You know how sometimes, something presents itself to you, and you think, “Wow! This is exactly what I was looking for!” or “This matches up exactly with what I think!”
This program has done that for me. The COVA approach puts into words the ideas I’ve always had about how people learn. My thoughts were never clear or coherent, but after reading about and participating in a program that truly matches my learning philosophy, I feel that my ideas have come together, been affirmed, and with practice, will be something that I know how to advocate for.
I also believe in the CSLE ideas. They go hand-in-hand with COVA. Together they fit with the constructivist approach to learning. An environment where students are guided and encouraged to own their learning allows them to construct meaning and deep understanding.
It’s hard to say when I realized that I had choice and voice in this program. I guess it was around the third class, when I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough information to do my assignments. Professors told us to keep going, to keep working, to do what we felt was best. I didn’t like that at first. I wanted specific, clear expectations. As I completed one assignment and then another, I began to realize that it was possible. I had what it took to choose the direction of my learning.
I remembered back to the time when I was trying to decide what master’s program I wanted to begin. As I read all of the choices, the DLL program really stood out to me because of its differences from others I had seen. I wanted something that would challenge me, that I could learn from, and was not just ‘doing school’ for the sake of doing school. This program definitely did that! Instead of reading textbooks, taking tests, and writing papers to appease a professor, I read relevant books and articles, discussed ideas with my peers, wrote some papers as part of the research for my innovation project, and created an eportfolio. I enjoyed reading what others were working on and how they were able to apply the same ideas and concepts to their own jobs and innovation plans.
My goal is to ‘spread’ the COVA approach to the teachers that I work with. As an elementary instructional coach, I feel that I might have more opportunities for this than some others in the course. Guiding teachers to implement new ideas is basically what I do for a living! However, it is such a far stretch from what most teachers at my school are currently doing, that it won’t be that easy. Teachers have so much going on in their classrooms, and I have to be careful to approach this gently and slowly to encourage them to take small steps toward implementation. I have one team of teachers that is really interested in starting something along these lines, so I will begin working with them. Hopefully we will find some small changes that will have strong enough effects that other teachers won’t be able to say no!