Guest Lecture: Punya Mishra – Explore|Create|Share

On Monday July 8 the MAET – Galway Year 1 Cohort had a guest lecture from Dr. Punya Mishra who is a Professor at the Michigan State College of Education and the  Co-director of the MAET program. He is one of the founders of the TPACK framework along with

Before beginning our talk, Punya had each member of the class write on the board their name, what they teach, and a hobbie or interest outside of school. If you weren’t there I would suggest writing these things down as they will be important later on.

The focus of the lecture was on Creativity and Teaching. One really interesting visual tool that he utilized were ambigrams. An ambigram is read the same way forwards, and when you turn it 180 degrees. This is an ambigram for the word creativity, created by Punya Mishra. Creativity is currently a “buzz word” in the education and business worlds and it has been identified as skill necessary for success in the 21st century, but can you really define creativity? What is creativITy? We have all heard of creativity, and we recognize it when we see it, but actually defining it is a challenge.

Punya Mishra proposed a “N.E.W.” way of defining creativity.

N – Novel
E – Effective/Useful
W – Whole

For a good overview of this concept, watch this video from Punya “Creativity, the new NEW (Novel, Effective, Whole)”.

Next, he discussed the importance of disciplinary knowledge as they teach us to see the world through different lenses. A mathematicians view of a problem, would be different than a biologists, would be different than a historians. Although disciplinary knowledge is important, it is also important to be able to see outside of that discipline as well.

Then we discussed some research being conducted by Dr. Danah Henriksen around creativity in teaching. She has conducted some interesting research around these themes and I am looking forward to seeing some of her current work be published as it is in the realm of trans-disciplinary frameworks, which is what I use in my teaching practice, and technology rich-contexts, which I am obviously interested in.

Stemming from the discussion of Dr. Henriksen’s work we discussed “How do you use your creative interests in the classroom to enrich your teaching?” (This is where the hobbie or interest outside of schools comes in). I had selected traveling as this is something that I seem to do every school break, so then I took some time to brainstorm how I have and could use my interest in travel to enrich my classroom environment.

Some of the things that I listed were – photos that have connections to curriculum units – i.e. pictures of landmarks from previous civilizations
– purchasing children’s books from around the world with stories from other cultures
– picking up rock samples for our geology unit from other locations around the world

It was interesting to think about how my interest in traveling does translate into a lot of curricular areas that we discuss in my class. I also think that sharing some of my stories from traveling helps to humanize me and make connections with my students.

Obviously, if you had other interests your list could be significantly different from mine – but I think the important thing is that you are utilizing your passion to get the kids passionate about learning. I think that if students have a role model who is passionate about something, they are more likely to find something to be passionate about because they will see the meaning that it can bring you.

After this discussion, the lecture moved to how are we going to prepare students for the NEW (creative/21st century) world. A lot of the reading I have done recently is around this topic, and how we include 21st century skills in the classroom – and there is a lot of discussion but it is not an easy thing to define. Punya discussed about the need to “learn to see” and “to wonder why”, we have to be actively observing the world around us and looking for opportunities to see learning so that we can use those opportunities to enrich the learning of our students.

At the end of our session he asked us to create some type of verse to summarize the main ideas from the guest lecture. This was my creation.

See the ordinary as learning opportunities
Apply disciplinary knowledge
Think flexibly to conceptualize learning and
Experience the world around you

References:

Mishra, P. (2013, July). MAET Year 1 Guest Lecture. Lecture conducted from National University of Ireland, Galway.

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