Tag Archives: Observations

Technology

12 May

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The digital era – the computer, the network, the Internet, the Web, social technology, universal search, and so much more – changes radically all of the relationships that are critical to how we learn and how we teach: the relationship between teacher and learner; the relationship between the learner and information; the relationship we all have with the concept of learned authority; and the social relationships between ourselves and the rest of the human race. It is of course a hugely complex process of determination, with nuance layered on nuance, but it is undoubtedly true that broad global shifts in technology, such as that between print and digital, determine how learning can happen and therefore should (and inevitably will) determine what it means to teach.

Trend Three: Equitable Access

15 Mar

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Engaging akonga and staff effectively as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing higher education in the 21st century. Akonga as partners is a concept which interweaves through many other debates, including assessment and feedback, employability, flexible pedagogies, internationalisation, linking teaching and research, and retention and success. Interest in the idea has proliferated in policy and practice in our nation and internationally, particularly in the last few years. The following research got me thinking about Equitable Access.

Wider economic factors are influencing a contemporary environment in which akonga are often positioned as passive consumers of, rather than active participants in, their own higher education. It is timely to take stock and distil the current context, underlying principles and directions for future work on akonga as partners in learning and teaching.

Some of the issues that I think that need to be considered are:

  • offer a pedagogical case for partnership in learning and teaching;
  • propose a conceptual model for exploring the ways in which akonga act as partners in learning and teaching;
  • outline how the development of partnership learning communities or whanau may guide and sustain practice;
  • map the territory of strategic and sustainable practices of engaging akonga as partners in learning and teaching across diverse contexts;
  • identify tensions and challenges inherent to partnership in learning and teaching, and offer suggestions to individuals and institutions for addressing them;
  • identify priorities for further work.

Partnership is framed as a process of student engagement, understood as staff and akonga learning and working together to foster engaged student learning and engaging learning and teaching enhancement. In this sense partnership is a relationship in which all participants are actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together. This approach recognises that engaged student learning is positively linked with learning gain and achievement, and argues that partnership represents a sophisticated and effective approach to student engagement because it offers the potential for a more authentic engagement with the nature of learning itself and the possibility for genuinely transformative learning experiences for all involved. Hence, we speak of engagement through partnership. Partnership as a process of engagement uniquely foregrounds qualities that put reciprocal learning at the heart of the relationship, such as trust, risk, inter-dependence and agency. In its difference to other, perhaps more traditional, forms of learning and working in the academy, partnership raises awareness of implicit assumptions, encourages critical reflection and opens new ways of thinking, learning and working in contemporary higher education. Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome. All partnership is student engagement, but not all student engagement is partnership.

I think I wondered off the topic but again challenging thoughts.

Trend One: Diversity

13 Mar

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Designing for difference is impacting the way we organise and govern our societies and prepare for the future. In education, this “difference” imperative is also becoming a catalyst for change:

  • findings in cognitive neuroscience are confirming that there is significant variability in how we each learn (OECD 2010).
  • international reports focus on the need for schools to develop acute sensitivity to individual learner’s differences and to use that knowledge as a driver for the design of physical and blended learning environments and flexible teaching approaches (OECD 2012, 2015)

Diversity work on school campuses takes many forms, and at their best, learning communities build on this existing work. The diversity I want to focus on that is of the Learning Community.

Learning communities can also become places where teachers develop powerful pedagogical strategies that support the learning of all students.

In short, the three central elements for approaching diversity through learning communities are as follows:

1) Designing learning communities for groups of students;

2) Using learning communities as sites for curriculum transformation;

3) Developing pedagogical practices that support diverse learners. Reflecting on these three elements is at the core of connecting the widely-recognized power of learning community structures with the rich work that has been done around diversity issues over the past two decades.

The broad range of experiences and perspectives brought to school by culturally and ethnically diverse students offer a powerful resource for everyone to learn more—in different ways, in new environments, and with different types of people. Every single person in this enormously diverse and ever-changing system has the power to serve as an invaluable resource for all others—students, teachers, and the community. Rather than constituting a problem for students and educators, the growing diversity in U.S. classrooms necessitates and encourages the development and use of diverse teaching strategies designed to respond to each student as an individual.

 

We are fortunate for I believe as a culture we embrace diversity. This boundless diversity has resulted in the inventions, discoveries, ideas, literature, art, music, films, languages, political systems, and foods that enrich our culture. This needs to reflected in our classrooms for this diversity has the potential for enriching our classroom. Our students bring us opportunities to be explored and treasures to be appreciated, and they help us challenge the status quo.

Adopting a truly global perspective allows us to view culturally diverse students and their parents or guardians as resources who provide unparalleled opportunities for enrichment. However, we need a greater repertoire of approaches to teaching and learning to cope with varied styles of learning. Teachers and students alike must cultivate interpersonal skills and respect for other cultures. The new world economy demands this global view. After all, our markets and economic competition are now global, and the skills of intercultural communication are necessary in politics, diplomacy, economics, environmental management, the arts, and other fields of human endeavor.

Surely a diverse classroom is the ideal laboratory in which to learn the multiple perspectives required by a global society and to use information concerning diverse cultural patterns. Students who learn to work and play collaboratively with classmates from various cultures are better prepared for the world they face now—and the world they will face in the future. Teaching and learning strategies that draw on the social history and the everyday lives of students and their cultures can only assist this learning process.

 

Teachers promote critical thinking when they make the rules of the classroom culture explicit and enable students to compare them with other cultures. Students can develop cross-cultural skills in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. For such learning to take place, however, teachers must have the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to make their classrooms effective learning environments for all students. Given the opportunity, students can participate in learning communities within their schools and town and be ready to assume constructive roles as workers, family members, and citizens in a global society.

Millennials

24 Jan

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When it comes to the psychology of leadership and creativity there are few people who I find more insightful and inspiring than Simon Sinek. He gained fame after his ‘Start with Why‘ TED talk that went viral and has really reshaped the conversation around creativity at pretty much every level of the agency and corporate world. I recently came across a new video of his called ‘Millennials in the Workplace.’

The statistics he uses are generally accurate, although they may show more correlation than causation.

Agree

– Desire to be “liked” in social media

– Texting while at dinner/meeting shows addiction/impatience

– We can be impatient when it comes to job fulfillment

Disagree

– Entitlement- more for those from upper class families?

– How many of the older generations- baby boomers, Gen X- love/are satisfied with their jobs?

– Hard to leave phone at home when expectation is to be “on call” 24/7

– Social media can help spark innovation because it provides one with knowledge of what’s “out there,” but agree that innovation can’t happen if we don’t let our minds wander

– Anxiety from other sources playing a factor?  E.g. college debt, health care costs, etc.

But the question he posed at the very beginning was “Why are Millennials tough to manage?”  The question itself implies that the issue here is with the Millennials, not with the Baby Boomer or Gen X managers.  Most of my frustrations regarding my job stems from (what I perceive to be) inefficiencies.  They’re partly because of the frustrations from the “old-school mindset” that is resistant to change- i.e. “we’ve always done it this way,” “don’t question me, I’m senior to you,” etc.  So it’s not just millienials.

LwDT: Where shall I start?

19 Jan

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Technology can be incredibly overwhelming. There is an abundance of information and I can understand that teachers find it easier just to not use it at all, or continue simply using what they know.

The issue is often where do I start. Well perhaps here could be an answer in this reflection.

1. Talk. This seems so simple, yet it is so underutilized. Professional conversations in the staff room are the best form of professional development. Find a colleague and go ask questions about what they are doing in their classrooms. The one thing I love about teachers is how willing and excited they are to share what they know. Find a few new ideas, observe them in class. This works in not only with eLearning.

2. Try new things . The benefits of technology and the flipped classroom are just endless. Commit to trying one new tool every term and don’t just use technology for presenting information. Think how is this enhancing my teaching? Use it as a teaching tool. If you run meetings think how you can use it . I use padlet to great effect.

I would love to know some of you favourite tools. Let me know how you get on.

Classroom Observations

26 Feb

Even though when are all competent and experienced teachers I am sure many of us feared being observed. Even though I have completely embraced Marzano, I feared being evaluated on my implementation. Even though I spend hours creating interactively dynamic multimedia presentations that my students LOVE, I feared having evaluators see them unfold for the class.

I don’t want to come across as big headed students really enjoy my class. Even though I love the feeling I get when I am “on stage” with my students, and they are completely engrossed in the lessons we are learning, where there is no world outside of my room anymore, and it’s just them and me on the most amazing journey towards enlightenment and growth and I know we are going places we have never been, I feared the thought of that intimate moment being observed and recorded.

I once feared the observation but in the last two years I have changed. Observations have changed. It is no longer about being ticked off. It is about popping in. Looking for various teaching techniques or management skills.

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