Comparison to NETS-T
Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
I believe I do a fairly good job of “engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital media and tools” (NETS-T 1b). For example, most of my international ELLs are majoring in international trade. Therefore, I have my business English students do a business plan proposal and presentation. In small groups, students use the Internet to research opportunities and possibilities for starting their own business. They also have to create a business plan indicating their product or service, cost structure, and projected profits or losses for the first, second, third, and fifth years, among other things. They then organize this information into a PowerPoint presentation and present their proposals to the class. Students then vote for the proposal that is the most realistic and plausible and has the best chance of success. Many aspects of this multi-faceted assignment deal with real-world issues and authentic problems and use digital tools and resources to address them. I am, however, relatively weak on NETS-T 1c, promoting student reflection.
Standard 2: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
I believe the business plan example discussed above is also decent example of a “Digital-Age Learning Experience” that “adapt[s] relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity” (NETS-T 2a). Students learn to do Internet research and use common office productivity software while acquiring and learning to communicate in business English. During the term, students also have to send me several business-related emails such as asking for more information, placing an order, checking an order’s status, complaining as a customer, and handling complaints from customers. We do similar topics as phone calls as well. These sorts of activities provide me with formative and summative assessment data (NETS-T 2d). Lawton (2014) says that 21st century assessments must move beyond simple right and wrong answers. PowerPoints, presentations, emails, and phone calls go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.
Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
I do very little with digital communication or collaboration with students or colleagues beyond email and WeChat (a Chinese real-time messaging and social media app similar to WhatsApp). There are three primary reasons for this: culture, government restrictions, and my own ignorance. Culturally, everyone in China uses WeChat for both personal and professional communications. I, however, find it inadequate for professional or academic correspondence or collaboration. WeChat is so pervasive, in fact, that while most Chinese have email accounts, they rarely use them or even check them. It is common for me to send an email then use WeChat to inform the recipient that an email has been sent. China’s “Great Firewall” (i.e. government restriction) is another barrier. The Chinese government blocks many Western websites and web-based services such Google (including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Classroom, Google Translate, Google Scholar, and YouTube, etc.), Twitter, and Facebook. VPNs to get around such blocks are available, but they are often expensive, unreliable, and the government does its best to ban and block them as well. Finally, my own ignorance is a barrier. I simply have not taken the time to research and explore the options that may be available to me in China. Part of the reason is time, part of it is complacency. I simply have not had the motivation to investigate.
Standard 4: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
This standard is also quite difficult to meet in my current environment. China has a reputation for weak protection of intellectual property (IP) rights. While China’s written IP laws are comparable to those of more developed nations, they were written only relatively recently, the courts have little experience with IP cases, and enforcement is inconsistent (Ang, Yingmei,
Teacher Misconduct Cases
Where do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior for a teacher? District policies on conduct have been notoriously vague so as to give the district the necessary leeway to judge a broad range of potential behaviors that may fall under the umbrella of misconduct. Unfortunately, what we find with this is that line is so undefined that good teachers may believe they are conducting themselves appropriately only to find that their private conduct off school grounds can land them in hot water and cause them to lose their jobs or teaching licenses. To further complicate matters, school districts may have different definitions of moral behavior based on the personal experiences of those who are applying the law. I will illustrate in my paper how society has changed over the years about what it views as immoral and what it views as acceptable. Some of the conduct that I will be discussing in my research paper will cover activities that, had the teachers carried them out in a different time, would not have been regarded as breaches of moral code and that the attitudes toward their behavior are purely the result of social constructs that are subject to change as society changes.
What constitutes as “bad behavior” may, in certain, cases may be colored by the perceptions of society. What we considered appropriate in the past, such as whipping the hands of small children with a ruler in the classroom, would be regarded as abuse today, and the teacher could possibly be brought up on criminal charges for such an offense. Dan Coleman writes in his article, Rules for Teachers in 1872