Saturday, February 7, 2015

It Starts with US: LCS Pedagogy

"If we are to successfully implement the Learn Create Share pedagogy with the children we teach, it has to begin with the big people - the adults."

Teaching is a profession where we need the support of the adults in our work life  - cause we’re surrounded by kids!  Whether these kids are wee children, teens or almost adults, they can’t (and shouldn’t) replace the friendship, collegiality, professional energising and empathy our fellow teachers provide.

But sharing is a funny old thing in teaching; it seems to come naturally to some and has to be specifically elicited from others.

In the past millennium, as a bright eyed beginning teacher, I walked into my experienced buddy teacher’s class next door the day before school started and as I was looking admiringly at his walls he snapped, “Don’t you go stealing my ideas!” Who knows what that was about?

For many teachers a reluctance to share is mostly about underestimating their own competence, shyness, fear of the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome or simply never having been told how good their ideas and practice are.  I don’t think it is a competitive streak in most cases.
One significant barrier to teachers feeling empowered to share has been the term 'Best Practice' that is used by government, academics and senior management in education.  We need to get away from this mentality which emphasises if something is being shared by a teacher it is considered to be an exemplary model of teaching for all to follow. Sharing (within the bounds of ethics, common sense and good taste) should be a snap shot of what I have learned today and I am putting it out there so you can learn from it too.

“If we are to successfully implement the Learn Create Share pedagogy with the children we teach it first has to begin with the big people - the adults” is a quote from Russell Burt.

The digital age we live in has made it so much easier to share with our colleagues as we enjoy the same affordances our children experience - anywhere, anytime, any pace and with/from anyone.  Many teachers are now well established in social networking with their peers, sharing their experiences and learning from each other. Some school leaders have formalised the processes for their staff to share professionally in spaces such as Google+ Communities, Blogs, Google Groups etc.

However we choose to do this, it is of huge benefit professionally and very important to have established in our own practice before we embark on this with our learners.

Some examples of how our Manaiakalani teachers share their practice include:
Google Plus Communities - we have our own public Manaiakalani community, and many of us belong to and contribute to other communities as well.
Blogging - a number of us blog professionally and in some of our learning groups it is a required part of the process. Here are some to get you started: Aireen,  Kirsty, Laura, Matt 
Twitter - lots of us can be found sharing on Twitter
Face to Face - our teachers put their hands up to share with colleagues at conferences and unconferences regularly, as well as at our local professional learning opportunities.

We invite you to explore some of the links below that will take you to resources and sharing communities contributed by our Manaiakalani teachers.

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers

Explore the links here as teachers have shared their inquiries from the 2014 school year.  These cover the full range of learners from Year 1- Year 13.

MDTA Beginning Teachers

This group of beginning teachers have shared their journey throughout their first year of teaching in Manaiakalani schools.  Lots of interesting ideas to explore from the link above.

Digital Immersion Network for new teachers.

Our teachers new to our cluster begin publicly sharing from the very first orientation session they attend and this becomes an ongoing part of their practice.

Teachers contributing resources to our websites

Manaiakalani Teachers regularly contribute resources to our profession learning websites so their colleagues can learn from their practice.  These are never called 'best practice'. These reflect how we are, what we have learnt, on the day we make them.

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