At the start of 2014 I watched a clip about Lollypops for Leadership by the inspiring Drew Dudley – another mint TED talk. Drew has a thought provoking approach to leadership – leadership is about changing the lives of people around us in the everyday lives of people. Excellent! We often put leadership into a box for certain people – but it is for all of us.
As teachers, we all experience hard days when we all get caught up in the not so great things. It happens to us all and it is an important part of coping – being able to debrief, rant and rave. I decided that, yes, we need to talk about those hard times but we also need to acknowledge and think about the things that happen in our day and life that make our life better at that time.
So, in our staffroom I made a post it comment wall for us all to jot down the neat things that happen in our classes that fundamentally make our lives better at that time. It’s not a competition, there is not a tally or standard that each post it comment must meet. It is a way of acknowledging the neat things that happen and sharing with each other.
I have found that when I have a ‘bad’ session in class; something ‘neat’ can happen that will unequivolently make my day better. A student that keeps ‘forgetting’ to raise her hand dramatically puts her hand up before speaking and waits. Just made my life better and buoys me for the rest of the day. These moments need to be acknowledged and celebrated.
A by product, and not the intended outcome, is the positive conversations that arise when you read a comment and seek out the author to celebrate and marvel. During lunch I read,
Mrs B you have lost your talk. Miss 5 yr old – 1 term
What entailed was a conversation about the sweetness and cuteness of this gem and the further inclusion of 4 other staff members in the conversation.
Inquiry learning. A key element in all 21st century classrooms.
What is it? A whole list of words spring to mind: student based learning; student research; questions; project based learning; collaborative; knowledge building; creation; critical reflection; celebrating; sharing & presenting; constructivist; experimental; hands on learning…… the list goes on.
As I prepare for a new school term, 7 more sleeps to go, I am refreshing my approach to inquiry learning in my class. I stumbled upon a great resource on the SAUCE approach to inquiry teaching and learning, thanks Trevor Bond. I really started to critically reflect on my own approach to inquiry learning and what my intended outcomes for my learners are. Trevor makes numerous links to using inquiry learning to scaffold learners to become independent learners and illustrates how simply re-working tasks can transform the learner onto the road to independence. This resonated with me as I am not sure all of my teaching and task selection is fostering deep conceptual understanding of a concept and independence. During a culture inquiry unit, I do not believe that some of my learners developed deep conceptual understanding of culture. So, enter the SAUCE model to inquiry learning. Key thing I love about this model: Celebrate understanding: learners produce/share/celebrate their understanding of new learning vs Celebrate Found – which is sharing new learning they have found (information recall). As I start to plan and gather resources for my classroom, I am going to ensure that I create tasks and experiences that enable my learners to celebrate their deep understanding of the key concepts and to develop independence. As a 21st century educator, it is so important to revisit strategies, models and to reflect on what I am doing and to make changes that will transform my teaching and the learning of my students – (teaching as inquiry!)