#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.
These are my nominations for the Edublog Awards, 2013. This is my first time voting in these, so some of the categories have been omitted due to my… well not being familiar with them. I will endeavour to improve next year.
Best new blog – The Second Perspective (Ryan Brown)
Best class blog – Mr Lamshed’s Class
Best student blog – All my students are awesome, so I’ll let this one go….
Best ed tech / resource sharing blog – EdTech toolbox
Best administrator blog – It’s all About Learning (John Goh)
Best twitter hashtag – #ozprimschchat
Best free web tool – Edmodo
This video came across my social media today and it has gotten me thinking. Have a look (even for a bit) before you read on;
Yes, this is the Blue Eye Brown Eye lady, Jane Elliot continuing her quest to truly allow students to appreciate the presence of racism in the world. It reminded me of a class in my undergrad course called Social Contexts of Education. It explored the role of education as an institution and more relevantly for this topic, forced me to come to terms with my whiteness. I was brought up well by my parents and honestly believed I was not a racist person. I’m not, and I wasn’t, but what I learned in this course was to understand that I could never really understand discrimination, because as a white middle class male, I have always been pretty much exempt from it. Despite my empathy, it never happened to me.
The experience shown in the video above is the type of thing that I think everyone should go through to understand what it means to be treated differently. I’m getting to my point here: How much do we push our students to understand the experiences of others in the world? While the above practice is extreme, as was the original blue eye brown eye was, it is important to give our students an education not only of the Standardised Testing subjects, but of how to be a global citizen.
I’m not saying we need to subject students to the harsh realities of the world before they are ready for it, but I do believe that the best way to begin this process is to put students into situations where they feel uncomfortable. We all know about zones of proximal development, and that it is important to extend students out of their comfort zone. Sometimes though, we need to push that little bit further to really let students feel that things are different once they move out of their youthful bubbles of familiarity. Of course this can be done sensitively and with due consideration of individual differences.
When was the last time you gave your students the opportunity to be uncomfortable?
A closing quote from Jane Elliot
“No. You don’t come back in here until you’ve apologized to every person in this room because you just exercised a freedom that none of these people of color have. When these people of color get tired of racism, they can’t just walk out because there’s no place in this country where they aren’t going to be exposed to racism. They can’t even stay in their own homes and not be exposed to racism if they turn on their television. But you, as a white female, when you get tired of being judged and treated unfairly on the basis of your eye color, you can walk out that door, and you know it won’t happen out there. You exercised a freedom they don’t have. If you’re going to be in here, you’re going to apologize to every black person in this room. And do it now … and every person of color.”
I’ve woken up to a lot of activity today on my social media along the lines of ‘Lest we forget’. November 11 is Armistice Day and a time we remember those who fell in World War 1, as well as all armed conflicts in recent history. I am a fan of this, but I want to take things further than just not forgetting these sacrifices.
All war is based in conflict. Today, I’ll be talking to my students not about people who died in wars, but about how we can all, in our own little way, make less conflict in our world. The principle of letting a new friend, someone who is a little lonely, into your play group is the same concept as accepting a country or its people who need a little help. I’m in no way trivialising the nature of international diplomacy, but simply wanting to spread the message that we should all try to get along a little better in our lives, especially with those we may not see eye to eye with.
On a day we commemorate mostly young people who have been slaughtered because of disagreements, this seems not inappropriate.
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?
As I have mentioned before I will be participating in Movember this year to raise funds and awareness for Men’s Health issues. I usually don’t go in for this kind of thing, because I tend to sport a handsome beard, and I leave it at that. However, I am now the father to a son and I want to take part this year as a nod to him and his future bros. Below is documented evidence of my sincerity in this pursuit. Please support my efforts at mobro.co/paulhuebl