32 weeks have flown by in a blur. It is hard to believe that mindlab is coming to an end but exciting to finish this journey of professional development. I feel that this has been the most worthwhile and inspiring professional development I have undertaken and it made me think and reflect on my own practice and continues to encourage me to try new strategies and experiment with new ideas.
As Osterman and Kottkamp (1993) have discussed in their article, Reflective Practice for Educators, Continuing learning is fundamental to keep one in a profession to be able to adapt to any change be it the new pedagogy. This has been one of the most important learning journeys that I intend to continue to develop. Reflecting is something that I have struggled with over my teaching career especially expressing these reflections in words to others. I tended to reflect constantly but usually in my head without asking for feedback or looking for research to build on my reflections. As someone who claims to be a reflective teacher, learning how to reflect on my practice and how I can work towards creating a better learning environment for my students has been extremely valuable. This meets Criteria 4 of the Practicing Teacher Criteria; Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice. This is because I am continuously reflecting and looking for professional development that help me develop this practice.
The other key change in my practice relates to Criterion 7; Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment. There has been huge changes in education in the last decade with the increase in digital technology. This has meant a change in teacher led to student led learning where the focus is on student engagement. As mentioned in Mindlab’s article,Transforming Teacher Education with Digital and Collaborative Learning and Leadership, digital and collaborative practices have become an important part of our education and address the modern learning theories. With mindlab I feel much more confident and empowered to have a collaborative environment in my classroom.
The 21st century skills that we have covered at Mindlab has been a real eye opener for my teaching practice. Through looking at these rubrics, I was able to see that the most important thing that we need to be teaching our students is skills that will transfer into all of their learning and life. These include collaboration, communication, self regulation, and use of ICT. Without these skills, our students will struggle to learn and develop and eventually struggle to enter the workplace. I have taken this and had a huge focus on these skills in the classroom. We tend to choose to work in groups and have co constructed a rubric so that we have a good understanding of what collaboration really is. What I would like to do now, is look at the other 21st century skills in the classroom and break these down as a class.
After Mindlab finishes, I intend to work towards a Masters of Education (unendorsed) so that I am able to explore a variety of areas in my practice which I wish to improve.
Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California: Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.
Parsons, D., Thomas, H., Inkila, M., Antipas, P. N., Valintine, F., Pham, T., & Vo, D. (2015). Transforming Teacher Education with Digital and Collaborative Learning and Leadership. International Journal of Digital Literacy and Digital Competence (IJDLDC), 6(4), 30-48.