Wednesday, 20 January 2016

New year, new challenges (as well as some ponderings and navel gazing)

The new year is 20 days old, so not all that new anymore. Many people use New Year as the time to make resolutions - and quickly abandon these. Resolutions can be made at any time, but people seem to like to hook them onto a particular date (e.g. we celebrate 'round birthdays', but isn't every birthday worth celebrating?). I don't believe in making NY resolutions, they don't tend to work for me, but I still have some resolutions - believe in yourself, and look after yourself so you can look after others, too.

This year will be a new chapter in my learning journey, I am joining the team at Mangonui School, a fabulous school in the Doubtless Bay, Far North of New Zealand. I will be what I call a 'lead learner' in the Taniwha MLE (years 3-5), and believe me, I have LOTS to learn. It brought me to the realisation that while I have been talking about learning with and from each other for a few years now, my biggest worry is that I am not the expert, that I don't think I know everything I need to know. How do I change my own mindset??? It also made me ponder whether in my work with teachers I have done enough of the learning with & from them, or did I model 'listen to the expert and do as she says, not as she does'?? 

A couple of years ago #hackyrclass was prominent on Twitter in NZ Ed, from memory started by Steve Mouldey (@GeoMouldey). At that time I was thinking about #hackyrPLD; how can we expect teachers to change their practise if the PLD they receive perpetuates the 'sit in rows and listen to the expert at the front' approach to education? Take this the next step up and think about the PLD that facilitators receive - how can we change professional development / learning for them so they can applies this in their work with teachers?

Admittedly, traditional education has been well ingrained in society, and it takes time to change attitudes - which might lead to blending traditional with more innovative approaches to learning esp. for adults. However, this considerably slows down the change I believe is necessary in our children's education now, trickling down to them. What would students say that teachers need to know / do? The lovely +Hazel Owen and I recently pondered what would happen if students were running teacher PLD or even facilitator PLD? Wouldn't teachers benefit from all the things we always talk about, understanding the purpose of meetings / hui, workshops etc. beforehand, directing their own learning, receiving feedback, collaborating? What support would students require to set this up with teachers as their learners?

These thoughts don't extinguish my anxieties about my possible shortcomings completely, but they help me remember that I don't want to be the Sage on the Stage. I'm looking forward to the new challenges, and I'll work on believing in myself. Where are you at? What are you pondering? Are you working on changing your mindset?