom feeling of mutual support

       Strategy 4-6 Confidence Builders to provide reassurance for students who are
       anxious about learning.

       Strategy 29-3 Healthy Response to Misbehavior to maintain personal balance
       when facing misbehaving students.

       Strategy 26-1 Common Sense Comments to encourage students to make full use
       of their common sense.

       Strategy 24-1 Concept-Generalization Focus to bring learning’s up to the level of
       concepts and generalizations.

       Strategy 20-11 Caring Attention Without Praise to support and encourage students
       without making them dependent on others’ approval.

       Strategy 19-9 Brainstorming to ask students to exercise creative thinking skills in
       a content area.

       Strategy 11-2 Choral Work to get students to memorize material effortlessly and
       heighten class energy.
                                                     Foster Active Learning Strategies       7



       Strategy 6-1 Do Now to engage students productively as soon as they enter the
       room.

       Strategy 5-4 Once Principle to teach students both to listen and to live self-
       responsibly

       Strategy 17-2 Mini-task to engage students in review tasks likely to be personally
       satisfying.

       Strategy 17-17 Task Group, Share Group to maintain high involvement during
       group work.

       Strategy 12-4 Challenge Opener to motivate student interest in a reading or
       presentation.

        I believe this week was impactful, when the written assignments were turned in

on Friday with a focus on what they learned for the week, most of the responses were

centered on team work and what it means to be a part of a team. This is vital for JRTOC,

a feeling of team cohesiveness is imperative for developing citizens of character because

people need to feel connected and to feel as if they can make a difference in the lives of

others. If the students don’t understand what it means to be a part of a team then they

will not understand why they need to put forth any effort in changing lives of those

around them.

       The third week of implementing active learned strategies was even narrower in

scope than any of the other weeks; I chose to focus on self-management. Following is the

five day plan I implemented:


   DATE       TARGETING            ADJUSTING          BALANCING          SUPPORTING
           Self                 Strategy 26-3                         Asked other
 4/26/2010 Management           Self               Readjust tone      teachers
                                Management                            about their
                                Goals                                 balancing
           Self                 Strategy 26-1      Walk around the    open up and
 4/26/2010 Management           Common                  class         discuss
                                               Foster Active Learning Strategies     8


                         Sense Comments                         a positive event
          Self           Strategy 28-4
4/26/2010 Management     Whole               say no             email other ROTC
                         Self Lesson                            teachers for ideas
          Self                                                  joined discussion
4/27/2010 Management     Strategy 27-1       readjust tone      board
                                                                for ROTC
                         Validations                            teachers
            Self         Strategy 27-6                          meet with
4/27/2010   Management   Sensible            six deep breaths   coworkers
                         Risk Taking                            for lunch
          Self           Strategy 28-4       peaceful           joined counselors
4/27/2010 Management     Whole               thoughts           for
                                                                break discussed
                         Self Lesson                            kids
            Self                             evaluate non       actively engaged
4/28/2010   Management   Strategy 28-2       verbal’s           in
                                                                ROTC discussion
                         Personalized Challenges                board
          Self                               open op to co-     discussed simple
4/28/2010 Management     Strategy 28-3       teacher            ideas
                                                                with other
                         Gratitude Journal                      teachers
            Self         Strategy 28-4                          Meet with
4/28/2010   Management   Whole               writing about      coworkers
                         Self Lesson         disappointment     for lunch
          Self           Strategy 28-1                          discussed
4/29/2010 Management     Strength            readjust tone      positives
                         Building
                         Challenges                             with co-worker
          Self           Strategy 26-4                          actively engaged
4/29/2010 Management     Rights              six deep breaths   in
                                                                ROTC discussion
                         Responsibilities Rewards               board
          Self           Strategy 28-4       evaluate non       discussed simple
4/29/2010 Management     Whole               verbal’s           ideas
                                                                with other
                         Self Lesson                            teachers
          Self           Strategy 28-5       written            discussed positive
4/30/2010 Management     Choose              affirmation        impact
                                                                with other
                         Be, Review                             teachers
            Self         Strategy 28-6                          meet with
4/30/2010   Management   Goodness            six deep breaths   coworkers
                         Log                                    for lunch
          Self           Strategy 28-4                          actively engaged
4/30/2010 Management     Whole               say no             in
                                                                ROTC discussion
                         Self Lesson                            board
                                                       Foster Active Learning Strategies      9


       One of the things I have discovered during the course of this session is that most

of the conflict that occurs between me and the students surrounds the students not

meeting expectations, not only in my class but in their other classes as well. With the end

of the school year coming up, I have taken my normal steps to review each student’s

grades in their other classes to see how well they are on track to complete the year with

great grades. I have set up the peer mentoring/tutoring program and have gotten some

great feedback and feel like we are making a very positive impact, but grades are slipping

as the end of the year approaches and kids are losing drive.

       Self Management is about being responsible for meeting expectations, controlling

impulses, finishing tasks, thinking though problems, possibilities and consequences and

looking ahead. Right now these things are very important because if the kids don’t

understand the impact that failing one class will have on next year then they will be in for

quite a shock next year. I want to help alleviate some of the conflict they encounter all

day by not being prepared, not meeting expectations and not managing their time

effectively. I really felt this will help with their self-confidence so every single strategy I

implemented this week was focused on self management.

       In all, during the course of Current Educational Trends I have learned many tools

and techniques to help my students become active learners, to engage them in ways that

will help them grow and develop into the people they truly want to become. In a self

evaluation utilizing the DESCA scale at the end of this course I can see that in a few short

weeks I have made a difference, the students have all gone up at least a level but more

importantly I feel as if my classically low achievers have become more engaged, more

responsible for their own learning and interested in becoming high achievers.
                                                    Foster Active Learning Strategies      10


       What a great thing to be a part of, now I know that I can make a difference I will

continue to utilize the active learning strategies I have learned. I can only imagine what a

difference I will make next year when I have the opportunity to use these strategies on a

continuous basis. I am looking forward to it. Maybe that is part of why this class is so

important, making a difference to the students comes with making a difference in my

own life and being passionate about teaching.
                                                  Foster Active Learning Strategies   11


                                     References

Ciaccio, J. (2004) Totally Positive Teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Harmin, M., Toth, M. (2006) Inspiring Active Learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

				
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