Questions, Teachers and Learning Spaces…

Next year at the school of which I am privileged to call myself Principal, the College will implement two initiatives in 2013. They are:

1.      For Year 7, an inquiry based approach to cross curricular projects which result in richer, deeper learning; and,

2.      For Year 11 SOR, a blended approach to learning which results in acceleration of the cohort to sit the HSC at the end of Year 11.

These initiatives will need to be supported with:

1.      A group of teachers who are flexible, innovative and understand their role as one of coach and facilitator;

2.      Student centred pedagogy within a guided inquiry framework;

3.      Access to a reliable Learning Management System; and,

4.      Effective and efficient timetabling.

 

 

Yesterday, I sent an email to teachers. Attached to that email were plans for agile, flexible and contemporary learning spaces. The email read as follows…..

 

 

Hello All,

 

Following on from our Briefing this morning, please find attached plans for G2.

 

At this stage…..

For 6 lessons per fortnight, Rooms 4,5,17 & 18 will be used for Year 11 SOR 1.

For 12 lessons per fortnight Rooms 4, 5, 6, 16, 17 & 18 will be used for 12 lessons of Year 7 (4 x Eng. 4 x RE & 4 x HSIE) per fortnight

For 6 lessons (3 doubles) per fortnight All G2, that is rooms 4,5,6,7,15,16,17,18, will be used for Connected Learning.

 

A total of 24 lessons. Hhhmmm, what to do with the other 26 lessons per fortnight?

 

For the remaing 26 lessons, who gets first choice to use those rooms? Will everybody want to use those rooms? What happened to the teacher’s desk? Will any teacher want to use these rooms, now? What if students want to use those rooms but the teacher doesn’t? What if the teacher wants to “go in there” but their class doesn’t? What does “in there” mean? What is “in there”? And before you say, “It doesn’t worry me because that’s not my room”, should there be questions about “room ownership”? Is it more about the room or about the Learning Space? How will this Learning Space change the way I teach? If there is no teacher’s desk, am I really the teacher, or am I just another learner?

 

Dear Sir and Miss,

 


Can you please guide me as to whether or not I am asking the right questions?

 

Regards,

Greg.

PLANE, @7Mrsjames and my reflection

Yesterday, Twiiter colleague @7Mrsjames posted the following http://currentsofmyriver.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/flying-high-at-fol12.html

In response I table the following….

 

In 2009, Mark Treadwell ignited a passion to learn about a new paradigm of learning. This started my learning journey and shortly afterwards the College of which I am Principal. I really like two of your lines…

 

“To progress we must provide learning environments that challenge students thinking, ask more questions and not provide as many answers, listen more and talk less, don’t accept, be open to curiosity, explore more, fail forward and negotiate.”

 

Your call for new educators. “Educators who are willing to say “I don’t know; but boy, do I wanna learn!” Educators that are willing to take risks, to call out for help, to share resources, to support your learning as well as their own, educators who are personable and capable, persistent and innovative.”

 

For the College of which I am privileged to be Principal, our objective is to enable learning opportunities which:

·         provide students with greater autonomy and choice of

o   subject matter

o   learning methods and

o   pace of study.

·         involve students in more decision‐making processes.

·         require extensive use of digital technologies.

·         result in memorable experiences where students ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world.

 

New Educators challenging student thinking will help this to be achieved. PLANE may assist some teachers in their journey to become “new educators”.

 

@7Mrsjames, “Thanks” for the post and “thank you” for the reflection it prompted.

 

Regards,

Greg.

24/10/2012

 

Student for a Day

Do teachers or teacher leaders, ask students about their experience of learning, or do we go about our business blissfully believing that we are doing a great job? Is there anything that can be improved?

 

Don’t get me wrong, the teachers at the school of which I am principal have worked tirelessly for quite a few years now, trying to grapple with the disruption that comes with a technologically enabled learning environment. They have regularly engaged in conversation and professionally learning which attempts to address the balance between content, pedagogy and technology. Whilst this challenge sometimes turns into a struggle, there are increasing instances where the learning experience of students has improved, changed, even transformed. However, feedback from the students about their learning experience has been limited. Besides anecdotal, “We love it here” from students, data from the occasional action research project and/or the willingness of a minority of teachers to be pro-active and seek feedback, I am not sure if it is not regular for teachers to identify with the learning experience of students. In talking with colleagues from other schools, this situation appears to be the norm.  

 

It is said that if one is to truly empathise with someone else, you need to spend a day in their shoes. Well, why can’t we trial this in education? Why can’t we ask our teachers to be “student for a day”? Would it, or would it not, encourage our teachers to develop creative new ideas to complement the already good learning experience?

 

Your thoughts?

 

Greg Miller

21 October 2012

Which Advertisement and Where?

If you were responsible for advertising a pivotal position at your school, which advertisement would place in the local paper? Which advertisement would you place elsewhere? Where would elsewhere be?

 

 

TRADITIONAL AD…. TO READ SOMETHING LIKE THIS….

 

Recently, the College has undergone an expansive review of the structures which support learning at the College. This has resulted in the College adopting a new structure to support contemporary, cutting-edge learning. Pivotal to this new structure is a new promotional position known as

 

PEDAGOGY LEADER

 

Reporting directly to the Assistant Principal, TWO PEDAGOGY LEADERS will be appointed for the beginning of the 2013 school year. They will share the responsibility for the continued implementation of initiatives which support the strategic learning directions of the College and they will be responsible for leading innovative thinking and action which shapes a positive culture of student-centred learning at the College. A Pedagogy Leader is a relational person who can lead by example and show teaches ways to balance student-centred pedagogy whilst not losing sight of the outcomes mandated in current content-driven environment of NSW schools.

 

A complete role description can be found at ……

 

OR, would you place this Ad?  http://bit.ly/WDgQTE

 

I would appreciate your feedback.

 

Regards,

Greg.

Questions, questions and more questions….

At the school of which I am privileged to be Principal, a strong objective is for our students to become ‘self-directed learners’ through the provision of personalised learning. The eLearning Plan, developed in June of 2011, clearly articulates this with its overall objective of enabling learning opportunities which:

·         provide students with greater autonomy and choice of

o   subject matter

o   learning methods and

o   pace of study.

·         involve students in more decision‐making processes.

·         require extensive use of digital technologies.

·         result in memorable experiences where students ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world. 

 

To ensure our commitment to the eLearning Plan is authentic, the College will implement two initiatives in 2013. They are:

1.      For Year 7, an inquiry based approach to cross curricular projects which result in richer, deeper learning; and,

2.      For Year 11 SOR, a blended approach to learning which results in acceleration of the cohort to sit the HSC at the end of Year 11.

These initiatives will need to be supported with:

1.      A group of teachers who are flexible, innovative and understand their role as one of coach and facilitator;

2.      Student centred pedagogy within a guided inquiry framework;

3.      Access to a reliable Learning Management System; and,

4.      Effective and efficient timetabling.

 

This term of preparation for Connected Learning in 2013, needs to be one that poses as many questions as we do have answers. With an inquiry mindset I have asked those inspirational educators involved, the following questions…

 

PROGRAMS

Yes, we do need to have programs at the end of this term; however, some questions about that.

1.      How detailed do those programs need to be?

2.      Do they need to follow the same current format?

3.      By adopting an inquiry/project based framework how thorough can our programs be when we wish for student to frame their own questions?

 

TITLES

          Are you called teachers? Facilitators? Risk Takers or Experimentalists? 

          Is your primary role to be ‘guardians of knowledge’ or ‘facilitators of curiosity’? 

 

LEARNING SPACES

There needs to be an understanding of the impact of Learning Space on Learning. This may the focus for one of the days. 

          What is the Learning Centre Called?

          What is the Connected Learning program called?

          How do we ‘title’ the space and the program? Is it “Explore” in the ‘Stadium’?  Is it, “Challenge” in the ‘Coliseum/Colosseum’? A little bit too gladiatorial?

 

 

ASSESSMENT

          Is there a “Learning to Learn” aspect to Assessment?

          How can we provide the conditions to enable students to engage in develop richer learning which creates links across KLAs?

          How do we ‘break down’ the siloed approached to secondary learning?

          Do we need exams? Half-Yearly, End-of-Year exams?

 

WEB 2.0

          Are blogs, online chats and other collaborative Web 2.0 possibilities a part of the project?

          If so, can you be expected to blog?

 

WHAT QUESTIONS WOULD YOU HAVE?

APPLICATIONS FOR 21st CENTURY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

The College of which I am Principal is about to advertise for a new position. The position is a two (2) point paid known as Pedagogy Leader (PL). In fact, there will be two PLs appointed for the beginning of the 2013 school year. The PLs will be responsible for leading innovative thinking and action which shapes a positive culture of student-centred learning at the College.

 

I am just wondering…. If the two persons to be appointed are to be responsible for leading innovative thinking and action”, should we ask for a traditional application? Traditional applications require the usual covering letter, a response to selection criteria, a resume and the provision of referees. Again, if the College needs two persons who will be responsible for leading innovative thinking and action”, is it best to ask for the same old, same old” traditional application?

 

Could applicants provide a different style of application? If these persons are to be capable of “shaping a positive culture of student-centred learning”, shouldn’t they be capable of shaping their own application, an application that best supports their chances of appointment? Could it be that it is an “employee-centred application” where they exercise choice of the form, medium, and style of application?

 

Could prospective employees make their application by way of You Tube clip, iPad Application or other digital technology? Could it be a combination of hard copy and digital technology? Could they forward their application by traditional mail, email the College, forward directly to the school’s Facebook site or Direct Message (DM) the principal on Twitter?

 

Hhhhmmmm. Contemplations abound! Your thoughts?

 

Greg.