One of the sessions that helped blow my mind at the #EdChatNZ conference was Alyx Gillett’s session on teaching transparently. Her idea is…
…that teaching and learning should be as open and collaborative as possible. Students, teachers, parents, faculty, colleagues and peers should be able to see and articulate not only what but how and why we are learning.
This struck a chord with me.
Last year I returned to full-time teaching after three years out of the classroom. Returning was a true baptism of fire. In the three years away I had totally dispensed with any memories of precisely how insane the workload was. I fully admit the first six months of 2013 was a real struggle trying to insert myself back into the teaching groove.
During this struggle things lapsed – particularly my planning. Pressures of time led to much ad-libbing of learning. Literacy and maths I planned well for, but other things not so well. As the year continued things did get better and I now feel I am on top of things.
These are all excuses for not doing giving my learners the opportunities they deserve, but they do provide some context as to why Alyx’s presentation had such an impact on me and my decision to change the course of what and how I am doing what I am doing.
As reflective practitioners, teachers owe it to their learners to be the best they can be. We must reflect on what we are doing and question ourselves and our practice. Is what we are doing the best for our learners? Can we do things better? If we need to reform, how do we reform?
In essence I have spent much of the last year asking the hard questions of myself through our Teaching as Inquiry professional development. Having given myself a swift boot in the pedagogy, I am determined to continue filling the gaps as I move forward.
So as part of my quest to utterly reform my teaching practice I have written a comprehensive plan for what will be coming up in the class. I’ve listed the what and the how but I’ve also asked why we will be studying what we are. Today I messaged all my students giving them access to the planning for our upcoming unit on pioneer New Zealanders. You might also want a look at it. In this new era of collaboration please do feel free to offer suggestions. Twitter has already been a great help during this planning mission. I am feeling most positive about it.
Opening yourself up in this way can be harrowing, but also cathartic. I am finding the latter to be more relevant at the present.
Enjoy your week!