Changes in my practice

Image result for end of journey meme32 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.

References:

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.

My community of practice

A community of practice  is defined by Knox (2009), as “a group of people who share a passion of something they know how to do and interact regularly to learn how to do it better” where the purpose is to create, expand and exchange knowledge, and to develop individual capabilities. Wenger (2000) states that there is 3 elements to a community of practice:

  1. collective understanding of what community is about and hold each other accountable
  2.  mutual engagement and a trusted partner in interactions
  3. Shared collection of resources

 

 

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Shared Domain:
My community of practice is made up of many many sub groups where our shared domain of interest is building  and sharing knowledge and skills in our community.  We are focused on providing a platform for our learners  where they are show grit and perseverance to become life long learners.

As a community we engage in  a range of practices where we are able to build upon our knowledge and skills. These may be formal or informal conversations and observations. In my community I feel confident and  listened to, to approach members to voice concerns, ask for advice and share my own ideas. This is an important part of belonging in the community where there needs to be a high level of trust. Within this community we meet for weekly meetings – team and staff, to provide connectivity (Wenger, 2000). Emails and Google plus have also become an effective and engaging way of joint discussions and problem solving.

Shared Repertoire:
Much of our communities shared repertoire is found online. As a community we use Google Drive as way of sharing resources where everyone has access. As well as this we also use Google Plus, this is a quick and easy way where we can share ideas, reading, tools for learning and provide feedback. This allows a framework where we are able to reflect as a community, understand other perspectives and problem solve (Wenger, 2000). Face to face communication such as observations from colleagues and the use of videoed lessons, provides time to engage in reflective questioning and listening.

My Role and contribution:
My role in the community is forever changing depending on what the situation that we are discussing or participating in. The main role in which I feel I fall in to is as a facilitator and an active member. I am comfortable in sharing my ideas and resources as well as giving feedback to others. At times I still feel like a newcomer to the community, especially as part of the senior team where I have only been this year. With more experienced and  older members around me, it can sometimes feel daunting and that my ideas aren’t as of much value.

Other Communities:
Although my school community at Otonga is my main, everyday community, I also now have the added bonus of being apart of the Mindlab community. Most of this community takes place online through our google plus community. On here we are able to share our blogs, ask questions, and share resources.  I am lucky enough to have a colleague from school also part of this community, so we are able to share our ideas, reflect on our thinking, collaborate and consolidate face to face.

Knox, B.(2009, December 4). Cultivating Communities of Practice: Making Them Grow.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhMPRZnRFkk

Wenger, E.(2000).Communities of practice and social learning systems.Organization,7(2), 225-246 (Link to the article in Unitec Library).