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life

Time is On My Side

Photo by Giallo from Pexels

I have always had this tug of war going on with TIME. She’s been this fickle adversary with Jekyll and Hyde-ish tendencies. During the school year I’m on this treadmill running frantically to get things done and keep up with the demands of school and home life. During these moments TIME feels like an annoying trainer from the gym- standing in my sweaty bubble yelling for me to pick up the pace. “Get out of my face!” I shriek in my head as there isn’t enough oxygen to squeak it out as I silently sweat from my eyes.

After this manic marathon through the school year, all of a sudden summer arrives. TIME is no longer that militant motivator. TIME transforms to an upper-class Victorian woman who sleeps late and lounges on chaises ringing for tea. I wake up that first morning of summer and roll over to look fondly at my friend, TIME. We giggle conspiratorially over our shared secret that the next month or so will be our life of leisure. I love my summers when the pace slows down and I can breathe.

This juxtaposition of time and how it affects my life has always been a source of conflict for me. Over the years, it has made me long for the dream of working from home where I’m not a slave to time. Each day I would have a leisurely morning coffee in my jammies with my dog at my feet while I work from the kitchen table. Luxurious!

Now in the midst of this pandemic, time has come to a screeching halt. Don’t go out. Stay at home. Only go out for essential things. I should be jumping for joy and twirling through my home, but I don’t feel that way.

My spring break began as Canada was suddenly shutting down and implementing measures to fight COVID-19. Sure I spent a ton of time reading, lounging around, binge-watching new shows, and taking my dog for walks. But I didn’t feel that sense of peace that comes with summer. Maybe it’s the restrictions on outings, the constant barrage of anxiety-riddled news, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead for my students. It is also the exponential rate of change at a global level.

I think what these unprecedented times have made me realize is that I need to stop this unhealthy relationship with TIME. It should not be the friend or foe relationship. Not feast or famine.

Time is on my side. Yes it is, Rolling Stones!

Time is what we make of it. If I want to spent hours reading a book, then so be it. When I am feverishly focused for hours on report cards, then it is what it is.

The important thing is to find gratitude at all times. Gratitude during my drill-sergeant hectic work schedule. Gratitude during the languorous hours eating bon bons through a season of Outlander. Embrace the gratitude in all of these moments.

What am I grateful for today?

First it was the trek up the hill to glimpse the lake and new spring flowers, with a close second being the desk-side delivery of chips and dip from my daughter. During all our moments in time we need to stop, savour and appreciate.

So in the next few weeks as we maneuver these historic events, I will make peace with TIME and appreciate each and every moment as it comes.

Co-teaching, collaboration

Strength in Numbers

Pixabay

How can we encourage a culture of collaboration in schools?

Together we are stronger.

We all know this fact, but we continue to see silos of teaching in education. Isolated and compartmentalized.

There are many benefits to collaboration and co-teaching. It can be a pivotal factor in school-wide efforts to increase student achievement. It has advantages for both students and teachers.

Benefits for Students

-provides two teachers working together toward a common goal

-allows for small group individualized instruction

-enhances differentiation

-supports equity in education and inclusive classrooms

-models effective collaboration for students

-increases overall student achievement

Benefits for Teachers

-promotes dialogue, problem solving and the elevation of thinking

-encourages feedback, discussion and reflection for professional growth

-assists with the implementation of innovation and change

-supports new teacher mentorship and teacher retention

-creates a sense of community as a professional learning team

I’m working in a position this year that is perfect for teacher collaboration- specifically co-teaching. It’s exciting to think about the impact this can have on building professional capacity and targeting student success.

I should feel this divine moment where the heavens open and a choir of angels herald the educational potential.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet.

Right now it’s more of a Jerry Maguire feeling.

 

Challenges to Teacher Collaboration

Many schools, in the pursuit of change, have alleviated barriers to teacher collaboration. They have implemented flexible schedules, shared prep times for teachers, breakout spaces for learning, professional development, and resources.

In reality, many of the barriers that continue to be a challenge are self-imposed by teachers. Change is hard. Change takes time.

Edutopia has an article out this month called “How to Choose a Co-Teaching Model” by Sean Cassel. Cassel outlines the pros and cons of 6 different models of co-teaching for teachers who find themselves in collaborative teaching situations.

These are good examples and I can definitely see times when one model might be more appropriate. The instructional impact can be powerful, but what are some things that may need to happen before educators are ready to embrace co-teaching?

What can we do to pave the way for successful collaboration?

Align Our “WHY”

We need to be on the same page about “why” we are here.

Students are the “WHY”. Learning is the “WHY”.

We must not get lost in our efforts to “teach”. It’s not about us. It’s not about what is easier for us- about what we have always done. First and foremost is student learning and being responsive to the changing needs of our students.

Communication

Communication is key to a strong and successful collaborative relationship. Brainstorming, sharing ideas, engaging in conversations, listening and being heard. Open dialogue where we feel safe and valued.

Trust

Opening our classrooms and sharing instructional decisions requires trust. We need to be genuine and open with our colleagues. This can be hard. What will they think of my teaching? What will they think of me?

Many educators have control issues-don’t try to deny it! (I’m pointing at myself as well!!) Can we give up some of our control in order to make a greater impact on learning?

Embrace Change

Take a risk. Make a change. We need to support each other to take those “out of the box” ideas and bring them to fruition. What is something that you’ve always wanted to try with students? What can’t you do on your own that is now attainable as a team?

Think big!

Share Experiences

Share collaborative experiences with the whole staff to celebrate success and build capacity for other educators. What did you do and how can others use this model to make an impact in their classroom?

As well, we need to share our failures. Not to discourage others from trying, but rather to show that failure is not the end. Failure is part of the journey. Everyone can brainstorm solutions or provide another way of thinking. Colleagues gain confidence from seeing others taking risks and persevering.

Failure is success in progress.

Albert Einstein

Admin Support

Support from leadership can alleviate barriers for teacher collaboration. Can they provide time and resources? Involve them in the process, so they can support the model and problem solve challenges alongside educators. Look to your admin to support professional development for teachers.


Collaboration and co-teaching is powerful for student success. It can be challenging to make this change, but we need to remember that we are on a continuum of learning. Forward movement, no matter how small, can mean big changes for our students.

In the coming weeks, I will work on paving the way with my colleagues, so that we can begin a collaboration journey together.

Writing

Ideas That Nurture Young Writers

How do we nurture and develop our students as writers?

Writing can be fearful to teach. Especially for educators who don’t see themselves as writers.

I love writing and enjoy the challenge of creating a community of writers in my classroom. Nevertheless, in my early years (which will now be referred to as Circa 1995) I was a terrible writing teacher.

When we think about growing readers, we understand the power of putting books in front of students. Sometimes this is the catalyst to lifelong reading.

Does this same theory apply to writing?

With unlimited paper, will students pour out their hearts?

If only it was that easy! Every teacher would be down at Michael’s collecting copious amounts of fancy paper.

When we know better… we do better. Maya Angelou

With time, experience, and collaboration, I have found some essential ideas that nurture student writers.

Read Great Books

Always have fantastic books(novels and picture books) on your shelves. Hook your students with regular booktalks. Be very intentional about your read alouds.

Circa 1995 loved books and great read alouds, but didn’t see the connection between reading and writing. We need to read as writers! Now that I know this, I am constantly on the hunt for fantastic books that will help writers grow.

Mentor Text Exploration

Make sure that you have a variety of mentor texts to support your writing. Have students dig in and mine the details.

Let inquiry and curiosity take the lead. What do you notice? What did the author do? Look closely at the craft of writing.

As students start picking out the features of the text, you are the “guide on the side” writing down their findings. Oh, the author is using emotional language to persuade you?! Create an anchor chart together about the features of that particular type of writing.

One of my favourite mentor texts for persuasive writing is President Squid, by Aaron Reynolds. This hilarious book has Squid sharing all the reasons why he should be President.

Needless to say, the arguments are ridiculous like “Presidents are the big boss”. He boasts his bossy skills and assures readers that he will be great at being in charge of everyone.

After some real-life laughable comparisons, students quickly see the importance of having logical and well supported reasons in persuasive writing.

Minilessons and Teacher Modelling

What do you want to see in your students’ writing? Strong emotional language? Addressing the counter-argument? Teach each of these skills in a minilesson by highlighting a mentor text and modelling for them.

Teacher modelling is powerful pedagogy with long lasting results. Students need to see you writing and hear you “thinking aloud” .

Well.. thank you for noticing, Ryan! I really do try to be intentional with my teacher modelling and making my creative process transparent for students.

BTW-I loved you in The Notebook!

Choice

Teachers are infamous for giving “choices” that aren’t really true choices.

Here are 4 ideas. Choose one of them to write about.

This isn’t authentic choice, Circa 1995!

What are your students passionate about? What fires them up and consumes their thoughts? Choice means engagement and relevance.

The best piece of writing I had from a student was written from the view point of his socks. Socks! It had incredible voice and humour. It left me with a greater sense of his frustrations and ability to cope with sensory issues.

Talk

Talking is a critical component to being a good writer. Writing does not come solely from living in our heads.

Circa 1995 often puzzled over the fact that kids weren’t madly scribbling ideas during writing.

There would be dead silence in the room.

Dead.

No creative juice.

Whispers were quickly stifled. “We are not talking. We are writing.”

Once I realized the power of talk, conversation, and collaborative thinking, student writing soared. Talk generates ideas. We build connections through conversation.

Sharing

Sharing our writing is an important part of the process. Everyone needs an audience.

Circa 1995 knew this.

The “Author’s Chair” was available on Fridays if a piece of writing made it to the published stage.

Don’t get me wrong- kids loved this! What I’ve learned over the years is that we should share our work all along the process of writing.

Now we share snippets of descriptive lines or great leads. It is cherished time where kids feel validated, proud, and supported. This early sharing also sparks ideas for others who are struggling with their own creative process.

Time

Authentic writing takes time. It is a creative process that deserves attention to detail. You may feel like your students are moving at a snail’s pace; however, investing the time up front will have huge dividends later.

With Circa 1995 mistakes behind me, I finally understand the elements that support student writing.

Goals

Seize Your Someday

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

-Martin Luther King Jr.
New Beginnings

What happens when you really let your mind wander through your daydreams? What about when your “What if” collides with your “Why not”? How often do we let ourselves truly reach for our lofty dreams and set them into motion?

I’m writing this post from my basement in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia.

On this same day one year ago, I was working as a Literacy Lead teacher in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I had an amazing position leading teachers and exploring my passion for literacy. Even though I was loving my career and colleagues, I also had a dream to someday settle in the Okanagan.

We all have dreams that live in our someday. Someday on a beach in Greece. Someday a memoir capturing childhood. Someday an acreage with twin Labradors running free. My husband and I spent a lot of time sharing our “someday” dreams for the future. All of these scenarios began with retirement.

This left me unsettled. Retirement felt too far away- too uncertain. Will we still have our health? I couldn’t help but listen to the voice in my head that asked- why not now? It made me restless.

I wanted my someday now – to be crazy and brave. Carpe diem!

If you knew me, you would see I am not “the road less travelled” kind of gal. I am the straight and narrow road with well-lit signage, safety guard rails, and plenty of emergency turn around routes. Seize the day is not really within my wheelhouse.

So with both excitement and fear(mostly fear), my husband and I made the decision to make a move to the Okanagan.

People would ask about where my husband had secured work (Because of course we wouldn’t be moving without jobs!) I would smile and shrug admitting that we didn’t have jobs, yet.

We were just taking a leap of faith.

The response was always the same. Confusion. Surprise. Concern. Their thoughts were palpable. Sane people don’t quit perfectly good jobs to follow a dream. You have a family to support!

I feel I should clarify. We didn’t just decide one weekend on a whim.

There was much reflection, discussion, and debating the pros and cons. We gave ourselves a little under a year to get our ducks in a row. With summer 2019 as our moving goal, we worked backwards outlining all the things that needed to happen.

Socking away money, resumes, teacher certification, house repairs, watching two housing markets, preparing for a home sale, cleaning, decluttering, selling and searching for a new home.

So how did it all turn out? It was lots and lots of hard work!

But we made the move. We arrived in Kelowna on July 1st. Even on moving day, we still had no tangible job offers. But we had confidence.

Don’t panic mortgage lady, Patricia! We are now gainfully employed.

Everything in life is a choice. If I could impart some wisdom, it would be to follow your heart even if the choice seems too big and far reaching. Listen to that voice in your head that whispers, “What if…?”

Embrace the discomfort of change.

Seize your someday.

Learning, Professional Development

Ripples of Literacy Learning

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Source: pixabay.com

When we look at Comprehensive Literacy, there seems to be more implementation in Div 1 classrooms.  Many teachers and admin focus on grades 1-3 because students are learning the foundational skills for reading and writing.  As our students move into grades 4-7, guided reading often drops -replaced by more whole class instruction.

We can all agree the primary grades are critical years for literacy development; however, our intermediate students still need strong literacy instruction.  As they move up the grades, they are required to read more complex text in Language Arts and other subject areas.  We ask them to infer, think critically, analyze, synthesize and evaluate text. Reading to learn is the focus.

In addition to complex reading expectations,  we also require the development of sophisticated writing skills in both fiction and nonfiction writing.  Vocabulary expectations compound each year and content area literacy is critical for learners.

How can we dare take our foot off the pedal of individualized literacy instruction for our older students?

My early teaching experience was in the traditional model where there was a grade recommended list of novels and resources.  To be honest, I didn’t really know my students as readers.  I remember literally dragging some readers through the whole class novel.  Thankfully, when we know better, we do better!

When I was introduced to Comprehensive Literacy, my teaching was transformed.  This framework allowed me to really know my students, individualize instruction and develop all areas of literacy.  With regular guided reading, I could identify the strengths of my students, confidently talk to parents about their child’s reading skills, and make daily instructional decisions from on-going observations.  All students deserve this framework for literacy instruction.

We know that change can’t happen solely from the outside. There needs to be great teachers sharing their knowledge and collaborating with colleagues.  This is what builds capacity.   In order to facilitate this model, I am working with a group of fantastic Div 2 teachers/admin from a number of our schools.  During our Professional Development days, we gather for targeted literacy learning, engage in discussion, and participate in practical activities.

Knowing that reflection is key for growth, we often begin by celebrating success and challenges.  At the beginning of this process, I got a lot of crickets.  A lot!  This last session every single person shared.  One of the admin group members shared feeling more confident observing literacy in classrooms.  He is having conversations and offering advice.  Yay!

When we share our challenges, the group offers suggestions or collectively agrees…Teaching is hard.  One teacher realized that she really did have a lot to celebrate after hearing others share their stories.  We learn from each other!  Over time, I’m beginning to see an authentic culture develop.

My hope is that building teacher capacity within schools will create a ripple effect.

A ripple of knowledge.

A ripple of learning.

A ripple of change.

Vibrations that will impact literacy success for all students.

Learning, Professional Development

Professional Learning For the Soul

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Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

I read something recently that basically shared the idea that a good teacher thrives on learning.  We need it for our souls to be filled.  I’d have to agree; although, a beautiful latte is a close second for my soul!  We are always searching, reading, growing, and changing.  Our students benefit when we try new things and change our practice.  Professional development is an essential part of our identity as teachers.

I think a lot about teacher growth and learning.  What do teachers want and how can we meet their needs?  It can be hard to plan a traditional PD day, so that everyone leaves excited about learning.  I think about my groups and what they might need.  How can I provide them with an experience that will lead to change back in classrooms?  My goal is to share information, facilitate meaningful discussion, and model instructional strategies that can be used with students.

This year my team has been presenting some optional after-school PD sessions for teachers.   Participation has been pretty limited.  In January, we surveyed teachers to see how we can tweak our sessions to get more turn out.  Time was definitely a factor affecting many teachers.  I get that.  There is the planning, extracurricular, meetings, and our own family obligations.  Who has the time or energy?

TIME, TIME, TIME!  You cruel master!

Or is it?

We make time for the things that are important to us.  For some people, rushing out the door to embrace a learning opportunity at the end of the day is worthy.  I need to remember that a crowd of people is not necessary.  The most important thing is appreciating the time and learning for those individuals who do arrive.

We don’t all have the same learning needs.   Not everyone needs to attend an after-school session.  There are so many ways that teachers are learning outside the traditional box.  Just like our students, we need to have some choice to make it meaningful.  We will always have yearly professional development that aligns with our district goals.  In addition to this, teachers will seek the learning opportunities that target the needs of their students, embrace an area of passion or involve an area for personal growth.

Thoughts and ideas around personalized professional development have really exploded.  The book by Rich Czyz called The Four O’Clock Faculty details how teachers can take charge of their own learning through a plethora of ideas.

Four

Jennifer Gonzalez, from Cult of Pedagogy, summarizes a number of innovative ideas around professional development in her blog post “OMG, Becky.  Professional Development is Getting so Much Better!”

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My role as a facilitator of teacher learning will be to provide the best possible learning in traditional PD sessions.  I also need to foster the out of the box ideas.  Plant a seed.  Send out an invite.  Who wants to embrace something a little bit different?   Conversations and collaboration.

What other possibilities are out there to sooth our souls?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Differentiated Instruction, Learning, Teaching

Preparing for the Real World

laptop-3087585_1920I recently read an article written by Rick Wormeli called, “We Have to Prepare Students for the Next Level, Don’t We?”.  I found myself agreeing with his points and thought about previous conversations with teachers.   So many teachers feel that their ultimate goal is to prepare their students for … (fill in the appropriate future grade level).  Why??

Rick’s article does a great job of breaking down the misconception of this type of thinking and hopefully will help other educators to see the value of teaching the students who come to us.  For teaching them where they are and supporting them in authentic deep learning.

It is so ironic because some teachers will argue that we need to prepare students for the “real world”.  Oh, the “REAL WORLD”!  Of course, now I see your point.

The “real world” -where you don’t get time to learn through experience.

The “real world” -where you don’t get feedback or have multiple attempts for mastery.

The “real world” –where there are no supports or scaffolding.

The “real world” –where you will just have to deal with failure.

Let me ask you this…

If this “real world” existed in education, would we still have teachers left to teach in classrooms?

Dawn Collums made this tweet in response to Rick’s article which sums up my thinking as well,

 

The team I work with is called School Improvement and our job is to ultimately improve the quality and level of pedagogy in our schools.  We know that all of our teachers are at different levels of learning, readiness and mindsets.

We don’t say,

“Wait a minute, we already went over guided reading reading last year, you should know that.”

“What do you mean you need help with the new math curriculum?  We’ve been working on this forever!”

We take into account the individual needs of our teachers and gear our support, so that there is an entry point and success for everyone.  We offer PD, provide resources, show exemplars, model in classrooms, coach, and work collaboratively.  We want teachers to have deep learning and make personal connections.  We know if we support this kind of differentiated instruction, teachers will have a better chance of transferring this learning to new situations and feeling empowered.

Teachers are continually required to reflect, learn and grow in our practice.  Shouldn’t  we be especially empathetic to what our students are experiencing in school.  Stop pushing them beyond what they should know or forcing unrealistic “real world” expectations on them.

Take a close look at the individuals in front of you.  Know them.  Guide them.  Give them what they need to feel success and empowered to learn more.

Whether we are talking about the student in Kindergarten, the adolescent in Grade 7, the new teacher in Grade 5, or the veteran in English 10…

They all need to be guided from where they are.

 

 

 

Creativity, IMMOOC, Innovation

Dream Big…No, really!!

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This is a reflection after watching #IMMOOC Season 4, Episode 4 with @kalebrashad and @drchagala 

Dream big!

I’m sure I had a cat poster with this catch phrase in my classroom at one time, but I don’t think I’ve ever really lived this message.  This was a big take away for me from this episode with Kaleb Rashad and Eric Chagala.  They are passionate leaders supporting innovation and the idea of dreaming big.

What is a problem you want to solve?  What have you always wanted to do with kids?  Sounds easy enough, but I keep coming back to the idea of teacher engagement.  Teachers need to see themselves as creative risk-takers in order to lead their students on this path.

Many times, we see teachers create their own barriers to innovation and creativity.  Sometimes the barriers are real.  Yes, students in Grade 6 must write Provincial Achievement Tests at the end of the year.  Yes, you are expected to give individualized literacy instruction to all students.

Often, the barriers are self-imposed by teachers.  No, I can’t give my students choice on the writing assessment.  No, I can’t possibly try something new because it’s never been done and it won’t be allowed.  It’s amazing the number of times I hear that the “District” makes us… or the “District” won’t let us…  Really??? Do you think that your leaders won’t let you do something engaging, inspiring, creative or transformative for student learning?

The constraints of our systems actually encourage educators to be more creative and innovative.  The four walls of our “box” force us to use divergent thinking to solve problems.

My challenge for myself and for other educators is to dream big.  What if you could do X?  How could you make this happen?  Who would you need to help with this?  How would this make a difference to the engagement of students?

This is creativity.

This is innovation.

What are your big dreams?

 

 

 

 

IMMOOC, Innovation, Teaching

Be a Time Connoisseur

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Time flies.  Time waits on no one.  Lost time is never found.

Education always seems to be on this race against time.  Teachers hit the ground running in September and rage against the fleeting nature of time.  We complain there is never enough time to impart the knowledge or complete the tasks.  But really, have we not learned our lesson about time.  Time is a precious commodity.  We need to think carefully about how we are choosing to use it in our classrooms.

When teachers are pushed to change their practice or embrace something new, they often fault time for stealing their ability to take a risk.  Oh, how time takes the blame in many areas of life.  There wasn’t enough time to call.  Not enough time to visit.  No time for the things that really matter.  We must challenge our thinking about how we use our time in our classrooms to ensure the best for our students.

In her book, Learner Centered Innovation, Katie Martin asks us to thinks about the following:

“Rather than memorizing and regurgitating content, we need students and educators who can learn, think, and act in ways that create new and better opportunities for everyone.  This need requires that we examine traditions in education and eliminate those that get in the way of learning and innovation.”

What traditions can you rethink? What can you start doing? What can you stop doing? What can you improve?

Last week, I read about an educator that started a google doc to collect all the ideas about things that need to stop happening in education.  Interesting thought- I’m sure we could all add some ideas to this list.  If we truly want to reclaim the lost time, we must make brave choices.  Stop with the busy work.  Stop with the menial tasks.  Say no to the Pinterest lessons that are not geared to your students.  Challenge every task.  Is is meaningful?  Does it show true learning?  Do your students enjoy it?

At a recent conference, I heard Douglas Fisher speak about the findings from his book Visible Learning for Literacy.  He explained that he doesn’t do anything in his class unless research shows it has a positive impact.  Of course!  Why would we continue with “assignment X” if we can’t speak accolades to the powerful learning it provided?

I have to stop using time as an excuse for not taking a risk.  Being a true innovative educator means I must carve out time in the day for deep authentic learning.  To protect learning, I must question the way it has always been done.  To lead a change in education, I will speak up and challenge the ineffective practices.

I will make time to for authentic learning that engages curiosity and accelerates learning.

What will you do to be a connoisseur of time?

 

 

education, Innovation

Innovation to Inspire

 

pexels-photo-315658.jpegThis week I had a chance meeting with an engaging young woman.  We were both in a school waiting for the bell to ring.  Her bubbly personality and genuine honesty was captivating.  She knew I was an educator and went on to tell me that she had been a “bad” student.  She didn’t like school and couldn’t wait to graduate.

Despite this experience, she has a fantastic attitude.  She loves people and knows this is her strength.  Her hope is to find something inspiring that will allow her to interact with people.  After thinking about our conversation, I was sad and embarrassed as an educator that this was her experience. Education did that.

Did I do that to some of my students?  Did I kill the curiosity and passion for learning?  Did I ignore their strengths in the quest to “teach” them?

This chance meeting sparked more reflection about the book I am reading, Learner Centered Innovation by Katie Martin and the blog prompt for week1 of #IMMOOC 4.

LCinnocation

“Why is innovation necessary in education?  Or is it not?

YES IT IS! Innovation is essential -not just to change the experience for our students, but to give them the necessary skills to be confident empowered citizens who take risks and tackle any challenge.

Recently, I read a blog that challenged the idea that education needs to be more innovative.  The blogger felt that education was already doing this.   Are there some brave risk-takers who are challenging the traditional experience for kids?  Absolutely!  Is there a radical change throughout all of education?  No, although the idea is  growing.

In the blog, Educationrickshaw.com, Stephanie and Zach Groshell reflect on how our drive to innovate may be missing the mark.

“In looking back at my parents’ education in the 1950s and 60s, and my own education in the 1990s and 2000s, I worry sometimes that despite the huge advances that we’ve seen in technology, not much has changed when it comes to how we view learning and how we design learning environments.”

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In order to be creative and innovative, learning needs to move beyond the way it has always been.  Teachers cannot be the keepers of knowledge.  Katie Martin asks educators to think about the “What if?”  She writes:

“Many of our students are already asking “What If” So fan the flame!  Please don’t extinguish their fire with tradition and ineffective and irrelevant practices. Ask that question yourself.  What if you could create something better for your students?”

At a recent conference, some presenters talked about us living in a VUCA world.  This means a world that is VOLATILE, UNCERTAIN, COMPLEX and AMBIGUOUS.  Education must prepare students for this world.  In the province of Alberta where I work, we talk about promoting the competencies to prepare students for the future.

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Hopefully, with a focus on these skills, students will leave school empowered to contribute, solve problems, and lead change in an dynamic world.

It can’t be denied that change is constant and innovation is essential.  For now, I will pursue innovation to change the educational experience for kids.  I want to know that school was the vehicle that deepened their learning and helped them find their strengths. I want to know that school inspired them.