Summary Of My Postgraduate Learning Journey & Plan For The Future

Three areas of the Practising Teacher Criteria I believe I have met well over the past 32 weeks are:

Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.

Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.

Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.

Over the past  32 weeks of my learning journey, I know that I have shown leadership that has contributed to effective teaching and learning at my school.  I have actively contributed to the professional learning of my learning community by initiating and running professional development sessions for teachers, primarily on and around blogging.  I have also shared professional readings/videos and shared ideas from the postgraduate course I am on.  

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 6.47.32 pm.pngI have introduced staff and students to Carol Dweck and what it means to have a ‘growth mindset’ to be an effective teacher/learner.  In my class, each student can tell you where their mindset is and where they want to shift it to.  Being able to know our weaknesses and be able to share them with others, is another way I have shown I am able to foster trust and respect among my ākonga/learners.

In recognition of our Maori learners needing to develop their student’s voice, blogging was reintroduced as one tool to help achieve this. With collaboration with professionals, both inside and outside of school, I was able to form the inquiry question:  

“Can blogging improve the strength of a student’s voice when given authentic opportunities to identify their interests, direct their own learning and receive feedback from peers and the wider community?”  (Hills, 2015)

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 7.07.23 pmThis inquiry was presented to members of the community for feedback and after review, it was agreed that blogging was to be embedded in our learning programme.  This inquiry was also reviewed by an academic who awarded me 92% due to the detailed and structured proposal put forward.  With the pedagogy available to support how blogging could support student agency, and a clear implementation plan put forward, they felt I had clearly identified how blogging would engage students, parents and teachers to improve levels of engagement (Hills, 2016).

Throughout the past 32 weeks, I have worked collaboratively with my peers, my students and outside providers, with the one aim, to raise student achievement for all.  I have utilised my social media network to help me grow my understanding.  I have started a discussion group on the use of Chromebooks on the VLN Network and made many new connections with professionals using Twitter and Facebook, as well as utilising my connections through my postgraduate course with The MindLab in Petone.  It has been a fun fuelled year and it does not stop here.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 9.07.15 pm

My two main goals for my future development in direct relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria will be to focus on:

Criteria 3: Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.

I feel like I have opened a door and want to walk through it in relation to my commitment to the bicultural partnership between Maori and Pakeha.  I want to hold a better understanding in my head about the history of this partnership that goes beyond knowing the three ‘Ps’ (protection, partnership and participation).  I want to at every opportunity make connections to similarities and differences, so students know their cultures and what makes them unique, but also how they can work alongside others with empathy and understanding.

I work at a culturally diverse school and feel I am only scratching the surface when it comes to responding effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.  I will be asking my school to provide me with professional development that really hones in on implementing teaching approaches, using resources, technologies, and learning and assessment activities that are inclusive and effective for diverse ākonga/learners.  I have already shown I am able to modify my teaching approaches, so this type of professional development will really help me move my practice forward, benefiting the students that I teach.

What I have without a doubt learnt over the past 32 weeks of attending my course at The MindLab is the need to continually be looking for ways to improve and refine my practice while keeping an open mind.   I have also set a goal to complete a Masters in e-Learning so I am able to earn a specialist qualification in the use of digital technologies for teaching and learning purposes.

 

“Professional development processes share a common goal: improved practice.”  

                                                            Ostermand & Kottkamp (1993, p 12)

After completing my postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) I can honestly say that the professional development has been rigorous and has without a doubt improved my practice.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 8.47.43 pm
Click For More Information!

 

 

References:

Hills, C.  (2016).  Develop a reflective portfolio: Identify and engage with relevant community or communities in the formation of specific research questions. Address the potential impact of findings. Retrieved on 12 March 2016 from https://app.themindlab.com/media/17517/view

Hills, C.  (2015).  VLN:  Using Chromebooks to record student voice (26 replies).   Retrieved on 10 March 2016 from  http://www.vln.school.nz/discussion/view/945704

Ministry of Education (nd). Practising Teacher Criteria and e-learning. Retrieved on 13 March 2016 from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning

Ostermand, K. & Kottkamp, R.  (1993).  Improving Schooling Through Professional Development.  Retrieved on 10 March 2016 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files/RefPract/Osterman_Kottkamp_extract.pdf

Innovation That Doesn’t Come In A Pill….

Innovation in education can be described as teachers trying new ways of doing things to make learning more exciting and relevant for their students.  This is no easy feat, it is not something that you can maintain if you have not put some thought and sound pedagogy behind the innovation.

1MindLab

Last year  I think there was part of me that felt something was missing in my teaching. I was learning a lot with the in house professional development on offer, which was great, but I was hungry for more.   I needed to be inspired by a way of thinking so profound, that it would move my teaching to the next level, and in doing so, give me ways to inspire my students to push themselves harder.

I remember looking through an IT magazine at work and circling a course that I thought might be good for me.  It promised those that undertook the study they would be armed with contemporary digital and collaborative teaching practices. How innovative I thought, just what I need. However, when I got to the bottom of the pamphlet and reviewed the cost, I knew it was out of my reach.  But, I circled it anyway, ripped it out of the book, and took it home.

So what’s all the fuss about innovation and being innovative?  We are now preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist.  Many of the jobs that students would have picked up when they leave school, are slowly being filled due to technological advances; jobs once filled by humans are now being done by robots.  In Japan they have a hotel called Henn-na Hotel in Sasebo, Japan. completely run by robots!   So what do teachers do to help our kids prepare for a life in the 21st Century?  We need to innovate, do things differently, and not give up just because it didn’t work out the first time.  After all, perseverance is an important quality!

To be innovative you have to be prepared to go places where you don’t know what the outcome will be.  Answers often only revealing themselves to you as you stumble down the path.   I often get told “You’re a teacher, you should know!”  Well guess what, I don’t know everything, and certainly don’t purport to know everything either.  What I do have however, is an open mind set and a willingness to learn.

It just so happens, I was to receive an email from my Deputy Principal inquiring if I was interested in taking on a Postgraduate Course.  Well knock me down with a feather, I could not believe my eyes….. it was the very course I had wanted to go on a few months back.   If I was accepted I would be given the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), and as an added bonus they were offering scholarships!

So that you don’t die from suspense, yes I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship, which has allowed me to get ‘innovative’ in my classroom, and provide my school with an innovative resource –  me!

I’m not going to pretend that the course is easy. The workload is heavy but I am okay with this because everything I learn can be used in my classroom, and disseminated across the school.   It requires me to open my mind to possibilities that I had not considered before, and in the process I have reached out to people that before this course, I would have felt to shy to do so.  Oh the joy of being around like-minded people!

Our students need teachers who are willing to take on the 21st Century skills and find innovative ways of teaching them.  This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world.  This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world.    

Gone are the days of standing up the front of the class. But we won’t get me started on that….. another time… another post……

class