Creative Teaching: Designing Creative and Culturally Relevant Instruction
EDU 693: Creativity, Culture, and Global Contexts in Education Decision Making
In many prekindergarten classrooms, you will see centers are areas that are set up according to a particular curriculum or standard that the school follows. With the use of learning centers, many students learn to explore as well as learn through a hands-on learning approach (Childcare, 2019). Students are more inclined to visit centers that are appealing to them. Prekindergarten classrooms are so important when giving students a foundation of learning, reading is a foundation that they will need to continue their learning. With this being said, I would introduce a creative way to encourage students to explore in the library center.
Audience and Rationale
My class target for this remodel of the library will be geared toward prekindergarten classrooms. The majority of the classrooms have at least 20 students in each class and are made up of boys and girls with mixed cultural backgrounds in rural areas. My target location is to start at my school and then to expand to other PreK centers to encourage them to help their students have fun while learning in their library centers. The target grade that this is geared toward is prekindergarten classes and the ages of the students in these particular centers are 3 to 5 years of age. Micro cultural components will be the teachers, administrators, public agencies libraries and parents. These micro cultural components will work together to ensure that the students are introduced to different types of books written about different subjects and ethnic backgrounds. The macro cultural components will consist of online computer programs that will introduce students to books from different regions of the world. These books will be picture books so that the students can follow along. The macro cultural components are important so that students can learn about different cultures around the world.
The classroom objective is to provide prekindergarten students with an exciting and engaging library center that they will love to go to. In this library center, the students will explore and learn using puppets, books, and also interactive storytime. Library centers in some preschool classrooms can sometimes not be very appealing to young children and this can cause a major delay in the development. Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are the 21st Century skills that students will develop while they are interacting in the library center. The development of these skills will help them to work together with other students, learn to self-regulation, use their problem-solving skills, as well as help them to be creative (“Battelle for Kids”, 2007). Communication and collaboration in preschool-aged students can help them to learn to work with other peers to build these 2 skills. Denham et al. (2012) stated that “Numerous skills are crucial at this level during early childhood, including making positive overtures to play with others, initiating and maintaining conversations, cooperation, listening, taking turns, seeking help, and friendship skills”. While in the library center students will have the option to work together on many different activities. One activity could be to collaborate and communicate with their peers to picture read a storybook. The last 2 of the 21st Century skills, critical thinking, and creativity, are important as students continue to develop. Critical thinking will be used when students are learning about different topics by using books and other educational software. A great example of this will be having an audio player reading a story and asking the students to solve or answer a given question from the book. Creativity in young children can help them to feel included in their learning and can give them ways to express how they feel. While in the library center students will have the opportunity to create their own stories using puppets, drawing, and even acting it out. This type of play gives children a chance o engage is self-directed creative play (“The Whole Child – For Early Care Providers – Creativity and Play”, para. 7). Creative play is an important 21st Century skill that children will be introduced to by offering a more engaging library center. While engaging in the library center students will be introduced to different books and programs that will help them to learn more about themselves and also things around them. This is how the micro cultural components aspect comes into play. Those people closest to the students will be able to send in pictures and books giving visuals of their cultures.
This instructional experience will help to meet student’s needs to be creative and help build upon their problem-solving skills. Through play, many students are learning to explore different ways of learning and working with others to help solve problems. While playing in the library area students are given the chance to explore language, be creative and create their very own stories, and use books to explore different real-world places and things. With the help of those outside resources, the library area can be filled with books and pictures to give students a visual aid of their neighborhood as well as places they may never visit. The library center will be a choice that students can rotate in so that everyone can participate. The library center will offer students the chance to explore a life of reading through a hands-on approach. The center will be cozy and inviting to allow the students to relax and enjoy the learning process while exploring different books and stories about different topics. Interacting with puppets and creating own stories are great ways to help students express themselves creatively. Students will have the material to act out their favorite stories and let their creativity take over.
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
Culturally relevant pedagogy is a form of teaching where the teachers, as well as the students, take on a role that ensures everyone is learning about their own as well as respecting other cultural backgrounds. With that being stated, improving the library center in classrooms will help to address cultural competence through reinforcing students’ cultural integrity. Placing books and pictures that represent different cultures, especially those students in the class, can help students as well as the teacher to learn more about each other and what makes them unique. When collaboration with other students in the library center they can work together to build upon what they already know about a particular book. This can help involving students in the construction of knowledge. Teachers can see what students have learned in the center and then build upon that and add more material to the center. Tapping home and community resources will be an important part of the success of the improved library center. Parents or guardians will send in pictures showing their culture and background to help show students how each family is different. These pictures or books can show how they celebrate their holidays or even show different foods their family may eat. The community resources that the center will have will be books and material that their company does. This will be firefighters, police officers, doctors, and other community workers. Wardle (2013) stated that “Many of the community resources in both categories also develop in children a sense of cultural identity and can be used by schools to make learning culturally and individually relevant to their students and families” (Wardle, 2013, chap. 12.3). These resources will be used to interactively and constructively teach students about their surroundings. They will then be able to use their creative skills to build upon this by engaging in sociodramatic play. Understanding students’ cultural knowledge will be exemplified not only by the information their families provide but also by learning about them and engaging with them on a personal level. This can be done by providing students with similar people and those that are different from them (Dickerson, 2008, 1:10). Providing students with books and material that they are accustomed to can help them and the teacher to understand their own culture.
Encouraging students to believe in their culture-influenced creative potential is one strategy that improving the classroom library centers can do. Students that are encouraged to learn about themselves and their culture can help them learn to be creative and explore different things. There are so many books and stories that students can read that can help them learn more about themselves about their culture. Providing innovative ways to encourage students to learn about other cultures is also important. Nurturing the confidence to try is necessary for children to build their self-esteem and development. If a child does not believe that they can do something, they will not reach their full potential. As the students play in the library area they are given a hands-on approach to try different things. They can look at a picture of a story and try to tell what the story may be about and even continue the story using their imagination. If they are not nurtured to try they will never know to expand their learning and will lack the self-esteem to even progress. The teacher’s role during the student’s play is to encourage them to try different things and provide positive feedback if the child begins to not believe. Helping learners find their creative strengths is another strategy that this interactive library will help with. Creative strengths are encouraged as students explore different books and stories. Critical thinking skills combined with creativity can allow a student’s imagination to soar. Encouraging generative thought, free from immediate criticism is something that students will gain as they use their thoughts to create stories they come up with. They will have the opportunity to create stories that they want and will be given positive support to continue their development and imagination. This will be done without expecting a right or certain type of story ending, instead, they will create their own. Encouraging the expression of personal ideas and feelings is the final strategy that an improved library center can do for students. Giving prekindergarten students support in expressing how they feel will give them a foundation to continue to explore learning in so many ways. This encouragement can then support them in expressing themselves creatively without fear of discouragement.
A simple improvement to a center within the classroom can encourage students to learn and gain a desire to go to those centers. Simply by adding a little coziness, audio storybooks, and material to dress up in a library center choice can turn into a child building their creativeness.
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