Over the past four weeks (Phase One) during the afternoon sessions we have explored the Korean education system—from its history to current curriculum to classroom culture to teaching methods, the more influential methodologies and findings from second language acquisition that inform child-centered learning, and critical thinking skills. We explored these areas with various tasks using readings, discussions, panels and experiential learning activities. Most tasks were accomplished with group work. Often the groups created posters of their exploration and learning.
My goals during the these sessions were to provide materials that would prompt discussion between the Participants that would lead to learning new knowledge, arouse curiosity about their teaching practices and context, help them to notice their beliefs about learning and teaching and start to be able to articulate them, and to introduce them to critical thinking skills, reflective practice and the experiential learning cycle.
Tuesday was the last day of Phase One of our six month Program. For one of the closing activities I asked the Participants to take all of the posters that they had created during the course of the four weeks and put them up on the walls of the room in chronological order.
Once they were in order, I asked them to form groups of four or five and go around to each section of posters, read them, and do the following: 1. reconstruct the activity as best they could, and 2. discuss a) what they learned from that activity about teaching, b) what they learned from that activity about learning, and c) what they learned about themselves. They spent about 50 minutes walking through their Gallery.
I stood in the middle of the room, silently observing. This is part of my assessment of their learning and my teaching. And while I am listening for discussion of content covered, I am also listening to their process. Did the content and process of the learnings, as I set them up, have any affect? Can they state their opinion? Can they say why they believe what they do? Can they relate the content to their teaching practice, to their context? Does the material engage them? How do they feel about themselves after this four weeks? Are they ready for the next Phase?
They seem truly pleased to “see” what they have learned. By what they say, I think they are impressed with themselves. I also hear that the process of learning is still in progress. They are not sure about some things, they are still questioning, still speculating, still trying on ideas. This is good. And while I wanted more in terms of depth of conversation, I know that I am greedy for their learning, I remember that it is their learning, not mine. My learning is different and separate, yet intertwined.
So much in a Gallery Walk.