This week has been a bit excessive for my professional learning.
Aside from the usual mixture of on-the-job idea sharing and support, separate to the formal training we receive for specific school-based goals, this week I participated in three hour-long discussions and a fantastic TeachMeet held at Roseville College.
The three hour-long discussions were between educators from across the globe. The first focussed on ways to teach various facets of language and literature to students. Problem-based (or is that Project-based) Learning [PBL], teacher- v student-centred pedagogies, technology and relationships were discussed and debated at length for their value to student learning. The second delved into the misty past to discuss ways of teaching Ancient History and related topics. The third, hosted by @johnqgoh, looked at how Primary-level teachers and school leaders can embed the new K-10 History syllabus in New South Wales, Australia, to their already tight schedules.
Each of these discussions occurred on Twitter and therefore each were asynchronous at times, distillations of thoughts into short points of argument and links, and truly global in reach. Aside from increasing my PLN (personal learning network) and knowledge of so many other cultures – such as the wild and untamed veldts of the Primary sector – the ideas, resources and strategies for success and engagement provided by participants was overwhelming.
It’s fantastic to be able to engage in these conversations with teacher of all sectors, experience levels and interests in order to challenge old ideas and shape new ones on an almost minute-to-minute basis. As most historians know, perspective plays a central role in determining the ‘truth’ of history. These conversations certainly challenge and mould the ‘truths’ of our work as educators in a meaningful and provocative way.
On Thursday evening, I attended Roseville College for TeachMeet Sydney North for Term 4. This time of the year for most schools (as far as I’ve heard) can be summarised with such understated phrases as “completely exhausted”, “please..no more report comments!” and “dear God, just bring on the Christmas break.” And that’s just from the students. So to see over 30 teachers gather together to share several amazing ideas and projects they have tried out in 2012 was inspiring and will get me through the rest of term.
From Flat Rosie (a global collaboration project by Roseville College), to Space Camp with Mitchell Squires, to constructive subversion with Cameron Paterson, I was – as I always am – impressed and astonished at the creativity, passion and professionalism of my fellow TeachMeeters. The depth of knowledge and skill as teachers was only balanced by the depth of their love for their students and that makes me optimistic about the future of teaching, despite the naysayers and those afraid that technology is hindering children’s growth rather than potentially making it the stuff of our parents’ dreams.
If you have not participated in Twitter-based educational conversations or if you have not attended a TeachMeet, please get involved (and hosting one yourself is a breeze with the help of those who have already done it!)
Tuesday 8.30-9.30pm Sydney AUSTRALIA time: #ozengchat
Wednesday 8.30-9.30pm Sydney AUSTRALIA time: #histedchat
Thursday 8.45-9.45pm Sydney AUSTRALIA time: #ozprimschchat
in Sydney – http://tmsydney.wikispaces.com