Getting Creative, Co-learning and Cultural Consciousness

During my teaching last year in Taiwan I wanted to learn from my student as much as they learned from me. I spent time in and outside of class learning from my students, inquiring further on topics, getting their rationale behind an answer and seeking understanding behind cultural differences. Despite the large change of location, my inquisitive nature that roots my teaching remains. I didn’t know how to best articulate this teaching style until the end of the summer semester when Dr. Hetherington of the University of Portland School of Education described me as a co-learner. By including myself in the learning I am perceived as more accessible to my students and it enhances their communication skills, cultural awareness and critical thinking. I want to see my student’s greatest work and greatest potential and I believe that comes from allowing them to be creative, introducing and celebrating culture and fostering the knowledge in all through co-learning.

Project Showcase
One standout example of a lesson I planned that encourages students to be creative and culturally conscious involves them doing a deep dive into the lyrics and instrumentation of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? I ask them to take the drivers seat in interpreting the music and comparing the subject matter to modern America.

Continuing with a lesson that works at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy by asking my students to produce work, this primary source activity studies modern Asian culture through a democracy movement. The activity consists of students reading primary sources and then asks them about the symbolism, to question the source and to make speech bubbles for the visual sources.

This third assignment was developed as a final portfolio piece: it is a very interactive, creative lesson concocted to aid my students in future economics decision-making. Students are run through a gauntlet of Google My Maps, Adobe Spark and Google Forms and placed in the shoes of someone who is a year out of college and looking for a place to live, a job and transportation. They are faced with the economics decisions behind these choices and real-life situations they may soon experience.

I have great drive and focus when it comes to planning creative pedagogy. I want to continue to work on this strength and continue using co-learning in my teaching experience.

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