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Mandhir Singh Sambhi

Post-Class Reflection 2 - July 5, 2018

How would you describe your learning experience during each of the demonstrations?
(Please explain with details).

The presentations by both “Gaming Wizards: Masters of Low-Key Learning” and

“Constructors” demonstrated the framework employed by the curriculum culture of

Understanding Construction in very different ways. Where the “Constructors” explicitly

presented a year-long plan for Social Studies 8, the “Gaming Wizards” camouflaged

their learning intentions very cleverly within a game activity. The curriculum culture

resonated a constructionist philosophy that makes the student the agent of meaningful

and relevant learning . Of all the knowledge that can be found around a learner, the

individual can only “learn” the knowledge that is internalized through a personal

experience. I felt that the “Gaming Wizards” reflected this subjective nature of learning

by allowing team members to contribute a fact for each category. Each category was

devised collectively in our groups, but each of us was given the opportunity to perceive

that category in a personal way and provide any fact we felt was relevant to the topic

and interesting to us. Different perceptions and understanding yielded varying

contributions for group members, none of which were considered wrong. Instead, they

catalyzed a greater understanding of scope and application of the category for all team

members. For example, we learned about new books and received validation for others

that another team member also knew of. There were also some suggested facts that

seemed to fit in more than one category, and this disequilibrium was resolved by

discussion with other people. Most of the learning was student-driven, while the

presenters (in the role of educators) facilitated further discussion as they navigated
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throughout the classroom. The gaming aspect of the activity hid the learning very well,

to the extent that I almost forgot about the educational component for a little while. The

“Constructors”, on the other hand, were able to keep my focus on the learning goals for

the entirety of their presentation (albeit some people at my table became so much more

involved in discussion that they disrupted the class). Their demonstration shed light on

some challenges for educators when making curricula (namely, the Humanities

courses), but I felt as disconnected as I was intrigued by the information they shared.

The level of flexibility allowed in these curricula may undoubtedly help students reach

depths of analysis and focus that kindle their interests in one topic or subject, but I

sensed that the subjectivity of results, perceptions, and expectations may become

overwhelming for teachers. Nevertheless, the team’s approach to use peer review and

feedback to optimize their final result was very commendable, as it demonstrated a life-

wide and life-long evolution of knowledge as educators collaborate to achieve the best

outcome for students.

What thoughts do you have about the way each team approached this curriculum

development project? Are there aspects of their project/approach that you particularly

appreciate? Are there aspects of their project/approach that you are curious about (and

have questions about?).

I was skeptical about the “Dream Wizards”’ approach for the game, which I

presumed could not be comprehensive if it was “fun”. But I was gladly proven wrong

when I realized how versatile the game process was. It can be used as an assessment

before learning to evaluate students’ prior knowledge, or it can be used as assessment


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of learning or review of taught material. The most impressive aspect of this approach is

that there is no limit to what extent an individual or a team can take the facts pertaining

to a category, and that the categories can be from any part of a larger theme. The

“Constructors” also demonstrated their understanding of the curricular culture, but I felt

their approach to be somewhat overwhelming. I recognize that the team wanted to

present a preliminary draft that would be improved with colleague input, but I was more

curious to see if any of the group members would have shown a typical final product of

the Socials 8 curriculum. Participants who aren’t familiar with creating curriculum (in

general or for this particular case) could have seen how accurate their interpretation had

been based on the exemplar.

In reflecting back about each team's demonstration, are there ways that you can use
other readings/concepts from this course to analyze it? For example, could you use
Joseph's framework to reflect on the ways that a particular curricular culture was
enacted?

The curricular culture of Constructing Understanding puts the learner at the center of

the learning process. As part of Joseph’s framework of curriculum, this culture pays

close attention to the needs and nature of the learners. Teachers become coaches and

facilitators who supplement student efforts to gain and grow in knowledge. The

educator’s main role becomes to find out and cater to the subject matter that students

would be interested in, what type of learning environment they need, and when planning

the curriculum, how can academic content be connected to experience. Both groups

portrayed these characteristics well, but the “Gaming Wizards’” approach presented it in

a much more appealing way. The “Constructors’” strong point was their ability to

demonstrate a critical analysis of the challenges and dilemmas educators face when
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formulating the curriculum. Even though we may not experience the curriculum as

students, the concerns, questions, and curiosities we expressed during our discussion

of the proposed plan may very well have represented those of legitimate stakeholders --

parents and teachers -- in the education system. So, as a curricular culture, many

aspects of Learner-Centered and Social Reconstruction ideologies overlapped and

intersected to generate the final product of Constructing Understanding. How the

student learns while living and working within a community becomes a social issue, a

topic of importance that requires input from all who can be affected by it. The learner is

the primary focus of this culture, and other criteria of the general framework are

weighed in to support the main objective. Both groups highlighted different aspects of

Joseph’s framework on the curricular culture of Constructing Understanding. Rather

than compete, “Gaming Wizards” and “Constructors” complemented each other, by

which the class benefited from a more holistic representation of the curricular culture.