West's Clevidence Presents at Forum in South Korea

West's Clevidence Presents at Innovative Teachers Forum in South Korea
Posted on 05/22/2019
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teachers at conference in South Korea
Collaboration between teachers within a school building happens every day, as well as across the district. But what about collaborating across the country or even the world? Annie Clevidence, an English literature teacher at Lakota West High School recently had the opportunity to do just that.

Last June, Lakota was selected as one of six districts nationwide to lead the Real World Learning Challenge Collaborative through Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. Member districts of the collaborative have been charged with determining how schools can bring authentic, life-relevant opportunities to secondary education and bring innovative ideas to the table as to how to bring real world learning opportunities to students. Clevidence is one of Lakota’s teachers involved in the work. “We’re working to see where real world learning can fit into the classroom,” she said. “How can it be easier and useful for both teachers and students.”

Executive Director of Curriculum Keith Koehne, also representing Lakota in the Challenge Collaborative, understands the importance of including real world learning as part of the student experience. “As educators, it is our responsibility to meet students where they are, encourage them and help them move beyond what they think is possible. Real world learning is about being intentional in preparing our students for success beyond high school through connections with our business partners and by teaching students the skills they will need to succeed."

Clevidence’s involvement with the League earned her an invitation to attend the 2019 International Forum for Innovative Teachers in Daegu, South Korea. She was one of four teachers from the United States, along with a representative from Digital Promise, to not only attend, but also present at the three-day conference. “Annie has been an important part of our team of teachers who are helping us think outside the box and engage our learners through real world learning opportunities. I’m thrilled that she was selected by Digital Promise to attend the forum,” said Koehne.

While in South Korea, Clevidence had the opportunity to tour schools and learn more about education there. Her favorite experience was visiting the Saeron Elementary School and watching third and fourth grade students coding robots. “The little kids were so excited to learn and excited to show you what they made,” she recalled. “There was a wonderful balance of teachers using technology as a tool for learning,” which, she notes, is the direction Lakota is headed with this year’s 1:1 launch.

The belief that real world learning can be incorporated into many aspects of the classroom has led Clevidence to amplify student voice, which was the topic of her presentation. “Real world learning in the classroom involves building a community and learning to discuss and respect differing opinions,” she said. “By giving students a voice, for example they create a unit or they decide what they want to research while I’m still teaching the curriculum, we’re teaching real world learning and giving the students a feeling of autonomy.”

While she admits that she kept her first year of teaching very structured, Clevidence adjusted her approach during her second year. At the end of that first year, she asked her students for feedback. One student said that he did not understand how what they were learning prepared them for the future. That statement caused Clevidence to pause. “I wanted to break the mold of ‘read a chapter then answer questions,’” she explained.

A Lakota alum, Clevidence credits her former teachers for showing her that you need to change the way you teach based on student needs. “Real world learning in the classroom is about giving our students the opportunity to explore ideas in a place where it’s safe to fail. Then us, as teachers, are able to guide them to find the answer.”

Pictured: Lakota West's Annie Clevidence (front row, second from left) was selected to attend and present at the 2019 International Forum for Innovative Teachers in South Korea.