The following are some comments provided to students on the points and issues of the assignment. The assignment was graded out of 4. About half received a 3/4 and the other half 4/4.
851 assignment 1 feedback
Context of assignment:
You have elaborated on a challenging question that includes cultural issues and a specific curriculum. Very interesting! I wonder if there is a bit of confusion over the actual issues here. On the one hand, you mention that as a biology teacher, you feel it is your responsibility to teach students how their bodies work. While I agree, that in itself is a personal or cultural issue and some may feel, for example, that they are too young, or that this is the responsibility of someone else.
On the other hand, the main issue you discuss is _____________. These issues might not be specifically Biology, but perhaps cross over into other subjects. Where do you as a teacher delineate between your specifics responsibilities and the larger curriculum?
Your discussion of getting the students to see each other as individuals and to appreciate the struggles that individuals face is a great way to show the similarities between people. I wonder how you get them to understand the differences as well? I would not want to gloss the differences in favour of the similarities. In terms of Cushner, this would perhaps not really help students adapt as much as they might. The differences will remain and that is part of the adaptation.
I did appreciate your comments on receiving new faculty into the school. However, I would like to read about some more detailed efforts to work with the homogenous body of students. Also, can you reference one of the readings into your work? How would Cushner’s IDI be measured with students in your school?
I think your approach is quite interesting. Have you tried using texts from other western countries as well? How would issues differ between Canada and the US for example? The US and the UK?
I would also be interested to know how the students respond. Do they seem to grasp the complexities? I understand this was a very short assignment, but for next time, a bit more focus on some of these questions would be great.
I appreciate your reference to diversity as individuals, and not being limited to culture. You are correct to assert that culture is merely the most obvious element of diversity.
I appreciate your references to differentiation as well, as a teaching strategy to support diversity and to help students to explore their own understanding of a topic and then have the ability to share that new understanding with their diverse classmates.
I wonder how well your students would rate on the IDI from Cushner’s article? Can you give that some thought? I would also like to see a sentence or two about how you might blend the eastern need for summative assessments with the western desire to talk and interact in groups. There would be some interesting ways of offering the students a progress check on their development that might suffice for a summative assessment. This would then have a good blend of formative feedback as well.
I think you have touched on a couple of very interesting points. Cushner’s point that students think the world is getting worse while their own personal issues are fine indicates that students do not make connections between their own actions and the world. There is a disconnect there. What do you think?
I think your use of the _________ issue is a great focal point for your writing. Well done! I also liked your references to Cushner. You have referenced the article very well and pulled out the most salient issues.
It is clear and you have articulated a solid argument and understanding of Cushner’s article. You note that some issues are not good or bad, just different. This is interesting because it highlights the notion of evaluation versus assessment. We can assess something by noting the elements of the situation. We then assign a value to it once we have the facts. So, in the context of your example on plagiarism, the notion of plagiarism is generally considered to be bad. How do you reconcile this with the notion of being different?
I would ask that you focus on your writing. You have a very conversational style which makes for a more lengthy and wordy text.
Also, try to be a bit less conversational and more concise. This is very much an issue of academic style, which may be western based, but very international nevertheless.
Also, while you included several articles in your references, you did not actually mention them in your text. You will need to refer to them specifically in the body of the text in order to include them in your references.
You should try to reference one or two readings in your work to give you some focus and provide the reader (me) with a context for your writing. This will be much more important in longer pieces of writing.
This is a compelling piece. Very interesting. Your discussion of gender is very timely and I think that gender within culture often gets overlooked and women’s issues are often lost in the larger mix of cultural discussion. For example, that women in Saudi Arabia can now drive is only one small issue in a much larger gender gap in that country.
The other point is that you talk about being more inclusive although you do not use that term. I strongly encourage you to look up the concept of inclusion with regards to technology and in particular, special needs.
You clearly have given a lot of thought to multiculturalism in your career and you have given a clear, concise and highly articulate accounting of your school, environment and the efforts being made within to explore cultural differences and diversity.