Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking back in order to step forward

One of the things I like about the southern hemisphere is that the school year ends at the end of the year. This I think makes it easier (in my mind!) to look back, reflect on the year and put in place some personal/professional goals for the next year.

A few things I have learnt:

  • At the start of the year I wanted to 'flip' the classroom. As I hunted through the internet for ways to do this in the English classroom, I quickly found that the examples given were not necessarily going to work in my subject area - I couldn't upload a ppt and then go through an experiment the next day. I soon understood that the idea of 'flipping' the classroom is about handing the learning and power over to the students. This was something I could do and did do. I have to say it felt a little strange and despite putting in a lot of work at the start I suddenly felt a little redundant as I observed my students learning, exploring, creating and solving - it was AWESOME. I now think that we should not be labeling the models we use in the classroom - I no longer refer to it as 'flipping' the classroom, it is just teaching and learning taking place within a community of learners that extends beyond our 4 walls.
  • That it is always worth taking the risk and asking students to complete a survey on your teaching at the end of the unit or year. Like all teachers I would my students to achieve their potential but also enjoy the class. Giving them a survey I always find is a bit like putting your heart on a platter and hoping no-one picks at it or worse. My Year 10s wrote great stuff, yes there were a couple of negatives ( in case you are wondering the negatives were about getting work marked and back the next day!) but it is what you do with feedback that is important. My two favorite comments were "We were doing stuff no-one in the other classes were doing and it was cool, like conspiracy theories and augmented reality." and " You made us think." So take the risk and get feedback from your students 
  • Professional Development should not be a one time event but a continual process and it can be and should be inspiring, fun and of value. That the professional development should be inline with your own teacher goals and classroom practice.
This is just a few things I have learnt.

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