A Learner's Journey

April 28, 2013
by 34mk2012
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AITSL Self Assessment Tool: Professional Engagement

This is the second post written after completing the AITSL Self Assessment Tool for teachers. This post is my reflection on the section of the tool titled Professional Engagement and my areas of strength and areas for development. For me, this  really prompted me to think about how I see myself as a learner and how am I enabling and supporting the learning of my colleagues. 

Areas of Strength:

6.3L Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.

As part of a dynamic 5/6 teaching team this year, I have many opportunities to engage in collegial discussion about how to improve learning opportunities and outcomes for our students. Sometimes these discussions are data driven, using the data collected to plan a pathway forward for our students. Other times, these are idea sharing dialogues where each of us can contribute our thoughts, resources and plans for discussion and consideration. As the Religious Education Leader in our school, I believe it is my role to provide opportunities for staff to engage in rich, collegial discussion and have worked hard to build this into every meeting that I lead. In planning meetings, this discussion may take the form of personal reflection on the ‘big question’ we are using for inquiry with our students. The discussion may other times be based on some professional reading I have shared, or on specific issues such as the integration of ICT into our RE units. I have posted about the development of our ‘culture of dialogue’ previously. This has been a worthy pursuit as a leader and staff now value these times as opportunities to build knowledge and gain from the insights and experiences of one another.

7.4L Contribute to professional networks and associations and build productive links with the wider community to improve teaching and learning

Many of the connections built in this area have come about through my PLN on twitter which has afforded me opportunities to participate in twitter chats (#teacherwellbeingchat #summerbookclub #ozprimschat), attend TeachMeets, exchange ideas and resources and ask questions. I am hopeful that I am able to contribute to the professional growth of my twitter PLN as they do over and over again for me.  I am a member of the Executive Planning Team for the Eastern Region Religious Education Network and have had the opportunity to have input into the Professional Learning offered to the network and be a presenter on several occasions. My students have also benefited from my twitter PLN as we are now participants in initiatives such as quadblogging which not only build connections for the students, but also for me as a professional.As written about in the previous post, I am currently exploring a partnership with LLEN and continue to work hard to maintain our school’s integral links to our Parish and wider local community.

Areas for Development

6.1P Analyse the Professional Standards for Teachers to plan personal professional development goals, support colleagues to identify and achieve personal development goals and pre-service teachers to improve classroom practice.

One goal that has come out of completing the Self Assessment Tool is my intention to address the Professional Standards for Teachers on this blog. I would like to set up a new page where I can keep a record of how I am meeting the Professional Standards, highlighting the areas of focus for me each term. I would love for each member of our Leadership Team to complete the Self Assessment Tool as I believe once  completed, the possibilities for future learning and development become so much clearer. This may give the team  the impetus to start using such a tool with the staff and committing to Personal Learning Plans for each staff member. This will build a pathway towards more personalised learning for the staff, something we strive to achieve for our students but not often for ourselves!

7.1G Maintain high ethical standards and support colleagues to interpret codes of ethics and exercise sound judgement in all school and community contexts.

At Holy Spirit Community School, our ethical stance comes directly from our Vision Statement which opens with the quote from Galatians which calls us to live out the fruits of the Spirit in every aspect of our lives:

“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Galatians 5:22

Whilst this quote obviously has a very specific context, the values it espouses are ones that many people would aspire to in their interactions and relationships. This is very challenging in any context, but particularly in a school where so much diversity exists. I think it is vital that our Vision Statement is placed before all of our community regularly, to remind us of what is of value to us, to challenge our decisions and behaviors and to guide our policy making.

Once again, the Self Assessment Tool has provided me with much food for thought as well as some concrete actions I would like to take to further my own learning and journey as a professional educator. I can highly recommend the process as both affirming and challenging and would love to share in some other’s experiences and reflections.

Stay tuned for the next post coming soon on ‘Professional Practice’.

August 13, 2012
by 34mk2012
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August Teach Meet

On Saturday August 11th, 60 keen teachers gathered at the Immigration Museum for a TeachMeet. Like the title says, it is a meeting of teachers who gather to share some of the great things that are happening in their schools. This was my first experience and one I am keen to repeat.

My students were very keen to hear about the session from Danelle Batten ‘How Minecraft is Changing Learning.’ I teach a very dedicated crew of Minecraft fans and although Danelle works with Year 9’s, she gave me plenty of food for thought about harnessing the power of the game for learning opportunities, particularly for some of the boys who tend to be less engaged in literacy focussed tasks. Check out this link if you would like to know more;

http://minecraftinschool.wordpress.com/

Edna Saxon from Mount Scopus gave a presentation on Concept Driven Learning, linking beautifully with what we do at Holy Spirit with Integrated Studies and RE. She used a great graphic of an avocado to communicate her ideas; the skin as what is worth knowing, the flesh as what is important to know and the seed as the enduring understandings.  Interesting to consider the relative size of each part of the avocado and how that relates to the learning – what do we spend most of our time on … the skin or the seed?

We also had presentations on Aurasma and augmented reality in the classroom, Why hexagons are better than squares, Danny Deck Chair and how to ‘hide’ maths in authentic learning investigations, using Google Drive forms for learning, using history pin, Teachers Across Borders, Kodu game creation, Macbeth on Trial and flipping the classroom using online video.

I came away from the day with a few things to ponder and follow up on and enthusiasm for continuing to attend TeachMeets when I can. Highly recommended!

 

 

 

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