As the day of arrival for round 2 of our AoN students drew closer, I was excited, nervous and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of something I'd heard so much about from students, their whānau,Twitter posts and conversations amongst my colleagues.
I wondered where I would fit in and what I could bring to this already highly successful team and evolving model?
I'm still trying to figure the answer to this question out as we approach our fifth week of working with our new group of students.What I know is that we have a wonderful group of learners, who are connecting, risk taking, rising to the challenge of new learning and who have chosen and are now beginning to explore their passion projects.Wow! what a wide range of diverse interest these active learners have ! It is very interesting and exciting..
Last term a student from AoN connected with me via e-mail asking for help with her passion project. I was fortunate to spend the day with the students, leaders and whānau of AoN. I felt inspired and left reflecting on the students' high level of confidence and engagement in their learning, along with the passion and enthusiasm with which they had shared their knowledge with me.
This struck home - as my own learning has been driven by passion, creativity and resilience.
I believe these traits underpin my achievements and richest experiences in life.
Reflecting on my teaching practice, I've realised that this thread of creativity, passion and resilience runs through my most effective teaching moments and is when student engagement has been high.
My teaching background is varied. I've taught at all levels and worked alongside many
wonderful teachers and leaders. Much of my teaching has been focused around The Arts and I have a particular interest in supporting all students to develop their creative potential. I also understand that there are many ways to be creative and 'creativity ' is not exclusive to, but rather inclusive of The Arts.
I have been reading with interest the changes in education and in particular the 'shift to student led learning and the need for teachers to "trust that students know what they need to learn", and for us to "let go" of the need to control all aspects of a student's learning.
Personally, I like knowing exactly what is expected of me and what I need to 'do,' so when things change and appear unclear it does get 'a little scary, uncomfortable and I need to remind myself to trust.
My perspective in teaching comes from 15 years plus of part-time teaching and working in and out of other teachers' classes. Change is part of everyday life. Working like this has taught me a lot about 'how to teach' rather that 'what you teach' and how to learn and work alongside students and other teachers. As I continue to develop my understanding of Active Learning traits and Future Focused Education with a shift from 'acquiring lots of knowledge' to 'developing a set of transferable skills' my thoughts are affirmed.
I've been viewing Ted Talks by John Hattie about "Why So Many Of Our Schools Are So Successful?" and by Grant Lichtman "What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills" , and I've learnt a new word "Cognitosphere". I've been learning about "Growth mindset vs fixed" and I've just read an interesting article online by Barbara Challenger called "Building The Future Today: The Need For Creativity In Education". She talks about "...the future..." being "...shaped by the creative talents of inspired well educated children". She goes on to define creativity as "...a process of having original ideas that have value". Involving "...the imagination, vision, taking risks and being prepared to be wrong"
as I join the team at AoN
- What will the creative process look like at AoN where students are leading, making their own decisions about their learning and are following a passion?
- What is the link between raising student achievement and creativity?
- How will students transfer skills learnt at AoN between communities ( school, home etc..)and will we see this reflected in raised student achievement?
- Will the students get what they need from the active learning model vs a curriculum led one?
- What will it be like to teach in a supportive co-teaching environment instead of alone?
So many questions
So much to read...
So much to learn...
And now to answer,
" why would you?
Simply another question...
"Why would you not?"