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Transparency

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To frame today's activities and as a review of key points thus far, I'd like to talk about transparency.  I want to share with you why I do what I do and why I use the structures set up in this institute.  And I want to talk about transparency at three levels of scale, the overarching goals of the institute, the use of transparency as a way to give students a choice and hence agency, and I'd like to link it to today’s topic of metacognition.

At a global level I want to be clear about my overall goals for this institute.  I am committed to the notion that education empowers people.  This has led me to many different teaching styles in an attempt to reach students.  For this institute, my hope is to explore with you the use and efficacy of Inquiry Instruction and its connection, overlap and differences to the wide array of teaching modalities.  This is why I am layering in the activity called "the topic of the day".  My hope is that it will situate inquiry in a larger context and in the process of comparing and relating it to other types of instruction give us a better understanding of what we mean by Inquiry Instruction.

At the level of the student, I think transparency gives the student a choice about engaging by making clear the "game" that is being played.  When I invite students to try "X" because I have a hunch that it will help us better understand "Y", then students can choose to engage.  When a choice is explicit in the teaching model, a personal commitment is required.  This gives them a stake in the activity and a point of reference that is bigger than just the content of the activity.

At the level of today's activity, transparency can be thought of as modeling for students metacognition of self awareness.  If I verbalize important thoughts, reflections and assumptions throughout a lesson at key moments in the lesson then I am modeling for students self awareness.  Not all transparency in instruction is metacognitive in nature, but I purpose that clarifying what one is thinking, doing and questioning during the process of inquiry can serve as an example for students to follow.

Finally, let me be clear about our next step.  I have invited Alison here today to lead us through a concrete example of a lesson that models self awareness.  And as a way to begin thinking about self awareness in the classroom I want to start with you and what you know about metacognition.

 

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