This semester, along with my doctoral course work, I have been working on my internship. I am doing a college teaching internship for few reasons. First I should back-up and tell you more about how my program does internships. There are three choices. First, if your goal is to be a Curriculum Supervisor for a school district, there is a specific internship you have to do. I’m not interested in becoming an Administrator. Actually, there is one administrator position I would be interested in (Reading/Literacy Coordinator) and I’m thinking I would not have to go through getting my Supervisory Papers. Internship option #2 is a Community Service project. This internship is designed for those who are already teaching in Higher Education and are not interested in becoming a Curriculum Supervisor. Internship choice #3 is the College Teaching internship. I am interested in possibly teaching in a college/university setting (one of the reasons I’m in the program to be with) so this internship makes the most sense. The class I choose was an issues and trends in literacy masters level class. I teach a lesson about once every 3 classes and I also attend most classes. I have really enjoyed this opportunity and it has actually given me my idea for my dissertation (but that’s a post for a different time).
Back to the original story. One of the last class sessions the students were talking about what they were doing or planning on doing for their big final project–a theory into practice project. In small groups, the students discussed what their idea were and shared any data they had collected. After listening to some of the conversations the professor and I noticed that some students were not talking about who they were basing their theory into practice on. When we came back together for a general question and answer period the professor first had to fix the misconception that some students had and stress that they were to take a theory/strategy we discussed in class, try it with their students, document, and write how it went. Once we got that cleared up, we were able to answer some general group questions.
After most questions were answered a student, who hadn’t started her project yet, wanted to bounce the idea off the professor and I. Her idea was to look at using an iPad app with struggling readers to increase their fluency. While trying to work out what she really wanted to look at (reading fluency) and how she was going to use the iPad (for repeated reading practice) I totally surprised myself when I said “A framework you might want to look into is the TPACK model”. Then I had to stop a moment and just be in awe of myself for mentioning the TPACK model outside of my Tech in Education class. In this student’s case, it was very fitting. She understands her content (reading fluency is important to becoming a proficient reader), her pedagogy (repeated readings), and the tech piece (iPad app) and this framework would help her see how each of those three pieces fit together to make a stronger learning experience. I think towards the end of our conversation she was starting to make sense of it all but had a lot going on in her head as the Professor and I were both trying to help her have a stronger study. I am excited to see her results and see if the students who used the app did have an increase in their words read/minute. I will let you know.
The moral of the story, at first when something is introduced to you and you can’t wrap your brain around it, give it a few months and maybe an authentic purpose will come around and then you might surprise yourself at just how much you know. The piece to remember is the authentic opportunity!