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Andrew Caswell

PME Journal #4
I can honestly say that I have learned an incredible amount this semester in PME. One
big stride that I have made is that I now see the big picture of education. Before PME, I had
never really thought about why we teach music. I understand now that ever act in teaching
should have a purpose. I am now able to see the why? in other teachers lesson plans;
something I had not been able to see prior to this class. Before this class I knew that a student
centered classroom was more effective than a teacher led, but I dont feel that I understood it to
the same degree that I do now. I am able to see the comparisons in my own education with
classes that were student led and classes that were student led. Non-coincidently, these were
some of my favorite classes that I learned the most in. By watching my short teaching episode
on video, I got to see what I look like from the other side. When teaching, Im always trying to
imagine what I look like to the students. Getting to see myself gave me a great opportunity to
reflect on my classroom demeanor and presence. I know more about education in general in
how I see the big picture of education. I would like to share one example from my life that is
clear to me and that explains exactly my point. I had a honors global history class in my
sophomore year of high-school. All the previous years that the teacher had taught this class he
had taught it in a AP format. This meant a lot of material so a lot of reading and lecturing. But,
for my year, he chose to run the class differently by teaching the normal, non-AP material. But,
because we were able to absorb the material faster than the normal classes, we had a few
weeks at a time where we did a UN debate of certain historical or current day international

issues. Every student chose a country and every student debated for their own country. I
learned so much that year that I still think about and still use with me in my daily life. That was
education that really meant something to me as a citizen, not just a student. That class made
me a better American. I dont remember all the nitty-gritty facts and dates of everything we
learned. But I remember the debating and how I learned a lot from that alone. I also remember
representing Iran and going against my actual beliefs. This helped me see both sides of many
conflicts and made me a more well-rounded individual. I had never thought about how valuable
of an experience this was until this year. I want to go back to my high-school now and tell that
teacher what a great idea that class was and how that is what we should be looking for in
education. Reading the ideas of Alfie Kohn has really changed my view on education. I evaluate
all forms of motivation now as either intrinsic or extrinsic. In doing this, I can see where
education is succeeding and where it is not. Ive begun to think reflectively about myself and
how I am more motivated to do something if it comes from within. In summation, the progress
that I have made this semester is outstanding. I cannot wait to put it all to practice in the