To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin (hooks, 1994, p. 13).


Its time to synthesize and demonstrate your understanding of the tremendous body of knowledge you have interrogated throughout the last five weeks. Your final task is to create a written artifact that showcases your ability to connect learning theory to practice.

Your final artifact will serve as a testimony to the grand adventure that has been your unique experience as a student, teacher, participant-observer, scientist, apprentice, and co-conspirator in this course. Based on your growth over time in this course, made manifest in your theory to practice essays, in class participation, and weekly scholarly artifacts, I believe you are fully prepared to craft an insightful and analytical scholarly essay which will evidence your advancement as a reflective pedagogue.


The overall purpose of your final essay is for you to demonstrate your Learning Theories content knowledge, including your ability to apply content knowledge in practical ways. A great way to think about your final essay is as a couple of super-sized T2P hypotheses sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion. The format and content of your essay should be familiar to you. In other words, the format is similar to the Reflective Pedagogical Thinking Taxonomy, and you will be able to harvest content from your weekly T2P essays and other scholarly artifacts you have created over the last five weeks (although you may spend some time evolving and polishing-up). Overall you should not have to create a ton of new content. Your final essay should have three main sections: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. It should also
  • be six and ten pages (no longer than ten, not including a reference list)
  • have a title and your name on the first page, be double-spaced, have page numbers and section titles
  • be saved as a Word file (.doc or .docx) as YourGroup(Monday or Tuesday)_LastName_Final.doc
  • include citations and a reference list using APA format


Introduction [about one page]
  • To get your reader's attention consider using a metaphor, analogy, quote, or brief story which summarizes your perspective on the enterprise of teaching and learning. Alternatively, you might include a portion of your Philosophy of Education.
  • Include a thesis statement that forecasts the main themes, constructs, or theories you intend to present in your essay. Your introduction should tell your reader, in brief, what she can expect in your essay.

Body [about four-five pages]
  • The body of your essay, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, will have two super-sized T2P hypotheses. Each of your super-sized T2P hypotheses will centered on one of the essential elements that make-up teaching and learning: TEACHER, LEARNERS, CONTENT, OR CONTEXT.
  • Each of your two super-sized T2Ps should include

1. Introductory paragraph
  • Responds to the question, "How does the essential element (i.e., either teacher learners, content, or context) influence the teaching and learning environment?"
  • Incorporates your overarching hypothesis about the role of the essential element in teaching and learning
  • Forecasts the three key theories, models, or concepts you will use to support your hypothesis
  • Lists the four pieces of evidence you will use to support your hypothesis (you may use concrete evidence like the data points you provided in the week 5 video analysis, and/or conceptual evidence like a relevant concept or idea you define and analyze so that your reader clearly understands the way(s) you believe the concept supports your hypothesis)
  • Responds to the question, "What are the moral/ethical/political implications of my hypothesis?"

  • Here is a mostly made-up example of an introductory paragraph about the essential element CONTEXT. This example leaves out many specifics and does not fully demonstrate my content knowledge because I am going to super-size my ideas in my following paragraphs.

I believe understanding the context of teaching and learning, particularly the social context of the students lives, because it serves as the ecosystem within which students experience all learning and development. [an excellent intro paragraph would include more here, like what I mean by "ecosystem" for example] Three theories helped me formulate my belief that if teachers strive to maintain contemporary knowledge about their students lived experience outside of the school environment i.e., the context of teaching and learning, then they will be more prepared to serve as bridgers and connectors between formal content-area and content-area as it may be (or could be) experienced by youth. To support my hypothesis, I will provide an overview of Seimens' theory of Connectivism, Vygotsky's social constructivism, and Duncan-Andrade's critical pedagogy along with evidence that demonstrates how these three theories, when taken together, inform my beliefs and understanding about the role of context in teaching and learning. The evidence I will draw from are two videos from Youtube (Video 1 and Video 2) that present learners engaged with technology as an important part of how they connect with the world day to day [concrete evidence], Duncan-Andrade's proposition of bridging between youth popular culture and school culture, and the case study about Ronnie, a North American student studying abroad in France (an entirely new social and cultural context) [conceptual evidence]. Staying relevant or "with it" is imperative for a teacher as she grows older and her students stay the same age. The technology and ways of being young people bring to the teaching and learning environment must be honored and understood by the teacher in order for her to bridge between students' context and that of academia. By building those bridges for students the teacher models meaning-making and generosity, along side of empathy and respect--all qualities necessary to reach our full potential as thinker and doers in the world.

2. The bulk of the section will be you "super-sizing" the overarching hypothesis you made in your intro by describing in more detail how the three key theories and four pieces of concrete evidence relate to one another and support your hypothesis. This is the most important part of your entire essay. It is where you demonstrate your content knowledge. You should define in your own words the key concepts, draw connections between them, use your evidence to support them, etc. Here is where you show your readers what you know about learning theories. Here is where you shine!

3. Conclusion paragraph of the section should parsimoniously respond to the question, "What is one content area-specific activity, assessment, classroom management technique, etc. I plan to use that exemplifies my ability to put my knowledge and beliefs about this element into practice in my future classroom, with my future learners?"

4. Repeat steps 1-3 by selecting a second essential element, formulating an overarching T2P hypothesis and super-sizing it.

Conclusion [about one page]

The conclusion of your essay should respond to the question, "How will (or has) the study of learning theories inform my beliefs, behaviors, dispositions, and aspirations as a teacher?" While the two super-sized T2Ps depend upon your critical analysis of content knowledge, the conclusion depends upon your critical reflection of how you have, and will in the future, make-meaning of your study of learning theories.

Creating a stellar artifact for your portfolio, one that demonstrates the passion and intellectual vigor with which you have approached the content of learning theories, is our collective goal. I am committed to working with you, providing direct and timely content-specific and editorial feedback, until you are wholly satisfied that your Taskstream learning theories artifact represents your best scholarly work. To that end I will remain available until our work together is done. If you have general questions about the essay, please post them on the discussion board of this pages so your colleagues can benefit from the discussion.

Godspeed future teachers. ¡Que viva la revolucción!


APA formatting questions at The OWL at Purdue.

The T2P model we have been using Reflective Pedagogical Thinking Taxonomy (Simmons et al., 1989).

For inspiration, here is the world famous PS22 Chorus.