Rhizomatic Learning _Can it be used in New York high schools

I am in training to become an Earth Science teacher in high school. I enjoyed the Geology courses I did at college and I hope that I can transfer my enthusiasm for the subject to my students. The education courses I did regarding teaching methods, psychology, philosophy etc. were informative and sometimes interesting but  I was really impressed in the literacy course I did last semester. Dr. Joseph Tillman, who taught the course, brought an entirely new perspective to teaching. His classes were lively, and well- planned. He tried at all times to incorporate the use of computers in his lessons and his assignments were all computer related. I am writing this because I would like to use some of his ideas and style of teaching  in my teaching this spring semester. My teaching would involve both traditional and current methods of instruction. I like the saying from Dr. Tillman that” you cannot teach 21st century kids using 20th century methods”. I think my teaching would involve constant adaptation to changing situations using as much of the current technology that is available to my students.

In response to the questions at the end of the activity in the blog about rhizomatic learning,

1.Does it mesh with what I’ve described here? 2.Are there goals that you want to accomplish that would not be served by a rhizomatic approach? 3.Is there a way to change what you are doing to make it more rhizomatic? 4.What impact would that have? Good? Bad?

  1. I expect that my teaching will mesh to some extent with the rhizomatic idea since the ideas I present in class will stimulate student to find out more and explore new and related topics. The idea that learning should be a collaborative approach is not new and Dave Cormier is expressing an original idea here (PAULO FRIERE, VYGOTZSKY). These ideas are currently employed by teachers in New York City Schools.
  2. There must be some structure to guide students because there is always the threat of standardized testing and if students are allowed to “wander off” exploring ideas that interest them, then they may be preoccupied with important research which has only a slight bearing to the content that must be covered for these exams.
  3. There are ways to make teaching rhizomatic and they involve using a lot of questioning and the Socratic approach where one answer leads to another and involved inquiry.
  4. I feel that these changes can have a beneficial impact but as I stated before, I will have to always keep in mind the syllabus that is set for the Earth Science Regents exam to keep my students on track.

11 thoughts on “Rhizomatic Learning _Can it be used in New York high schools

  1. I agree with you that Prof. Tillman is one of the professors who made us to think different. Good luck with your teaching Earth science.

  2. I also heard Tillman is a great prof. I wish you the best. With science its very easy to teach and it is also very interesting to teach. But it also matters how one teaches to make the subject so much more fun!

  3. I love Earth Science. I like how you would bring technology into the classroom, I’m also going to do that. Technology enhances lessons, which is a plus!

  4. I’m going to be a Biology teacher. I think it’s great you will be bringing technology into the classroom environment. I think when teaching any science subject there are so many pictures that students need to see visually and understand. Good Luck!

  5. This is true one of the things i love from York is the Science department, they have great professors who truly love what they do. Being passionate about teaching also helps you be an amazing teacher, and technology is going to be very influential for our future generations so i think it would be a great thing for you to positively use technology in your classroom.

  6. Hey there… is the activity you’re referring to posted somewhere?

    I agree with you that rhizomatic learning contrasts heavily with high stakes testing. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is about embracing uncertainty in a changing world. High stakes testing is about certainty. My question is, as always, why are we teaching our students. Is our primary focus about encouraging them to conform to our existing beliefs and understandings or is it about giving them to tools to adapt and challenge.

    I completely understand why some groups might want an educational system that is primarily about conformity. It’s just not he one that i want.

    • Hello, great to have you reply as this is part of our AC230 class. Your ideas are very helpful and progressive .My views on education for conformity is that there should be a concerted effort to break out of this restrictive setting (as most of the TED lecturers are clamoring for). I think it starts with one teacher in his/her classroom who insists on encouraging creativity and rewarding it.Shifting the emphasis from memorization to go further up Blooms taxonomy is a must but using our students as resources is also something that is overlooked.Student driven lessons will always be more interesting , at least to the students.

      • The trick, of course, is to try and make sure that the ‘student driven’ part works for everyone. it’s very easy to lose track of where you are, and where the students are… and while that’s not always a bad thing… you do need to put in checks and balances that replace the hierarchies that you are removing.

        • I came across a blog,
          link below
          http://education.nyas.org/blog/recent/inquiry-files/
          in which a NY science teacher seems to have meshed the two ideas i.e.rhizomatic learning and state curriculum guidelines. Students surely experience much more freedom in this type of classroom but the checks and balances are in place to keep students within acceptable limits.Which brings us to the question of “how much freedom should students be allowed ?”. My idea was encouraging creativity in a stress-free environment with the teacher aware of the direction the class is headed, much like our AC230!! Checks and balances is a good idea and necessary but the connotation somehow does not seem to fit with rhizomatic learning.

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