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Journal 5: Creating "Blueprints" for Learning

Siobhan Hickey's picture

As I looked around this classroom, I began to become aware of how intentional classroom decoration can be. One thing that popped out to me in particular was a list of classroom rules. One bullet point stated something like, “Keep comments relevant (germane) to class discussion.” I was really struck by this careful insertion of a new vocabulary word into the classroom environment... This reminded me of Rose's discussions in Lives on the Boundary of how certain people in his life helped his learning process by giving him reference points, like Dr. Carothers, who “drew... a giant conceptual blueprint onto which we could place other courses, other books,” (52). Moments like this in Rose's book really struck me; I had never before thought about how important it is to come into an educational setting with a “blueprint” or sorts for understanding how to place and order other information...There is something more satisfying, engaging, and permanent about learning when you know where and how to place new information. The use of those vocabulary words side by side on the list of classroom rules helps to map new words onto knowledge already acquired. So, my experience in the classroom this week has led me to realize what an important tool the physical classroom environment can be for, even subconsciously, creating awareness of certain concepts or bodies of work that may help students later on to open up more easily to new information.