1.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy . To me, 1.1 involves how a teacher understands student’s interests and connects those interests to content in a natural and cohesive manner. As Nasir (2008) states, “Offering learners ways to participate that incorporate aspects of themselves. Learners in out-of-school activities sometimes talk about the importance of feeling connected to an activity because it gives them opportunities to be themselves within it.” Students were assigned the prompt during our Romeo & Juliet unit– How does Shakespeare accurately represent the workings of the brain through the characters in Romeo and Juliet? Figure 1.1 is a graphic organizer for students to use during the unit and Figure 1.2 is a portion of the rubric for the assignment .
This prompt was deliberately created to integrate student’s own personal experiences and apply real-world information to better understand the text. Students were assigned two informational texts to support their claim regarding love and the development of the teen brain. This activity was furthered when I asked guided questions to facilitate student’s connection to the prompt. For example, “Is there a time in your life when you were not able to identify the future effect of your actions?”. This deepened student’s connection to the text and assisted in the valuable connection between Romeo and Juliet and a relevant topic in student’s lives – the developing teenage brain . Students were not only required to look at the text through a different lens, but it required students to synthesize information from multiple different texts. The implication for students is that they were able to look at Romeo and Juliet from a different perspective. Romeo and Juliet can be difficult for many students, but being able to analyze the text while applying current research in regards to brain development made the process less daunting for many students. Students were more engaged and interested in the essay than more conventional essays we have previously assigned . Nasir (2008) notes, “In sum, learning in settings outside of school is supported both directly and indirectly. It is supported directly by the provision of access to information and knowledge, along with the tools, strategies, and resources that enable one to learn something one does not already know.” This assignment allowed students to analyze Romeo and Juliet, but it also provided pertinent information into the developing brain, which can influence how students view their own growth. The next step in this process is incorporating individual experiences from each student and how those actions align or contradict with Shakespeare’s portrayal of the teenage brain. This will increase the individuality of the assignment and allow students to directly connect content to their lives. A couple of resources for assisting with this process include State standards and collaboration with fellow colleagues .
Nasir, N. S. (2008). Everyday Pedagogy: Lessons from Basketball, Track, and Dominoes. Phi Delta Kappan, 89, (7), 529-532.