Meet Frank Williams, English teacher

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Name: Frank Williams

How are you involved in education?
My ideal classroom is not a dream, it is a reality. I am proud to say that the Integrated Studies Program (ISP) reflects my vision of the ideal classroom and it echoes my philosophy of education. Our constructivist design enables students to learn with a great deal of freedom and independence. They work on projects that are relative to their interests and abilities while also addressing New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards in the process. Teachers are facilitators and students are the ones making the decisions as to what is important to learn and how they are going to learn it. Students devise their own rubrics and dictate their own levels of achievement. There are no deadlines, but instead time lines that are established for the completion of work. It’s a cross-content model that allows for students to mix and mingle with students in other classes and other grade levels, allowing for collaborative efforts that would not be possible in the traditional model. Technology is a huge component of the ISP, and thus it is essential that there be many computers available to the students; each with internet access to utilize web gems such as Moodle and Project Foundry. To most educators, this may seem like a fantasy. For me, it’s just another day in the ISP.

What’s your ideal classroom or school like? I believe in one-room schoolhouses, that is, multiage classrooms which are fully inclusive and contain multiple teachers in large non-rectangular rooms. I believe in information and communications technology at every hand, but in whatever forms meet the student’s need of the moment. I believe in universal design, in the elimination of grade levels and grade level expectations, in project-based cross-curricular learning, in classrooms linked globally. I don’t believe in tests, highly enforced schedules, print-centric curricula, assessments via multiple choice, labelling children, or ranking them numerically.

Have you ever attended an unconference before?
I have never attended an unconference, but I am really excited about EdCamp Philly!

If you were to lead a session at Edcamp, what would it be about?
I would lead a session about one of the many web tools that I use with regularity, projects that cross the lines of content, or perhaps a session on how to explore and execute the curriculum through use of different media. I have a lot of ideas!

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Author: Kevin Jarrett

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