Titiro whakamuri, kokiri whakamua
Look back and reflect, so you can move forward
Reflective practice is a challenging, demanding, and often trying process that is most successful as a collaborative effort. (Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R., 1993)
The most valuable takeaway from this course for me has been the depth of professional discussion and collaborative learning in the first sixteen weeks. I have attended a multitude of professional learning opportunities over the years, but they tend to be fleeting experiences – in and out within an hour or four – rather than the prolonged exposure to the same group of people for the sixty or so face-to-face hours we spent together. In ways, self-affirming that others shared the same fears or concerns as I did, or managed and presented new ideas for the rest of us to reflect upon and share forward.
I also takeaway a renewed understanding of the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTCs). I think it is too easy to skim over the criteria after several years, and having the material unpacked for us week-by-week and one-by-one is crucial for maintaining our professionalism as educators. As others have said, it allows us to join the dots…
One issue I have had is the sometimes-frenetic pace of the course, and I can see myself taking several months to really digest all the material from my notes (maybe that’s an added value?).
If I were to choose only two areas of the Practising Teacher Criteria, where I am making the most changes it would be:
Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning. Professional knowledge in practice
In the last four months, I have taken this criteria to heart and “wear it on my sleeve”. While I was, before the course, already a committee member of my professional association (NZACDITT), I have since stepped up to push my learning area forward. With the announcement and subsequent draft release of a new Digital Technology curriculum, I have come to realise the level of fear and insecurity such a change can have on a teaching body, and I can offer a lot as far as pedagogy, digital resources, and program integration go. So far, I have also been involved in reviewing the new Progress Outcomes for Yr1-10, written a draft task for one of the new NCEA Assessment Standards to be trialled nationally in Term3, and volunteered for the PPTA ICT Advisory Committee as Association representative. This week (week1 of the mid-year break), I am in Wellington and Christchurch attending CS4PD where a cross-level/cross-discipline group of teachers are attempting to develop a PD plan for all New Zealand teachers to support the new curriculum.
Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.
At the beginning of the course, I was daunted by the research requirements of the course, especially the literature review. It looked like so much reading on top of a fulltime teaching load. As we progressed, I soon realised that analysis and reflection were imperative for my professional growth. The Spiral of Inquiry struck a chord due with its close alignment to Tech practice, and I am using it currently to manage my professional inquiry for 2017, looking at improving the engagement, resilience and achievement of my Year 10 boys.
Although only focussing on two criteria in the previous chapter, Criteria 4 (Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice) will be having a major influence on my Practice into the future. The ongoing consultation around the Digital Curriculum requires an ongoing focus, with many gaps yet to be filled or finalised. Public consultation is looming, and I will be encouraging my communities to participate actively. Creating rich teaching, learning and assessment resources is imperative, with the Term 3 trials being only the beginning. Lobbying for and ensuring the availability of appropriate professional development for all teachers (requiring time and money) is imperative.
On a more personal professional level building good-quality collaborative interdisciplinary resources for my own program so that it grows and flourishes is also on my mind. Digital outcomes that are technologically innovative but also sustainable for or future is a necessity.
Finally, on a purely personal note spending more time with my family, as the eldest child finished her 3rd year at AUT, the second is mid-semester in his first year Laws, and the ‘youngest’ now in Year 11 face NCEA for the first time.
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R. (1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California. Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files/RefPract/Osterman_Kottkamp_extract.pdf
Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning. Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/