Posts Tagged “musings”

[note: this was originally posted April 30, 2008 -- back when I apparently used to blog more often. I'm resuscitating it as part of a #edublogBT meme begun by Jon Becker]

All this talk about writing, grade books, and “the unthinking habits of grading” has given me so much to think about. My mind is swimming.

The thing is, I think about this stuff all the time. It is only recently, after reading hoards of comments and postings (and all the bits in between) that I begin to understand my naivety. Or is it ignorance? (Hint: not everyone thinks about this stuff all the time.)


First, a bit of background, for the sake of context

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and attended Catholic, publicly funded schools. The teachers I had, with two notable exceptions1, all used criterion-referenced assessment to grade my work. I always (other than with the two notable exceptions) knew how I was being graded, even if they did average my scores and turn them into percentages. I graduated from an unusual work-at-your-own-pace high school in 1992.2

After completing an English Lit degree on the West coast, I entered Education. I did not realize at the time (1997) that the program I was in was progressive compared to most Ed programs out there. Thinking, ignorantly, that what I learned was what all teachers-to-be learned, I eagerly entered the world of K-12 education, armed with what I thought was Everything A Beginning Teacher Should Know.

One Epiphany (of many)

Fast-forward to 2001: I entered the realm of international education, working at an MYP school. Before this moment, what I knew about MYP could have filled an ant’s mouth. Sitting in an MYP training session, my then-mentor flashed the subject-specific criteria for Language A (MYP’s equivalent to English Language Arts) on a projector screen.

Thought #1: “Hey, that’s cool! That’s the same criteria my grade 7 teacher used to grade my writing, and it’s the same criteria I have always used to assess student work.”

[insert hmms and haws of other training participants here, as they ponder the criteria on the screen]

Thought #2: “Wait… doesn’t everyone use this?”

It wasn’t long after Thought #2 occurred that I learned the answer: No, not everyone is using this. Plenty of conversation and interaction with my then-colleagues (from various backgrounds in education, as expected in an international setting) taught me that what I had taken for granted my entire (short) life was indeed not “the norm.”

The Interim and a Confession

Over the past 7 years, plenty more colleagues, students, and their parents have shown me that other ways of assessing are indeed rife and plentiful. Just yesterday I engaged in three different conversations with three different families about this very topic (parent conferences were timely). Witness a verbatim quote from one of those discussions:

“Wow, this is so different from what we’re used to. You mean you want your students to come show you their work before they finish? You won’t take points off?”

[I won't even get into the connotations implied by the use of the words "want", "before", and "points."]

Don’t get me wrong — I do not think the same way about this issue as I did 10 or even 3 years ago. I have learned more than I can express on this small page about how to assess meaningfully. I have spent many, many teacher days fantasizing about not assessing at all, and like Dana Huff, I still have those days. I am guilty, in past years, of assigning my students the most boring five-paragraph essay you’ve ever read, just so I could be bored to death reading it and they could be bored to death writing it.

A Question … and Answers?

I have offered some of my thoughts about assessment before — indeed, the reason I initially began this blog was to reflect on what I was learning in an IBO PD course on MYP Objectives and Assessment. Now, having learned so much, I feel my philosophy of assessment is still evolving, and I do think long and hard about why I assess my students’ work and how I do it.

(And, please know that I mention MYP only because I feel it is one of the best educational systems out there for student learning. Is it the only one? No. Are there others that do the same? Yes. Is it just about best practice? Yes.)

So here’s the thing: I know there are other methods of assessment. I know about them well enough because I took the required courses in university, and I have seen them used in classrooms. But here’s what I still don’t understand — and please don’t mistake this for a rhetorical question:

Why are we still using them? (Do they facilitate learning?)

I’m starting, today, with just this question about criterion-referenced assessment, but know that I’m not limiting my thoughts to only this aspect of assessment. I anticipate that those thoughts — and more questions — will follow as my assessment philosophy further evolves.


Mid-evolution

So far, here is what I believe. Assessment is…

  • primarily for learning; the assessment of learning is secondary.
  • real and not “fabricated” just to put a number on a paper or in a box.
  • goal-focused, and those goals should be based on where the students are at in their learning.
  • varied, with a wide variety of opportunities given for students to reach their goals.
  • frequent and woven into every aspect of what we do, while we are learning. (I am uncomfortable with the thought of students being either too excited or filled with dread at the mention of assessment; I want my students to see assessment as something we do all the time.)
  • part of the natural learning process, not something tacked onto the end.
  • not driven by reporting terms, boxes that need to be filled, administrative software, or any other nonsense that has nothing to do with the learner.
  • applied when needed for learning, and not at calendar dates specified a year in advance.

1Okay, so really it was three notable exceptions. And they were notable because they were exceptionally bad teachers. I’m not naming names, it’s water under the bridge, yadda-yadda-yadda — and the truth is I learned many life lessons from these poor teachers.

2The dates are important, because I refuse to believe that the concept of criterion-referenced assessment is “new” and “progressive“. The dates, although applicable only to my personal experience and not bodies of research, further give credence to my personal belief that education is painfully, mind-bogglingly slow to change.

Photo Credits: Nice Hat by cwalkatron; Question mark by Leo Reynolds

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From Clark and Salomon (1986):

General media comparisons and studies pertaining to their overall instructional impact have yielded little that warrants optimism. Even in the few cases where dramatic changes in achievement or ability were found to result from the introduction of a medium such as television, . . .  it was not the medium per se that caused the change, but rather the curricular reform that its introduction enabled.

I am Here for the Learning Revolution by Wesley Fryer
Attribution-ShareAlike License

This is why, in my opinion, the state of education is so sucky today. Our (educators’) use of technology for learning is hampered by the glass ceiling of curriculum. Only when the curriculum changes will dramatic changes in learning occur. Currently, too many schools are trying to fit square pegs into round holes; that is, teachers are using fabulous technology (IWBs, Tablet PCs, iPod Touch, VoiceThread, and more) to teach curriculum that is still content-based.

These technologies should be reforming curriculum. Why aren’t they?

How can we move this forward? How can we change curricula so that it allows teachers and students “dramatic change”? What is standing in the way, and how can we overcome this obstacle?

Clark, R.E., & Salomon, G. (1986). Media in teaching. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd ed., pp.464-478). New York: Macmillan.

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From Clark and Salomon (1986):

General media comparisons and studies pertaining to their overall instructional impact have yielded little that warrants optimism. Even in the few cases where dramatic changes in achievement or ability were found to result from the introduction of a medium such as television, . . .  it was not the medium per se that caused the change, but rather the curricular reform that its introduction enabled.

I am Here for the Learning Revolution by Wesley Fryer
Attribution-ShareAlike License

This is why, in my opinion, the state of education is so sucky today. Our (educators’) use of technology for learning is hampered by the glass ceiling of curriculum. Only when the curriculum changes will dramatic changes in learning occur. Currently, too many schools are trying to fit square pegs into round holes; that is, teachers are using fabulous technology (IWBs, Tablet PCs, iPod Touch, VoiceThread, and more) to teach curriculum that is still content-based.

These technologies should be reforming curriculum. Why aren’t they?

How can we move this forward? How can we change curricula so that it allows teachers and students “dramatic change”? What is standing in the way, and how can we overcome this obstacle?

Clark, R.E., & Salomon, G. (1986). Media in teaching. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd ed., pp.464-478). New York: Macmillan.

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Stay Warm by Erik Charlton
Attribution License

Frank gives us a few web resources now and then that he wants us to look at; whether for inspiration or understanding, I’m unsure. Whatever the case, they are usually interesting reading / viewing, and probably things I would not find myself were I surfing around on the ‘net. Communication Arts magazine has reviewed many different kinds of interaction designs, and given awards to a few. They’re worth checking out, if for no other reason than just to see some of the new, cool, hot designs on the market these days — everything from web design to physical spaces. I’ve been bouncing around their site, looking at different designs and trying to understand what makes them “good.” While sometimes that is obvious, what I find even more fascinating than the designs themselves are the responses to the question CA mag asks of the designer:

What was the most challenging aspect of the project?

Some responses: (emphasis mine)

  • “The most challenging part of this project was keeping it simple, staying true to the core ideas and avoiding ‘feature creep.’ . . . I had to stay focused on the original goal—not reinventing the wheel but rather enhancing it.” Sebastian Bettencourt, art director/writer/interface designer/information architect/project design and development, Beyond The Fold
  • “One of the primary challenges to designing TokBox was understanding and embracing user interactions that are unique to live video calling.” Chris Fox, design director, TokBox
  • For the Loudspeaker team, the big challenge was caring for the original idea—amplifying the voice of a great cause—as we built the site.” Scott Brown, creative director, The LoudspeakerSite
  • It was a challenge to keep each individual story entertaining and short (there were many ideas that were thrown out because they were too long or just not fun to watch).” Trevor Van Meter, creative director; Luke Lutman, Flash programmer; and Brian McBrearty, composer, Crappy Cat

And this question:

Did you learn anything new during the process?

Responses:

  • “I learned that inspiration comes from experience. It comes from rethinking everyday activities and from reconsidering everyday interactions.” Sebastian Bettencourt, art director/writer/interface designer/information architect/project design and development of Beyond The Fold
  • “One of the first things we had to face was the huge risk of that transparency, and what it really meant. No approvals. No editing. In the end, it was actually freeing to give up all control to the audience.” Gary Koepke and Lance Jensen, executive creative directors, Modernista!

This has got me wondering about how design influences learning. How conscious are educators of keeping it simple, staying true to the original goals, giving students experiences (rather than instruction), and giving up control to the users? How would schools be different if we did all of this, all of the time? Would there still be schools? If so, what would they look like?

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It’s a term, and nothing more. Here is what I think is most important: IT IS NOTHING NEW.

“edupunk is student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced, and underwritten by a progressive political stance. . . . Edupunk, it seems, takes old-school Progressive educational tactics–hands-on learning that starts with the learner’s interests–and makes them relevant to today’s digital age, sometimes by forgoing digital technologies entirely.”

-definition provided by Stephen Downes

I have seen it discussed in flurries on Twitter. I have read Jim Groom’s original post, where he coined the term. I have followed some of my favorite bloggers’ posts about the term, and found some new ones, too. I saw a student‘s take on it (insightful, as usual) and I have seen the much discussed stub on Wikipedia. I’ve done my research. I was even invited to share all the best “edupunk” ideas I use regularly (though I had to respectfully decline). I’ve seen all the hype and I just can’t shake the feeling that we have seen this all before.

With all respect to Andy Rush — I know, I know, maybe I shouldn’t take it all so seriously. After all, Jim Groom just seems like a crazy dude with a love for technology and learning. But here’s the thing: lots of other educators (and students) out there ARE taking it seriously. And it’s turning into a bunch of hoopla.

Good educators have been creating “student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced” learning experiences for centuries. It is JUST GOOD PRACTICE. Let’s assume we are all well-read, well-versed educators who have studied the theory as well as had the experience. We have all read Piaget, Skinner, Postman, and Montessori. We have been teaching our students (maybe even through trial and error? God forbid!) and we have learned what works best. We know that “hands-on learning that starts with the learner’s interests–and makes them relevant” is the best — whether that includes digital technologies or not. So why do we need to label it something other than what it is already? It is already GOOD PRACTICE. To paraphrase Tina Turner (who definitely was not punk): What’s punk got to do with it?

I agree with Warlick when he says:

The term is important . . . because it associates with people’s images of themselves and what they do. . .

Edupunk as Portal comments, in reply to Stephen Downes

And although Warlick thinks it’s a good term because it gets people’s attention, we have to recognize that perhaps “punk” is not how all educators see themselves and what they do. This is, I think, what Mrs. Durff was getting at in her comment about it being a “distasteful” term. If I do all the things that are considered “edupunk,” why do I have to be called this? Can’t I just be called a creative teacher? I don’t feel “punk” and I don’t really want to be “punk,” for that matter. I just want to be a good (if not great) educator who does what’s best for her students and their learning.

Like Gardner Campbell, I am skeptical of this term. I agree with him when he says,

There was DIY long before punk, and long after.

Yes, it has sparked some interesting discussion, but will it change anything? David Gran thinks all this debate is furthering our understanding of eduators’ relationships to the global community via technology. I can’t agree with that. I think my understanding of relationships to and within the global community will continue to be fostered and developed without this misnomer. I fear this new term will be the measuring stick for our future educational endeavors. Will we be asking ourselves at every new lesson, assessment task, or faculty meeting, “Are we edupunk enough?” Do we really want this?

I can understand and take into consideration the true spirit that the term embodies, and I can see the creative vibes that it originated out of. That’s all fine and good — and perhaps Jim Groom never intended it to go this far. But I’ve already decided that I don’t really want the term “edupunk” to be how I am described as an educator, for reasons I’ve outlined above. Nevertheless, I do have a few genuine questions:

Insightful Question #1:

I have to wonder if the reason why this term gained such ground in the post-secondary edublogosphere is because post-secondary institutions traditionally have not been hotbeds of ultra-progressive, uber-hip, pedagogically sound teaching and learning. (FLASHBACK: I can count on one hand the number of professors I had who actually were good teachers. I distinctly recall one professor who gave entire lectures standing in one spot, reading from the textbook, pausing between pages to look at the ceiling — we all wondered if he was signalling to the mothership.)

This situation, that is the lack of effective teaching in universities, is of course changing. Many university professors are now actually (gasp!) certified teachers with B.Ed.s and the like. But I wonder how many university professors (outside of the Faculty of Education) have spent time in a kindergarten classroom? That’s where the REAL D.I.Y., hands-on, teaching and learning happens, ladies and gentlemen — we all have MUCH to learn from these very talented KG teachers, and I daresay more high school and university educators would benefit by spending some time in their classrooms.

Insightful Question #2:

If “edupunk” is anti-establishment and anti-corporation, does that mean a true Edupunk does not use any tools provided by large-scale companies? So does that mean no Google? no Flickr? no QuickTime? Alas – these are all tools provided by corporations. Does my using them mean I am succumbing to corporate interests? What about my association with and work for the IBO? They are a non-profit organization but still a recognized “brand.” Yet they are an organization that I believe represents learning needs and goals of students around the world, in the most open-minded way possible.

Image credits:

[This post has been cross-posted at Pockets Of Change.]

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“For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it. . . . For every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will ever wonder if there is a better way. For every nine people who stand in line in front of a locked building, only one will ever come around and check the back door.

“Our progress as a species rests squarely on the shoulders of that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value.” -Za Rinpoche and Ashley Nebelsieck, in The Backdoor to Enlightenment (Three Leaves)

The pessimistic side of me wants to say that in schools, the proportion is probably one out of every twenty, or perhaps even higher. But that’s just me being whiny.

What this book excerpt reminds me of:

  • Ian Jukes’s Committed Sardine metaphor
  • about 203,094,820 faculty meetings I’ve been to where one person speaks out about doing something differently, and gets verbally crucified
  • the feeling I have after I finish a really good yoga session, when I have the most clarity about what I determine as valuable for myself

Questions I have:

  • Is it in a person’s nature to be that 10th person? Or can one learn to question and be curious?
  • How long before that 10th person becomes tired of always being “the only one” who’s encouraging innovation, asking if there’s a better way, and going around to the back door? How many times before s/he gives up?
  • What would happen if the proportions shifted? What if, in a group of 10, there were 4 people who were always asking the questions and finding new ways of doing things? What would that look like?
  • Should leaders in our schools be the 10th person?

Photo credit: Mozzer502

Comments 7 Comments »

All this talk about writing, grade books, and “the unthinking habits of grading” has given me so much to think about. My mind is swimming.

The thing is, I think about this stuff all the time. It is only recently, after reading hoards of comments and postings (and all the bits in between) that I begin to understand my naivety. Or is it ignorance? (Hint: not everyone thinks about this stuff all the time.)


First, a bit of background, for the sake of context

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and attended Catholic, publicly funded schools. The teachers I had, with two notable exceptions1, all used criterion-referenced assessment to grade my work. I always (other than with the two notable exceptions) knew how I was being graded, even if they did average my scores and turn them into percentages. I graduated from an unusual work-at-your-own-pace high school in 1992.2

After completing an English Lit degree on the West coast, I entered Education. I did not realize at the time (1997) that the program I was in was progressive compared to most Ed programs out there. Thinking, ignorantly, that what I learned was what all teachers-to-be learned, I eagerly entered the world of K-12 education, armed with what I thought was Everything A Beginning Teacher Should Know.

One Epiphany (of many)

Fast-forward to 2001: I entered the realm of international education, working at an MYP school. Before this moment, what I knew about MYP could have filled an ant’s mouth. Sitting in an MYP training session, my then-mentor flashed the subject-specific criteria for Language A (MYP’s equivalent to English Language Arts) on a projector screen.

Thought #1: “Hey, that’s cool! That’s the same criteria my grade 7 teacher used to grade my writing, and it’s the same criteria I have always used to assess student work.”

[insert hmms and haws of other training participants here, as they ponder the criteria on the screen]

Thought #2: “Wait… doesn’t everyone use this?”

It wasn’t long after Thought #2 occurred that I learned the answer: No, not everyone is using this. Plenty of conversation and interaction with my then-colleagues (from various backgrounds in education, as expected in an international setting) taught me that what I had taken for granted my entire (short) life was indeed not “the norm.”

The Interim and a Confession

Over the past 7 years, plenty more colleagues, students, and their parents have shown me that other ways of assessing are indeed rife and plentiful. Just yesterday I engaged in three different conversations with three different families about this very topic (parent conferences were timely). Witness a verbatim quote from one of those discussions:

“Wow, this is so different from what we’re used to. You mean you want your students to come show you their work before they finish? You won’t take points off?”

[I won't even get into the connotations implied by the use of the words "want", "before", and "points."]

Don’t get me wrong — I do not think the same way about this issue as I did 10 or even 3 years ago. I have learned more than I can express on this small page about how to assess meaningfully. I have spent many, many teacher days fantasizing about not assessing at all, and like Dana Huff, I still have those days. I am guilty, in past years, of assigning my students the most boring five-paragraph essay you’ve ever read, just so I could be bored to death reading it and they could be bored to death writing it.

A Question … and Answers?

I have offered some of my thoughts about assessment before — indeed, the reason I initially began this blog was to reflect on what I was learning in an IBO PD course on MYP Objectives and Assessment. Now, having learned so much, I feel my philosophy of assessment is still evolving, and I do think long and hard about why I assess my students’ work and how I do it.

(And, please know that I mention MYP only because I feel it is one of the best educational systems out there for student learning. Is it the only one? No. Are there others that do the same? Yes. Is it just about best practice? Yes.)

So here’s the thing: I know there are other methods of assessment. I know about them well enough because I took the required courses in university, and I have seen them used in classrooms. But here’s what I still don’t understand — and please don’t mistake this for a rhetorical question:

Why are we still using them? (Do they facilitate learning?)

I’m starting, today, with just this question about criterion-referenced assessment, but know that I’m not limiting my thoughts to only this aspect of assessment. I anticipate that those thoughts — and more questions — will follow as my assessment philosophy further evolves.


Mid-evolution

So far, here is what I believe. Assessment is…

  • primarily for learning; the assessment of learning is secondary.
  • real and not “fabricated” just to put a number on a paper or in a box.
  • goal-focused, and those goals should be based on where the students are at in their learning.
  • varied, with a wide variety of opportunities given for students to reach their goals.
  • frequent and woven into every aspect of what we do, while we are learning. (I am uncomfortable with the thought of students being either too excited or filled with dread at the mention of assessment; I want my students to see assessment as something we do all the time.)
  • part of the natural learning process, not something tacked onto the end.
  • not driven by reporting terms, boxes that need to be filled, administrative software, or any other nonsense that has nothing to do with the learner.
  • applied when needed for learning, and not at calendar dates specified a year in advance.

1Okay, so really it was three notable exceptions. And they were notable because they were exceptionally bad teachers. I’m not naming names, it’s water under the bridge, yadda-yadda-yadda — and the truth is I learned many life lessons from these poor teachers.

2The dates are important, because I refuse to believe that the concept of criterion-referenced assessment is “new” and “progressive“. The dates, although applicable only to my personal experience and not bodies of research, further give credence to my personal belief that education is painfully, mind-bogglingly slow to change.

Photo Credits: Nice Hat by cwalkatron; Question mark by Leo Reynolds

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My reports were due this morning at 8:30.  They’re not done.  And they probably won’t be until Monday.  There, that’s my confession.  Actually, I’m not feeling any guilt about this but it is surprising how many teachers I’ve mentioned this to in the last 24 hours who have responded with a gasp of surprise.

“Really?  When are you gonna do them?”

The truth is I will probably get them all done this weekend, but not because I think they should be done this weekend.  I’ll get them done this weekend because someone is telling me they have to get done.  And thus, I must ask, Is this a good reason to write reports?  Just because they “have to be done”?  We are writing them because it is an appropriate time for the organization (i.e., the school) but is it an appropriate time for our students?

Fact:  right now, on this date, is not an appropriate time for me to be giving grades for every student.  Some kids are having difficulty figuring out what’s been happening in our new unit.  Others are right smack-dab in the middle of a major autobiographical writing assignment.  And others have hardly given me enough evidence for me to arrive at a grade.

About a month ago I was considering sending home a handful (maybe 10) progress reports on some of my students — some reporting good news, others reporting the not-so-good, or some changes.  I was warned that a progress report, because it goes into the students’ permanent file, was “too serious” for reporting on some of the things that I had wanted to say.  Too serious?  So, like, where should I report it, then? 

Option A: wait until the quarter report (i.e., now)

Option B: send an e-mail / call parents (less formal, just a heads-up but not “written in stone”)

Option C: write the report anyway

I chose Option C, primarily because I felt that at that moment was the appropriate time to let parents know how their child was doing. 

So now I have all this marking and reporting looming in front of me, and I’m sad that all of it is just to arrive at a number to go in a box on a piece of paper.  There are days that I fantasize about teaching and learning without formal assessment.  I know it’s completely unrealistic and that learning must be guided by assessment (I KNOW this), but sometimes I like to fantasize.  Can you forgive this Piscean dreamer teacher?

 And on that note, I will now immerse myself in Twelfth Night stage ideas (pretty funny), original short stories (some funny, some sad, most good), and drawings of Roald Dahl characters (absolutely hilarious).  At least it will be interesting!

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Having just returned from two back-to-back trips, I am now in contemplative mode before the craziness of the school week sets in. Trip 1: a conference for international educators in the East-Asia region. Trip 2: a vacation on the wonderful island of Bali, a paradise for so many reasons. (I will stop there lest I begin to wax lyrical about this inspiring land, as I realize plenty of others have already done this, so I really don’t need to. Plus, it could honestly take up another blog site altogether. Or a book, even.)

Trip 1 gave me plenty of insight into the world of education, particularly international education, and was a good “refresher” of both the positives and the negatives about being in this world.

Positives:

  • There are some super cool things going on out there, for lack of better wording (and, well, it’s late here in Hanoi, and I’m bone-tired). Cool things like Jeff Utecht‘s talk about the movement of connectivism and such. I hope lots of teachers — and administrators to boot — were paying attention to him, particularly to his bits focused on the philosophy and theory rather than the nuts-and-bolts of RSS. While both are useful and necessary, the former is more revolutionary to the world of education than the latter, I believe.
  • There are some super cool people out there, and lots of them happen to be educators. I know lots of other super cool people too, and have found myself wondering why they aren’t educators, too. Hmmm…
  • I’m happy to see a dynamic duo coming together, even if in name rather than philosophy. I’m talking here about the IBO and EARCOS. Too often organizations like EARCOS seem (to me, at least) so overly focused on American schools overseas, which most IB schools are not. Props to both organizations for coming together.

Negatives:

  • Sadly, there are still too many educators who are teaching in traditional classrooms. I went to at least 5-too-many sessions led by professionals (many who have been in education longer than I have been alive, and I’m 33) who think about school as a place where students sit within 4 walls and at desks. When can we move away from this?
  • There are also a number of educators, from all backgrounds, ages, and disciplines, who think that all this “IT stuff” is about technology. There were a few tense moments for me when I wanted to jump up and shout, amongst 45 or so of my peers, “It’s not about the technology!” but I refrained, mostly because I am just tired of explaining it to those who don’t get it.
  • The staff at the Shangri-La had a difficult time remembering that I was actually staying in room 303. I was beginning to think that no one ever stayed in that room, or that it did not exist, or perhaps only existed in some strange 5-star hotel bad-karma vortex. Long story, but it was a pain in the neck.

Trip 2 – oh, there is always plenty of insight to be had when one is on vacation, isn’t there? :-) I won’t share it all with you, as most of it is journalled anyway, but I will share one particularly intriguing and relevant find:

The Green School.

I am really intrigued by this school. I have to admit, at first I was skeptical, thinking it was just another international school start-up by some over-zealous businessman. My partner showed me the advertisement in an edition of the Bali Advertiser, and I kind of shrugged it off at first. But he persisted, and upon our return to Hanoi, urged me to check out their website.

WOW.

I am rather floored, to be honest. And I was so very wrong! What a wonderful, innovative, forward-thinking and un-school-ish idea they have for their sustainable, eco-conscious, whole-child oriented school. Their school is definitely on my watch list, and I daresay that I would love to stop by and visit the next time I am in Bali. They have a unique vision and philosophy, one that I dearly hope more schools latch on to, and not just by lip service. I imagine this school would be a wonderful place to work, learn, and experience all around. Props to the Hardys of Bali!

And on that note, I will end this post as I continue to contemplate the future, education, and my place within all of it. Hopefully it won’t keep me awake at night, as I have a busy first-day-back-post-Spring Break tomorrow…

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I’m all about using reflection — it’s a huge part of the learning process.  But when my course content says this:

Ongoing reflection task:

Which approaches to learning (ATL) skills are you using as you complete this workshop?As you progress through this professional development workshop reflect upon the impact this planning task had on you as a learner and relate this to the activities that your students will be undertaking.

I gotta admit, I’m thinking:  For real?

The AtL that I am using are the same ones I have honed over years of being a student and a teacher.  I’m managing my time. I’m meeting deadlines.  I’m reading.  I’m using IT.  I’m doing research.  I’m reflecting.  Isn’t there some kind of assumption that I know how to do these things already, considering I have made it this far as a teacher, and as a professional — 10 years’ experience, two degrees, and lots of students who are learning?  How does planning impact me as a learner?  Um.  If I don’t plan, I don’t usually get things done.  It’s really that simple.

Am I missing something here?  Is it not this obvious to other people?  I mean, seriously. For real?

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