ICTs and Reluctant Writers

Gagging teachers

Just a short post to ask a question – and hopefully get some answers!

What control do you think a school principal/management/BOT should have over whether a teacher is allowed to use twitter or blogger or other social networks to express their opinions on teaching, education etc.?

(This would be on well established personal accounts.)

 

What does the ‘e’ stand for anyway?

I’ve had this post hovering in my head for some months now. We used to talk about ICT and now we talk about eLearning – but what does the ‘e‘ stand for?

A lot of people seeing the connection between ICT and eLearning just assume it means electronic because most people involved in eLearning are using technology in their classrooms but I disagree.

The key word is LEARNING – because that’s what it’s all about. As for the e – here are some suggestions for what it could stand for:

  • enhanced
  • enriched
  • electronic
  • enabling
  • enquiry
  • encompassing
  • engaged
  • enduring
  • enabling
  • enjoying

What are your thoughts – do you have any other ‘e’ words that could fit into the e of eLearning?

Term 1 Reflection

Where on earth did Term 1 go? The 10 weeks of Term 1 were some of the most exciting, challenging, and exhausting of my teaching career.

 

I’m one third of a collaborative teaching unit – we’re the 3 Js – Jo C, Jo F (me) and Julie K. In Term 1 we worked with 2 classes – 25 year 3/4 and 29 year 5/6. Term 2 sees the addition of 25 year 2 students. We started the year working mostly with our own classes. During those first weeks we met together as a team – we have a ‘hub celebration’ followed by PE skills on Monday mornings as well as fitness sessions together. 

 

Week 6 saw us begin to work together during our topic sessions. Jo, Julie, and I had spent a Sunday working together talking about where we thought the unit would go (Energy) and came up with a couple of starter activities. The first was a wonderful collaborative art project created in groups of 4 students mixed from our two classes. It was amazing to see the students working together – talking with each other, and seeing the older students taking a leadership role. We followed this with a beginning discussion ‘What is Energy?’ 

 

At the end of the day Julie and I were exhausted but we both agreed – ‘We can’t ever go back to single class teaching!’ 

 

What we’re doing is the most natural thing in the world to me. It makes no sense at all to restrict kids to an age group and a single teacher – and we’ve seen the two classes respond so well that at times onlookers wouldn’t be able to tell who is in ‘my’ class and who is in Julie’s.  To me the reward is seeing how much all these kids are enjoying themselves – the younger kids just love working with the older ones, and the older ones just love having younger ones looking up to them. 

 

Our goals for our kids are to help them become self-managing learners – from the year 2s up. We believe that they are capable of managing themselves (with guidance and support) and we believe that they are flexible enough to work with three different teachers. There’s no ‘dummy’ class for core curriculum subjects – in fact we’ll develop our roles so that it’s not just me teaching the top groups or Jo C teaching the bottom groups – it’s flexible teaching.

Memories

As we’ve been sorting out our junk and packing things to keep for an upcoming house move, I’ve come across all sorts of photos. This has had me checking out the Old Friends website – to which I’m a member – and attempting (and failing) to upload some of the school photos. (The site won’t accept any scanned photos from a mac!)

However that got me thinking about mum and her career as a teacher. Imagine how nice it was to discover today that she was well remembered – and in a good way.

I imagine she was a lot more patient than I am even though many of her classes were large. I also found this class photo from 1965 – (I’m the cute one!) – 38 students (~7 years old) – what a handful!

As we wind our way towards the start of a new year I’m constantly reminded of mum and the lessons she taught me. I want to be the kind of teacher she was – respected by both students and families alike.