Tonight’s #ozprimschchat stayed on the theme of @AITSL Standards and discussed Standard 6: Engage in Professional Learnin. As usual, this is topical for me because our school has reinvigorated its Professional Learning Program this year with all staff undergoing PLPs that are directly aligned with AITSL.
While I’ll share my personal progress with this at another time, I find this standard ‘easy’ to achieve because of my passion for Standard 7: Engage Professionally with Colleagues, Parents/Carers and the Community. I find it easy to engage with professional networks, something which has reshaped my career since I discovered Twitter in 2008. This ability of mine to easily share and relate to others has been a massive benefit to me in my teaching, but especially since the introduction of the AITSL standards. Without ranting, I will quickly discuss the highlights of this evening’s chat.
What makes good Professional Learning?
My instant reply to this question was that it needs to be transformative. If we are not a different person when we leave, then nothing lasting has been gained. Discussion on this topic included notions of appropriateness to ability level, class size and length of the course. It looked at the benefit of professional discussions (Standard 7) as well as the despair of attending a PL event that was just not helpful. What rang true most of all is how discussion about this seamlessly led to the second topical highlight;
How is Professional Learning structured in a school?
Our school is (as mentioned above) taking its Professional Learning very seriously this year. All PL is aligned with Professional Learning Plans and staff are being challenged to look within their professional selves and map exactly where they choose to professionally grow. Alongside this is a new initiative to establish Staff Run Professional Learning Days that will replace whole staff sessions at the start of terms. The intention is twofold; Firstly, to take advantage of the expertise and passion that staff have by allowing them to teach their peers; Secondly, to allow staff through this process to exhibit leadership without defined roles; and thirdly, to build a greater culture of sharing professionally amongst staff. OK that’s three, but I could probably keep reeling them off…
The overwhelming concensus from the chat is that Professional Learning works best in a school when there are professional relationships involved. Since learning is a function of social interactions, this makes not only good psychological sense, but it makes things nicer in the workplace. I can categorically state without reservation that a teacher with confidence in the trusting relationships they have with both heir peers and leaders is going to be better than one without.
This paper was also shared and discusses the connection between professional learning and effective teaching practice.
Musings for tonight are over so feel free to peruse tonight’s chat here as well as below.
Tonight’s #ozprimschchat was the first for 2014 and focussed on AITSL Standard 1 ‘Know Students and How They Learn’. The great appeal in tonight’s experience is not in my return to organised chats for 2014, but the subject matter involved. Most topics covered related directly to my teaching but tonight was extremely topical as we as a staff are undergoing professional reflections that align conveniently with the AITSL Standards that we need to meet for accreditation. I have spent the last few week pondering my place on the seven rubrics and have come to the conclusion that the language can be ambiguous and vague and really serves to make me doubt my abilities. Not to say that I am not confident as a teacher – far from it. I am talking about whether that means I am proficient, highly accomplished, lead or just at a graduate level.
Tonight’s chat put a lot of things in perspective. As always, it served to validate my thoughts about a topic. My interpretation of Standard 1 is shared by many around Australia, and this gives me a boost. I feel affirmed in my approach to not only mapping myself against Standard 1, but all of them. It also got me thinking (again) about classroom practices. One of the beautiful thing about topic chats are the tangent discussions that one finds themselves in from time to time. One of these was on the ability of the learning environment to transform and invigorate learning. Again, my views are mirrored by others and this helps. (At the end of the day though, I am influenced primarily by my students in these areas). Thirdly, I have championed the Genius Hour concept at my school and along with Jade and Andy (my Year 6 buddies) we have made it a highlight of our weekly timetable. Again, the benefits we see from our students are the primary motivator but its also nice to hear other on tonight’s chat advocating its awesomeness as well.
Click the Play button in the lower left of the object to play through the tweets or click here to peruse as a list.
In the last 24 hours I participated in three twitter chats; my regular #ozprimschchat, my less regular #mypchat and a special custom made #sasvisionyear6. All three represent a different type of professional learning which I will discuss here.
This is a chat that I try to participate in regularly, and have discussed previously here and here. Last night the topic was a review of the year; The Good the Bad and lets not tweet about the ugly. Clever, I know.
#MYPchat I’m new to both teaching the MYP so even newer to active participation in this chat – I have been somewhat of a lurker. Last night however, I feel I made my first genuine contributions to the discussion about the new subject guides.
As part of publicising our school’s new Vision, we were tasked with discussing how we would make it visible in our classrooms next year. We decided to host a mock twitter chat, with the feed showing to the other staff. It allowed us to share the benefits of twitter chats in general as well as communicate our ideas surrounding the task.
#ozprimschchat last night discussed Learning Spaces. I am looking into this a lot at the moment. I have gradually this year been getting rid of tables and chairs and bringing couches, cushions and benches into my classroom. I have noticed a marked improvement in both engagement and motivation amongst my students, which coupled with a 1:1 tablet program next year is motivating me to do more in this area.
This is my current Learning Space
This is a storify of the twitter chat.
I’ve always been a big fan of twitter chats. Since discovering the benefits of twitter in education during my second year of teaching, I have found the scheduled chat to be the most rewarding aspect of the medium. It’s a chance to share ideas, get ideas and have your ideas affirmed. Most importantly, for me, is that they expose you to an extended learning network. You are able to engage with other professionals that are outside your own staff room. You get the benefit of collected experiences and contexts.
There are a plethora of scheduled chats on all sorts of topics. See here for a collection made by Jeannette James (@7mrsjames). One that I keep going back to is #ozprimschchat. It is for Australian Primary School teachers – check, thats me.
I have been using this blog to not only document my professional learning journey as a teacher, but more recently to also map these against the AITSL Standards. Since twitter chats are considered professional development, I thought I would start documenting the chats I participate in here. These will also serve as a resource for the specific topics that are discussed. Tonight’s chat was on the Australian Curriculum – What needs to change?