Friday, 2 October 2015

Activity 2: Reflection on Learning and Practice


What have I learned from this course?

As a person who is always keen to learn new ways of doing things and how I can be a better teacher, I was really excited to embark on this course this year. I was looking forward to learning new things to share with my students and colleagues, being challenged, meeting like-minded teachers and having fun... and this course has really delivered all of these things.  

Three things I learnt about myself as a learner:


Learning Modality
Whilst I always thought of myself as more of a visual learner, I have found that I enjoyed the combination of learning approaches provided during this course - visual, auditory and kinesthetic (Powell, 2013, p.62).  In particiular, the kinesthetic approach (which I usually cringe at the thought of) of being able to try out new things during the hands-on sessions in the course, such as the 3D printing, making videos, performing skits, whilst was uncomfortable at times, was also a lot of fun and I felt proud and accomplished when I rose to the challenge.


Collaboration
I have also enjoyed being able to collaborate with others on tasks and assignments.  This learning style, although one that I use in all the time in my classroom, is a very different approach to the learning and teaching that I grew up with in school and university.  It is great to be able to be the student and appreciate how effective for learning it is.  To be able to discuss concepts, issues, tasks, problems etc with my colleagues has been a powerful way to learn and it has been invaluable listening to different perspectives and reasonings (Hargreaves, 2007 p.188).


Assessment and Reflection
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to present assignments in a different way other than the traditional essay.  As a visual learner, it is much more satisfying for me to be able to put my thoughts and findings together in a visual way with images, tables, animations etc.  It has helped me with my learning and absorption of the information and concepts we have learnt about.  It has underlined to me that this type of assessment is a valid and valuable way to assess students in the 21st Century.  I have also become more reflective, although this is one of my biggest challenges.  As a teacher I am always reflecting, however I am not so good at analysing these reflections and taking 
                            action.  I still have a long way to go but this course has forced me to 
                            acknowledge and face this weakness.  

Changes in my Practice.


Taking more risks
I have never been afraid to take risks in my teaching.  I have often put my hand up at school to trial new things, eg trialling iPads when they first came out, using blogs as a platform for e-portfolios, running a classroom as a MLE, but this year I have been inspired, partly by things I have seen on this course to try new things and take more risks.  The biggest risk for most teachers is to let go of the learning control in the classroom.  This is what we have been doing in our classroom for the last term and a half - we have been running a SDL (Self-Directed Learning) programme.  It jas been very challenging for both students and teachers but it has also been very liberating and exciting. Looking                             more deeply into teaching approaches such as the Flipped Classroom, Blended 
                            Classroom, Inquiry-Led Leanrning etc has really informed my practice and led 
                            me to experiment with some opf these concepts, especially the Flipped 
                            Classroom (Bergman & Sams, 2012).


  Awareness of Mindsets
  This year I have been introduced to Carol Dweck's concept of Growth Mindsets     (Dweck, 2006), initially through a collegue at school and then through this 
  course.  It is a concept that has really appealed to me as I have had a number 
  of very capable students over the years who have been limited by, what I now 
  know is, a fixed mindset. Being aware of this and sharing this concept with the 
  students has been a big aha moment for me and will hopefully help those fixed 
  mindset students become more able to take risks, persevere and develop as 
  learners.

   
 Awareness as a Leader Over the last few years I have been taking on more leadership roles in school 
 and this has led to some leadership PD, but not alot. I think this is a failing in    our education system, that we are putting people in leadership roles but not  necessarily giving them enough PD and assistance to help them in these roles.  I enjoyed the leadership aspect of this course.  It has made me analyse and  reflect on my own leadership style and the type of leader I want to be.    


References

Bergmann, J. & Sams, A. (2012). Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.
Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education. https://books.google.co.nz/books?isbn=1564844684

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Random House.


Hargreaves, E. (2007). The validity of collaborative assessment for learning.Assessment in Education14(2), 185-199.


Powell, S.D. (2005). Excerpt from Introduction to Middle School. 

                 Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/learning-modalities/




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