The Reading Room lately has been full of articles by teachers and educational consultants. But we should also be consider the wants and needs of our community. This week's article is a newspaper piece prompted by the Labour Party's Future of Work conference. It considers the economic future of our children and what education should be teaching students to empower them in the future. A hint: it's not about learning to code!
It's one of the staples of teaching - asking questions to check student understanding. The traditional imagery is of a teacher at the front of a room asking questions and students with their hands up to show they can answer.
Do you ask those with their hands up? What if they are the same one that has answered the last 4 questions? Do you invite others to answer? Do you deliberately choose those without their hands up? How agentic is this model?
Alfie Kohn has some strong feelings about all of this and recently wrote a great post called "Your hand's not raised? Too bad. I'm calling on you anyway"
Do you feel strongly about this? Have you recently made changes to how you operate with questioning students for understanding? As always, feel free to leave a comment below to add to the discussion.
For the last few years, Easter has meant the start of the school holidays. Instead, this year we just get a 5 day break then back for a few more weeks. What to do with your extra time this weekend? How about some challenging reading and reflection time?
I was extremely excited about seeing Ann Milne speak at ULearn15 last year. I had read her work years earlier so here was a chance to hear her speak in person. And boy, she did not disappoint. Anyone who saw one of her sessions was telling everyone about it either over twitter or in person for the next couple of days. We were awed, challenged and inspired by her messages.
Ann's message of critical cultural pedagogy sets out a clearly different vision than what the large majority of schools and teachers are achieving for their students. This Easter why don't you take some time to read, reflect and plan some action.
There are 2 levels of reading here. The first is a post with Alex Hotere-Barnes interviewing Ann Milne on rethinking success, the whitestream, critical pedagogy and cultural identity.
If you really want to go deeper, then the next reading is for you. It is the research report from Ann Milne's 2009 APPA Fellowship. Entitled "Colouring in the White Spaces: Cultural Identity and Learning in School" it is impossible to read without critically reflecting on your practices - as both an individual teacher and most definitely at the school level.
Hope that you enjoy the extra reading and reflection time that a term time Easter Tuesday provides! Remember to share your thoughts and reflections either with the #edchatnz tag on twitter or in the comments section below.
Tonight's #edchatnz on twitter is all about how learner agency applies to teachers. One major area that comes up for discussion about Teacher Agency regularly is around our own professional development. How much choice, voice and accountability there should be for teachers and their own professional learning.
Jackie Gerstein has written a brilliant post on this topic called: Teacher Agency: Self-Directed Professional Development. I really like the sections towards the end where various forms of professional development are mentioned, plans for implementing these new ideas and how accountable we should be for following through on these plans.
Enjoy the reading and join in the discussion at 8.30 tonight with your perspective. If you read this after the chat has occurred feel free to add your thoughts in the comments on this post.
This week is Question Week. This means that for the Reading this week I wanted to share a technique for developing student questioning abilities that has had a big influence on my teaching practice. When reading A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger I heard about the Question Formulation Technique. The article below describes the process and how it has such a powerful impact on student learning.
The last #edchatnz on February 25th was about taking social action as part of learning. There were lots of great examples of social action taking place and a godd critical discussion about how to do this well. One group of people started discussing the types of citizenship being developed when taking part in these actions.
Westheimer and Kahne have undertaken major research into the types of citizenship, how these are developed in school settings and the political implications of doing so. We all agree that developing students citizenship is important in schools but have different ideas about what this should look like. Read this article to see the consequences of what actions or citizenship you are choosing to develop with students.
(Insert favourite app/tool/device here) is the key to transforming learning!
My goal this year is to use (insert app/tool/device) more in my class!
We have all heard this said or seen it shared online by teachers. Is this the right focus? Does technology hold the key to transforming learning? John Spencer published a great article on this yesterday.
This post is one that I regularly revisit to read again and reflect on how my practice matches up. Some excerpts to help you see what Grant Wiggins has to say in this post:
From this viewpoint, the teacher is merely one resource for learning, no different from a book, a peer, an experience, or an experimental result. It is the learner who decides to try to learn (or not) from what happens. And the learner will only wish to learn and be able to learn if the conditions of learning have been optimized to make sustained engagement and understanding possible.
The learning is the center of our world, not the teaching. And until we see that we are in the business of designing and causing learning instead of merely in the business of teaching, we will fail to cause optimal learning.
After reading this I encourage you to reflect on his conditions for causing great learning
There is lots of talk about student centred practices in New Zealand schools and classrooms. A key element to becoming student centred is to have empathy for what students are experiencing in your school.
In 2 weeks time, hundreds of leaders across schools in the US are taking part in a challenge to Shadow a Student for a day. The challenge (supported by IDEO & the d.School) aims to gets school leaders to immerse themselves in student life, gain insights into student experience and take action to improve their school.
Have a read of the site, join in or work out how you could adjust this challenge to work for you in your context.
So, we are 2 weeks into the school year. New staff are integrating into the team and schools should be happy that their staff are all friendly, warm and congenial right? Well, this article, challenges that belief.
There is plenty of talk about collaboration being needed to improve educational outcomes. If we are to do this, we must become more collegial, rather than congenial, and get better at critiquing each others' practices.
This is a bit longer than the last couple of weeks' readings, so take some to digest it properly.