|Posted on 21 October, 2014 at 4:45|
Over the last few weeks, I have attended what I consider a significant amount of professional learning and as I reflect on each workshop, course and networking opportunity, I also evaluate if these workshops have had any immediate impact on my teaching and learning.
To my initial surprise, it has. I have learned to relearn. I have modified my approach to structuring my classes, my approach to engage all students and provide them with new ways to have a voice within all of my classrooms. Although many teachers may already state that they already do this, I also once claimed that I did this and I thought I did it well too. However, actively participate in professional learning provides teachers to modify current practices whilst giving them the confidence to take risks in terms of enhancing teaching and learning activities. And this, I have done. I have redesigned my class so that my students teach me. I am spending less time talking at the start of the lesson and learn from my students whom share stories of what they are doing ‘technologically’ outside of the classroom. Yes, this is modifying the way I need to teach content as time is redistributed however, with students being so eager to work afterwards, even more content is being learned. I am connecting students on interest levels and creating a mentor program within the teaching and learning environment. I am asking students to guide and facilitate my learning of new softwares and Apps that can better my teacher. I am also asking students to provide me with feedback of what I am doing well in the classroom and on areas that I need to improve on and the results overall, although in preliminary stages are astonishing.
In only a short time frame, my students are simply more engaged, more excited about coming to class and are just so keen to share their personal experiences. Moreover I am excited to hear their stories and see their expressions as they do so. Never have I ever felt so connected to my students.
As I begin planning and programming for 2015, I intend to embed this structure into my classes and share these pedagogies with other teachers. I plan to keep the conversation going by making the line between conventional verbal conversations and online conversations transparent. I would love if my students continue with the conversations that started in class to continue after hours. Moreover, I would love if they began a discussion after hours and brought it to the classroom. This is different to a Flipped Classroom arrangement as students will not be exposing themselves to new material, but enhancing the skillset that they already possess and sharing those with their peers.
I look forward to developing my pedagogical approach and learning to relearn how to be a better teacher because, if the early days are already a pre-emptive indication of success, my future classrooms will be learning environments that will do nothing else but consistently inspire.