Over the last few weeks, not much has happened to me that hasn’t been crushingly negative. Not least the death of my faithful fur-head Reggie.
One thing that has been positive, has been working with Jeff on a Gifted and Talented class in Montana. This leads me to a brief post about mental-borders that need sweeping aside.
Many leaders talk about staff and teachers as though they have to shepherd-like exclusivity over them, and largely provision all manner of affordance over what they teach, where they teach and whom they teach. Teachers for whom the metaverse is their staffroom, applying their craft locally, but finding inspiration, support and collegiality in places that are simply unknown to the herdsmen in high office.
Time-severed is no measure of future-relevant.
Let me illustrate what this looks like for the benefit of the clergy.
- Ideas and motivation are continuous and not driven by some official stimulus, or assigned title such as ‘super teacher’ or ‘authority’.
- Connections are via Skype, Ventrillo, Facebook, Twitter, GTalk, SecondLife, Warcraft, Wikis, Nings – all things that are banned in your view of education.
- Working with others is beneficial and rewarding – it is premium professional development (no one knows more than all of us).
- Working with kids does not have to be synchronous, secular – and your role can be invisible to students.
- The pool of knowledge can only be understood though active participation and contribution – not referencing, delaying, questioning or quoting Prenski.
- Helping ‘face to face’ teachers can be well supported though ‘backroom’ research and development of their curriculum and lesson planning
- ‘Social’ is now the most important tenant of what you used to call ‘eLearning’
- The world is the new learning management system – you can enroll for free
- We are already team teaching over thousands of miles – you just can’t see us
- Students are team learners – socially driven and connected – waging war on them is facile
In recent weeks we’ve taken a project that was developed in a team method two years ago – one night with several teachers online at one time adding ideas that turned into a project, and reworked it with Jeff for a gifted and talented class. The team that is now teaching kids is represented in class by Jeff, but in development, I’d have to credit at least: Judy O’Connell, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, Lucy Grey, Kerry Johnson, Jo Kay … and without all of them … this class would not be studying Animal Farm in way’s they are. This is what I mean by ‘team teaching’.
It is sad, that much of local high school execs are happy to wait for official notices, and are not contacting people (like me and others). A connected teacher has an army or a network to draw upon, as everyone is out for the same objective – to end the digital-winter that is setting in, demotivating students and pressuring teachers work more and more to the test and not lead learners into critical thinking.
If there is one massive difference between us and the US – it is – we have a culture of vertical learning in silos. Give it up, make the call – get someone in to mentor staff and support them using the methods that are transforming learning.
There is no rescue ship, no extra life … if you want to improve school outcomes you have two choices.
A. get into the metaverse and learn to swim or B. pay people who can to help your staff to help-themselves.
Those in the flock that are kicking great learning have long since caring what the Shepherd thinks. Learn to teach and support without borders – today’s team teaching is massive. I find it irksome that I can work with teachers around the world, but my local community – radio silence (Roger excepted). Make the call.