Final Critical Reflection

I read through all the reflections of this session and felt very eager to share what I was thinking and what I perceived through the whole process of my learning.

Professional Self

Professionally I used to take for granted that teaching English with the same strategies, being a homeroom teacher, and organizing group members to work together were all and the only jobs of mine, and all these were nearly the same for the past few years. Through this ECI 521 class, some of my ideas developed theoretically and also practically. With the theories that have learned before, how to apply those into my teaching should be at the top list of an educator. With our CCI group work on creating an inclusive classroom, I acquired that content was not the only thing in a classroom, except for being very familiar with what they are going to teach, educators should take all aspects of school community into consideration, such as the school environment, teaching materials, parents, students, peer relations, and also their cultural differences, ect. Teachers or educators should understand and develop the educational context thoroughly; the key next step would be how to apply their understanding into practice. With our cooperation on the CCI program about technology, we researched on how to balance our teaching with the application of technology. I professionally was very excited to challenge myself on the usage of technology with my teaching. With creating videos, writing poems, and designing the mind map, I improved myself professionally, not only on response to literature reading, but also on considering different cultural/ ethnical issues. On creating our CCI about belonging, I think we established and created different projects on teaching diverse population. I created my project on how to provide students a safe environment for African American students through young adult nonfiction reading of the book We’ve Got a Job. Through the cooperation on this topic belonging, I tried to develop cooperation of my students, on how to improve their cognition of different cultures, historical background information, learning inequity in history, and development of education. I think I could teach diversely and more practically with the understanding of diverse situations. Education equity was also part of what we got from our collaboration. Through the whole process of my learning and the three CCI projects, the biggest change of my initial ideas was that I perceived the importance of cooperation and great leadership.

According to the NC Department of Public Instruction, I professionally improved a lot through reading the young adult literature books. All the books I read helped me understand students more from diverse aspects, which could also facilitate my teaching and my relationship with students. It is our educators’ responsibility to collaboratively acknowledge the diversity of students, the importance of school environment, and advancement of educational equity.

Personal Self

I read different kind of young adult literature books this session. The book The Paradox of Vertical Flight left me great information about what the young adult are always thinking. The book Eleanor and Park made me frustrated at the beginning, but attracted me to think further about the children being abused by their families. I created a mind map after I read The Midwinter Blood, which were about seven different short stories that happened on an island. The graphic novel The Middle School Confidential was very practical for educators to read. The last book I read was We’ve Got a Job, on which I created a CCI program for students, and I also designed pre-, during, and post reading activities for students, which were all focus on providing students a safe and equal environment. All these readings really helped me understand my students’ needs and situations better, which will then motivates our teachers to teach responsively and sensitively. I personally was more sensitive, responsive and more competitive to students diversities. I also practiced and developed greatly on creating products after reading the books. I could say that when I was designing the product, I could sometimes thought from educator’s point of view, and some others could felt the story from students’ aspects. With the design of the CCI project on belonging, and also Dr. Crissman’s sharing of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I could learned students need more easily and found out the way to help them. I also engaged and enjoyed collaborate with Bethany and Jill and also Dr. Crissman on creating this CCI belonging project for students, even through virtual. This Inquiry project should be led by me, but to be honest, I did not do that well on leading group work at the beginning, we shared our projects and different ideas, but I knew that I should have done better. I hoped that this class could be longer and I would have more chance to practice. I was committed to our cooperation and learning in groups. This also helped me think about my learning communities when I go back.

Virtual Self

I have to say that I really improved a lot on virtual self. I created my products with movie maker, voice thread, and mind map. I learned how to discuss on the pad let and Titan pad from Jill and Bethany, we also learned how to use the Intra-act to discuss. All our group discussions and cooperation are with the help of technology. I also learned how to apply technology into my teaching practice when I was creating my CCI project. Through our CCI on technology, Bethany also led us discussed how to use technology on teaching literacy. I had a great deal of ideas about how would I apply technology into my teaching. Technology provides me a lot of different approaches on teaching literacy. This would encourage students to engage more and practice more practically.


I really appreciate and enjoyed what I have learned from this class, which really made me feel more energetic and excited with my teaching, even I have been a teacher for so many years. I am very eager to practice using technology into my teaching and my future learning too. Learning is really a lifelong journey and I am now still feeling eager to learn more. 


Critical Self-Reflection of Week 4

Personal Self

As a student this week, I gained a lot from reading the ‘graphic novel’ and our CCI project on Technology and Literacy. The book I read named Middle School Confidential, which consists of the stories of six teens trying to figure out middle school. According to different stories, there are quotes, advices from real teens, quizzes, and tips for giving suggestions on how to stay strong through some rough spots in middle school. This book provides a great deal of help for teachers and counselors of middle school.

For the CCI project I believe that communication is the most critical component of our group collaboration. We did really great this week, Bethany led us discussion the questions and we searched for information very early, which giving us enough time to review our own thinking, and also compared with other group members. Our topic technology and literacy give us educators different perspectives on discussing how to connect technology with our classroom teaching and literacy, and also how to use the BYOD effectively. I was inspired by so many different kind of apps that all my classmates have used, a lot of story-telling technological tools.


Professional Self

Through our CCI project, my understanding of literacy changed with our sharing the videos and also websites of how technology was used in American classrooms. I personally have experienced cell phone problems in my classroom. I used to take over all the phones and gave them back at the end of the day. I really have considered that our traditional literacy will be taken over by high technology, but I was also frustrated with a lot of technology was used in English tests, such as TOEFL, which was a prerequisite for my students to take. My thinking about technological literacy was really refreshed, which really inspired me to make full use of these technologies that I have learned into my future teaching.


Virtual Self

Except the technology that we have shared on our pad let, I also like the EtherPad Bethany recommended in our during-class discussion. We can not only share our ideas, but also discuss at the same time. About the technology used in classroom teaching, I think I was not that positive on making full use of them, instead I was always afraid that technology would interfere our classroom. Through this unit, I am very eager to practice using technology in my classroom, and I wish I could find a good way in our traditional Chinese classroom.

Critical Self-Reflection of Week 3

Personal Self

It was really an intense week for me, but I really learned a lot from the book response of a horrible novel, and also from the collaborative critical inquiry unit with Jillian and Bethany.

I created my book response with a mind map this time; it is really a good method to get clearer of stories that happened in different times and dimensions. I believe it will also help the readers who haven’t read that book before.

When Jillian was first created the main ideas and structures of the Multicultural Literature unit, I brainstormed many questions about the topic, mostly about concerns from a different cultural point of view. When we were creating our pad let, I searched for some articles that related to all scaffolding questions. I read all the other classmates’ answers and we discussed during the class, this really helped me understand the topic from different aspects.


Professional Self

Learned from the method of writing book responses and the creativity, I could apply these methods into my teaching plan for another class. I connected how to use technology in teaching high efficiently with critical thinking and students’ cognitive growth with technology.

Since I read a different topic of young adult literature book, and with the further discussion of the multicultural literature unit that we had this week, and also with the research on American multicultural literature, I could more easily understand why these topics were selected for young adults. As educators, we are facilitators and instructors to motivate students to read and help them think critically on different topics.

I also appreciate Jill’s answer to one of my concerns on young adult literature class, that is what if students had pros and cons of a certain book and should teachers give them clear instruction or the “right” answer, her suggestion would be classify students into different groups and they could have opposite ideas. I agree on this and it will definitely help students to do further research on their sides.


Virtual Self

Jill, Bethany and me, we three worked in a group on create our topics, brainstorm the compelling question and scaffolding questions. We used Google Doc and the pad let, both helped a lot on communicating with each other. They also helped us get each others’ ideas more visually. This kind of cooperation also enlarged our research aspects. 

Midwinter BLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinter Blood Mindmap


The book Midwinter BLOOD, by Marcus Sedgwick, is a novel with seven stories, which are all mysterious and intertwined with each other, although they all happened in different times. All stories are about Eric and Merle. Each of the story starts with a title page that has time and the specific moon. All start pages are black, the same as the front page, which made my reading horrified, but I really felt adventurous and fascinated to find out the answers of all the mysteries.

When I was reading, I wrote down the name of Eric and Merle, and took note of their relationships in different stories. When I went on to read, I was frustrated again and again, tried very hard to connect the names, and sometimes mistook their roles in the stories. It reminded me a movie that I have watched three years ago, named “Inception”, which was also multi-dimensional, and very difficult to understand. I still remembered that I watched that movie three times, and still was a little confused.

I created a mind map of the seven stories, and connected all Erics and Merles, and even tried to find out that was there any relationship among all the things happened on the Blessed Island. Eric and Merle are the through-line of all seven stories. Eric at the beginning of this book was a journalist who came to the Blessed Island to search for a rumor, which says that there was a kind of orchid called “Dragon Orchid” on the island, with the right way to use it, people can live forever, and Eric met Merle here, and he had a serious feeling that they two knew each other before. And then in the following stories, their identities shifted in different ages. And the following stories were also introduced reversely. An archeologist found a coffin with the help of Eric (Merle was his mother there). A World WarⅡ pilot David was saved by Eric (Merle was David’s daughter). A painter Eric tried very hard to retrieve his feeling of painting, and he became a good friend of Merle. A tragic story about Eric and Merle was told by Laura to two kids. Merle and Eric then were brother and sister in the next story, and they were confused who was their dad, and this story also reminded me what happened about the coffin the archeologist found before. The last story was way back about Eric and Merle (the king and the queen) in an unknown time.

Based on the mind map I created, I scanning the whole novel very quickly and it really helped me understand and found out all the relationships clearer. This mind map is really practical to clarify stories that happened in different period of times, or even in different dimensions, I was wondering if I knew How to use this kind of mind map to help me clarify what happened in the movie “Inception”, would that be so difficult to understand? I enjoy the process of drawing and get all stories clearer. By the way, the story was not very horrible. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend this one to readers of any age.

–Juan Hou

Critical Reflection of the 1st and 2nd week

Personal Learning

For the past two weeks, there were great increase in my personal learning through pedagogical knowledge, and book response, creation of book response and usage of different kind of technology.

It was the first time we compelled the questions of what was literary, what was literature and what a literacy-based teaching of literature might look like. My assumption of literacy initially means the ability to read, listen, speak and write, which are the most basic ways to communicate with others in the society or community. My assumption or understanding of literature was a term that refers to written or spoken materials; it is used to describe works, of fiction, nonfiction, drama, or poetry. So a literacy-based teaching of literature might like teaching people how to read, which is the first and basic step, then motivate people to think on the materials, and talk to share their opinions, and might also be write down something. These are my most fundamental assumptions and understanding of literacy, literature, and literacy-based teaching of literature.

After I read through the Gordon Well’s social constructivist-oriented theory of language and literacy development, my assumptions of literacy was developed, literary means the phrases of getting literacy, the functions of literacy, strategies of development of literacy, especially the importance of language learning, and also teachers’ roles in literacy development. My assumption of literature mostly rely on the materials, on the other hand, literature could be taught not only academically, but also socially and culturally, in which ways students could be organized together in activities, solving practical problems, with the guidance and assistance of parents, and also teachers.

After we discussed with not only classmates, but also a guest speaker, we thought deeper on how to value literacy, and how to connect education with the community.

Through reading the 1st and 2nd Printz books, I created my book response with movie making and writing poem. The usage of voice thread also helped me share my ideas with others.


Personal Contributions

The main assignment of these two weeks were writing book response and comment on others, which helped us connect with others ideas. I personally give a lot of ideas through different cultural views, which could help educators think cultural diversely.

I also integrated my teaching experience and thought more deeply from psychological point of view on my book responses, which I hope could appeal educators to contribute on young adults’ physical and mental development.

Working together as a group on peer-led unit also gave me a great chance to share my concerns about teaching young adult literature with native educators, and I am sure I would contribute more next week on our discussions in class, since global learning is now the trend of the education.


Personal Concerns

Teaching young adult literature for second language learners is always on the top of my concerns.

I would like to discuss with native educators how to balance the literature teaching with the curriculum.

What if there are constraints of technology, knowledge, or affordance of education, and how to educator think to deal with this kind of inequity?

The love that I can’t afford (Poem)–Response to Eleanor & Park

Why I can’t see through your perturbed soul

Why I can’t figure out your eyes’ mood

Like a wind, like a dream

Love is as mysterious as life


The dark night swallows your outline

What’s your heart really crazy with

When you hold me, your eyes is lonelier than moonlight

Let you enjoy yourself in other’s life


–Juan Hou

“He wasn’t her boyfriend.

And they weren’t going to break up. Or get bored. Or drift apart.

They were just going to stop.

If they weren’t going to get married-if it wasn’t forever-it was only a matter of time.

They were just going to stop.

Park was never going to love her mother than he did on the day they said good-bye.

And she couldn’t bear to think of him loving her less.” (P318) –Eleanor


When I was writing the poem, the first two sentences frustrated me during the whole reading process, and these were the two questions always in my head that I highly wondered what Eleanor was thinking and why “I (Park)” can’t read through your eyes. “I” did whatever “I” could to love, to accompany with you, even when “I” sent you to the uncle’s house, “I” never thought that would be the last time we could see each other, and you were so determined to leave my life, without saying any word!


In order to avoid the end, you never began to love. I can’t stop suffering and crying when I read the ending, crying for miserable Eleanor and sensitive myself.

Although there were only eight sentences, there were full of hatred in my heart, and I was wholly depressed and can’t forgive Eleanor, can’t forgive myself!


After calmed down after read it for two hours, I came to recognize the problem of Eleanor, a high school girl, who has a very rough life, living with her mother, her four young siblings, and her creep stepfather. Despite how miserable her life was, the relationship with park was only her last life-saving straw! After writing down these eight sentences, I really appeal to the attention of educators, this is a very common problem that needs the guide and help of the counselor. “Eleanor” needs to love herself first, then she would know how to love others.

Response to The Paradox of Vertical Flight

Of all the common assumptions about how young adult literature books will influence, I think the most common one is the idea that the book should in some way teach young adult something, and young adult could feel themselves in the story.

When I first read the abstract of The Paradox of the Vertical Flight and saw the sentence ‘Falling is the only way we can fly’, I was much more curious about what happened in there. I personally like the way that it was a story told from a father to his son. Jack, the boy in the story was planning to kill himself just before he got the astonishing and overwhelming news that he was going to be a father. The following story really happened in a way that I had never and ever expected; at least I perceived it as impossible.

I also like the girl Jess and the friend Tommy, who were also very brave, supportive and loyal to go with Jack, and to join the adventurous trip. It was also one of the reasons I like this book, it made me feel that I was one of them on the way.

On the journey to his grandma, Jack was always debating with ‘Socrates’ (he also named his son Socrates) about different things, about feelings, making decisions, frustrating with the ceiling of universe, hoping for magical to happen, doubting about the end of the Fairies, and being dragged between Angel and Devil. He also took this kind of debating as teaching his one-day-old son.

I have to say that after I finished my video, and I reviewed it with the background music, I burst into tears, not only for what happened on them, but also for the feeling of loneliness, which we all have experienced. Although feel a little depressed, I personally could accept the ending, which was very realistic and thought provoking.

In the process of making this video, I challenged myself a lot, since it was the first time I made a video, and with four hours of laptop crash, I finally made it and can’t stop thinking more deeper and far away. The lyrics of the video are the summaries of conversations between Jack and fictional ‘Socrates’, and the name of the background music is ‘tears’. I hope all pictures I selected could make viewers feel them and provoke their empathy and I hope it could also help encouraging the community to care more about young adult, about their feelings, and supporting them to find the way of their lives.