Sunday, July 28, 2013

Teaching: One of the most demanding and dynamic of professions

I had the privilege of attending the It's a Learners' World: Mapping a New Landscape Conference organised by Learning Network NZ on the 25th and 26th July and what a fantastic experience this was.

Keynote speakers included: Lee Crockett, Perry Rush and Joan Dalton.

What I've learned from Lee Crockett:
  • Change is a difficult thing - Reality check ahead
  • TTWWADI (That's The Way We've Always Done It), without giving a thought why we do it - this have serious impacts on years to come
  • Things change quickly in education - we need to examine our TTWWADI
  • No correlation between homework and achievement in younger ages
  • It's a scary thought - our classroom structures have not change much in a hundred years
  • We are providing our kids with an education for work that can be done by automation - How will we change this?
  • Make students the spotlight of their learning - teach them how to learn
  • In the next few year, people who need managing will no longer be employable
  • Our kids will look at the iPad as archaic technology - How are we preparing them for the world that is their future?
  • If we do not change the way we teach, then we prepare our kids not for their future but for our past
  • When the rate of change outside an organisation is greater than the change inside the end is near
  • What will you change in your classroom or school to prepare your learners for the scope and pace of change? How will you keep up?
  • Eyes process visuals faster than text - 80% information comes through our eyes. We can communicate so much more with visuals - we're designed to be visual learners
  • Stretch your thinking - take baby steps - choose 1 action you're going to take, starting right now!

What I've learned from Perry Rush:
  • The learning Purpose in the 21st Century - enable the individual to be fulfilled to their satisfaction
  • Build capability to be successful in the 21st knowledge economy
  • Children can spot the teachers who are prepared to journey with them
  • Be quiet and listen to kids to re-craft teaching to the next appropriate place
  • We need to take our students to places they don't know they don't know about
  • Knowledge is a process not a 'thing' - it happens in teams not in individuals
  • You need to be able to do things with what you know - Learning and knowledge are a verb, it's what our kids DO with this knowledge
  • Teach understanding of knowledge, not just knowing. Foster understanding, growing meaning about the world
  • Minds are resources that can be connected to other resources in order to generate knowledge
  • Remember the Revised Curriculum:'s_Keynote.pdf
  • Teaching in the 21st C

What I've learned from Joan Dalton:

It's not what you know, but what you do with what you know that makes a difference.

Other sessions attended and learning included:

                                                        Photo by Michael Fawcett

What change will I make? What is my 'baby step'?
  • I will start by moving towards creating a Modern Learning Environment and focus on personalised learning as the Key Competencies will be visible in this

Monday, July 22, 2013

Future-focused learning and teaching

We are currently in the process of having forum meetings with our parents regarding the 'Basics' at our school.  This whole process of hearing what parents' views are about current education practices, is very informative and worthwhile.
This had me again looking into Effective Pedagogy and my action promoting student learning.  While in the process of doing this, I came across this excellent, meaningful information on teaching for 21st century learners.

Questions to be asked:
What does future-focused learning and teaching look like? What ideas and principles underpin it? What makes it different from other teaching and learning practices? How do we change our practice to become inclusive and build an environment where akonga/learners, teachers, and whānau work together?

Future-focused education - what does it mean?
  • How can education prepare students for living in the 21st century?
  • How can schooling change to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century?
  • How can we prepare students to address "future-focused" issues such as sustainability, globalisation, citizenship, and enterprise?
Bolstad, R. (2011)
Literature suggests we need to be future-oriented and adaptable, adopting a more complex view of knowledge, that incorporates knowing, doing, and being. Alongside this we need to rethink our ideas about how our learning systems are organised, resourced, and supported. Educators need to consider:
  • Personalising learning – how can you use technologies to build the school curriculum around the learner and more flexibly to meet learners’ needs?
  • Building an inclusive learning environment - how you use technologies to:
    • engage learners, family/whānau, and communities in co-shaping education to address students’ needs, strengths, interests and aspirations?
    • provide access to anywhere, anytime learning?
    • support assessment and evaluation processes so that these are dynamic and responsive to information about students?
  • Developing a school curriculum that uses knowledge to develop learning capacity – how can you use technologies to enable students to create and use new knowledge to solve problems and find solutions to challenges as they arise on a “just-in-time” basis?
  • Rethinking learners’ and teachers’ roles – how can you use technologies to create a “knowledge-building” learning environment where learners and teachers work together?
  • Building a culture of continuous learning for teachers and school leaders – what opportunities to participate in and build professional learning are afforded by technologies?
  • New kinds of partnerships and relationships - how can technologies be used to facilitate this?
Bolstad, R & Gilbert J, et al. (2012)
Providing higher order, authentic learning experiences allowing students to use technologies to explore content. The principle of ako affirms the value of the pair and group learning approaches in which students interact with their peers, teacher, tasks, and resources. These are very effective approaches for teaching and learning.

Ka Hikitia - Managing for success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008–2012
Teaching for 21st century learners
Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor, Massey University explains the need to teach higher level thinking skills and develop key competencies using technology to prepare students for the 21st century

Note: (Questions and information was quoted from TKI - enabling e-learning | teaching)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Effective Pedagogy Reflection (Term 2)

My principal and I had a discussion today about our disbelieve that the holiday is already upon us, although I did remark that I was 'ready' for a holiday two weeks ago!

I am in the process of reflecting on a term gone by as "Effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students" (NZC, page 35)

This will have me looking closely at student achievement data as well as using OTJ's. I will be posing questions about outcomes, successes and where my students are at. I am currently analyzing and interpreting information, from a range of assessment approaches (short term and long term), to consider next steps for learning.

How will I use this new information to decide what to do next to ensure continued improvement in student achievement and in my practice?
By reflecting on progress, observations, current vs initial data to see how it went and what strategies have made a difference to my students' learning. I will also consider what new teaching strategies & tools I will use.

I am excited to know what my focusing inquiry will be -what my students need to learn next, as well as deciding on the teaching inquiry that I am going to try in Term 3.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blogging and Commenting

Connecting with other classes in New Zealand through QuadBloggingAotearoa has been extremely beneficial for students this term and it was another great opportunity to teach my students on how to leave good comments.

This is a lengthy process with my pre-readers and writers and we always commented together as a group as I saw this process a necessity for my students.

We brainstorm some 'rules' to follow when leaving comments. They are:
1. Greet the other person/class
2. Say something nice about the post (what did we like?)
3. Make a connection (think of something it reminds us of). This is a skill we are just beginning to learn.
4. Ask a question (what else were we wondering about that the writer has not put in their post)
5. Re-read our comment (check for spelling mistakes or if we need to change something)

This pattern will be followed for months to come and students will learn the necessary skills to comment on their own. I will then officially ask all of the students to try to make a comment on a blog of their choice closer to the end of the school year. I will however stay close by to assist students whose spelling skills are still developing and make a note in brackets to show that this was done with teacher help.

It will be a long journey to get them to follow the pattern that we have practiced together. Just as learning to read and write takes some time, learning to comment when you are an emerging writer does take some time as well.

Why would I go through this lengthy process with my 5 year old students?
The satisfaction of seeing a student who is beginning to understand how to interact and having a conversation with others in a social media situation, is worth this long journey.

As part of our reflection on our experience with QuadBloggingAotearoa, we discussed some benefits of blogging and although there are many more, here is what we thought to be important at this stage.