This afternoon we celebrated the learning we have done throughout the year. Our Professional Development focus for 2013 has been on blending technology and effective pedagogy into classroom practice. The main aim was to encourage our teachers to explore and develop their personal competency and skills and, when they are ready, to incorporate them into their teaching programmes. We hoped to provide a non-threatening, encouraging backdrop whilst also setting expectations that this was the way we wanted our teachers to go.
As you might expect we are all at different stages both as far as technology goes as well as pedagogy. It was interesting to note from discussions in our final module workshops that younger teachers are keen to learn more about traditional teaching strategies, such as story telling and role-play that are used by the older generation of teachers, as they have not learned these at Teachers ‘ College. How powerful is the opportunity to talk, share and learn from each other? It gives us food for thought for the future – how can we take advantage of the experience and expertise of our older teachers to pass on their knowledge to the new generation? Interestingly, it is not always the young that grasp the technology in both hands, many of our older teachers are proponents of embedding technology into their teaching. Developing an effective two way flow of ideas and strategies has to be a focus for next year. All this makes me think how lucky we are that we have the luxury as a State Integrated school to provide the time for Professional Development that other schools may not be able to.
For the final session of PD we wanted to be able to celebrate the work that we knew teachers were doing, the journeys they had been on in developing their expertise and exploring the possibilities that technology could offer to enhance the excellent teaching and learning that already goes on in our classrooms. We didn’t want it to be onerous at this busy end of the year (though which part if the school year isn’t busy?) so we asked for volunteers to do no more than a five minute presentation. We followed up the email with some shoulder taps and then arm twisting! It isn’t that our teachers aren’t happy to share; they are just reluctant to “show off”! Lots of lights hiding under bushels! We were also keen that it wasn’t the “early adopters” that stood up, but those who the rest of the teachers would see as “one of them”.
I have to confess to being a little nervous that the “sharefest” that I had planned would fizzle but I should have had more faith in my colleagues and with a bit of cajoling and gentle encouragement (that may not be quite how they saw it!) I had 6 willing volunteers from a range of departments.
I am not going to go on here as I have created a Storify of the session. The conversations were rich, the sharers were amazing and we clearly have lots of ideas for the future.