Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘CPD’

Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 03 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 24/09/2013 at 4:00 pm

Twitter Blog Post 13 (Who are the Twitterati)

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Some of you probably thought my use of the term Twitterati in that last post was a bit “cruel”.

I have to admit, it’s true that some definitions, like those at the Urban Dictionary – the ones I just pointed you to towards, look as if they could have been written by teenage geeks that secretly want to join the gang of “cool kids” at their High School (or were simply written by homophobes, perhaps).

There are no real secrets surrounding the Twitterati in any field/sector or interest area – they are dead easy to spot.

Twitter Blog Post 15 (The REAL Twitterati)

BTW – I hate the term “follower” with a passion…just so you know!

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Yes, some tweeps might prize their status in an “elite crowd”, they might have an ego bigger than a bus, and…they might even shed a tear when so-and-so manages to gather more “followers” than those in their own Twibe (go on – you know what this is).

It doesn’t matter really – in EDUcation, I define Twitterati as those who use Twitteractively (or like me, over-actively) – regardless of the motivations for doing so.

The “elite” side of things is still there – this crops up because, as Tom Whitby has pointed out (in the case of the USA), there are so bloody few of us!

Now, you see why I asked the question I asked…

Twitter Blog Post 11 (Twitterati mutual masterbation)

…not just because I am a High School “mean girl”!

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Is it only me that finds it ironic that so many of us promote the use of Twitter…to the so-called “unconnected” or “semi-connected”by posting on Twitter?

But, then again – how do we reach them?

Neyse…

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Tom has calculated (or made a “calculated guess”) that there are only 200 to 300,000 “connected” educators in the US (the ones that would probably have a Twitter account and do loads more on-line stuff). This is from a total population of between 7.2m to 11m EDUcators…across the USA – that’s around 4% or 1.8%, if we use the extremes (read his post to find out why no one “knows” how many American teachers there are).

OMG! That ain’t a lot…ain’t many at all!

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Tom’s post also got me thunking – about how popular EDUtweeting actually is.

Taking my lead from him, I randomly selected 8 of my favourite EDUthunkers (and authors) and also 8 of my favourite “connected” EDUcators (people who have a decent digital presence and leave enough footprints to inspire me…and help me LEARN). In truth, there’s a bit of overlap between the two groups – but let’s not quibble.

As these people mean so much to me in my “second life”, I wondered how many other people might feel the same. Yeah, I had to use “followers”sorry!

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Here’s what I came up with:

Twitter Blog Post 14 (Tonys Tweet Roll)

Kinda frackin’ drops off after “Sir Ken”, don’t it? 

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But, take a closer look…and then…compare those numbers with Justin Beiber or Paris Hilton (above)!

Sorry (bw)

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Lady Gaga puts on a good show…I like the way she pushes the envelope in dancelove her views on “tolerance”! BUT, come on – how can she have 40,167,626 more followers….than Howard Gardner?

The man is an eduGOD!

BUT, then again…look at HIS followers.

Even our dear own RTE has more followers than the big, bearded guy in the sky!

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If these numbers are some / any kind of indication of the amount of thunking we are doing (across the planet…yes, the whole bloody world! ) with regards EDUcation, TEACHing and LEARNing….

…we are sooooooooooo screwed!

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When we think about Tom’s numbers…on connected TEACHers, the same type of worry starts to get to me. Of course, many of these non-TWEACHers (yep, you got it!), could be doing loads of other great professional development stuff (reading those “book-thingies” or doin’ some of that there book LEARNin’, for example) – we just don’t know

In fact, no-one knows for sure how many TEACHers are actually on Twitterespecially…in…

Canım Türkiyem (TG Ver 03)

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I tried to find out…let it never be said that I do not go that extra mile for you all…and got a high-priority, emergency tweet to Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter) asking him a (very polite) question…

Twitter Blog Post 10 (Tweet for Dick)

 …the buggar ignored me!

Does he not know who “I” am? At all?

 

Actually, way before this…I did do a bit more hard-nosed research.

Just before Summer, I was lucky enough to be invited to be a co-presenter at a series of technologically-themed professional development seminars. These were held over 3 glorious weekends (on the Island of Cyprusthe Northern bit!) and, in total, around 375-400 teachers (from around canım Türkiyem) participated in these 2-day events (and did a lot of dancing, too…a lot)!

As part of my sessions, I did a few quick straw-pollsyou know:

A.   How many of you have a Twitter account?
B.   How many of you use Twitter to develop yourself professionally?
C.    How many of you use Twitter with your students (as part of their learning opportunities)?

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The responses:

Twitter Blog Post 16 (My data)

Didn’t fill me with confidence!

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But, at least…a lot of people who came over to the Island (in Summer) said they would give it a try – many have tweeted me (yeah!)…lots have “friended” me on Facebook (I share a lot there, too).

This is how we reach our semi-connected or unconnected TEACHers…on Cyprus, in the Summer, while dancing!

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We collaborate (face-to-face),

connect (face-to-face) and

care (face-to-face)…too!

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I’m gonna need a “Postscript”

– ain’t I?

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NOTE from the CBO:

If you are interested in following some great EDUcators and TEACHers on Twitter, why not take a look at some of these lists:

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And, give these ones a quick gander, too:

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I’ll be honest, I do not follow all of them – and there’s a couple of them in there that I wouldn’t be seen dead tweeting (or twerking) withthe choice is all yours!

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

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P.S: If you have found these last posts useful, why not print them out…”adopt” a non-TWEACHer…take him for coffee and “walk” him through the Twitter process (tell him about your experiences, show him your account & favourite tweets (& tweeps), let him ask his own questions…play around together!)  😉 

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Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 02 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/09/2013 at 11:36 am

Now, I know that some of you might have thunked that those questions were a bit “silly“…certainly not the stuff of a serious scientific inquiry into TEACHer LEARNing.

Especially, that last one…Number 04.

I’ll come back to that later, promise!

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The thing is, you see, we need to remember that:

Questions (Joseph O Connor quote) Ver 03

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Question number 01 was prompted by a recent report (sent to me as a Twitter “attachment” no less) – a report that tells us that Twitter is actually making today’s kids (our “dumbest generation” ever, many have suggested – people like Miley Cyrus as you might have seen in the first part of this series) …“smarter”.

Yes, I said “smarter”!

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This report is based on the work of Andrea Lunsford (a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University) – and she suggests that the increase in writing (in terms of both quality and quantity) that her research has uncovered is down to the fact that students are doing more “life writing” (the social, fun variety that blogs and social media sites, like Twitter, encourage).

Now, there might be some academics out there that want to tear down Andrea (you go girl!) – but her work is adding weight to similar, earlier work. The work of Gary Small – work that has been picked up and made more “digestible” by guys like David Weinberger (yes, you can “click” on these little red links…and crawl further down the rabbit-hole)…

…as well as a few of my favourite (paper-based) BEDtime READing over the past few years (you HAVE TO read these books):

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The bottom line is that there is now a tidal wave of thunking (and research) that is showing us that TECHnology (and Twitter) is helping kids and young adultsLEARN faster – and, inşallahbetter.

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I guess the question I was really toying with is…

Twitter Blog Post 09 (Is it the same TEACHers)

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There’s certainly a great deal of interest in helping TEACHers get better at “doing” Twitter – more tips and hints than you could shake a stick at:

 

Then, TEACHers can go “PRO” – with Social Media (non-TEACHing, yani) Gurus:

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Blogger (still ignore you)

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Some of my favourite ELT bloggers have done some excellent posts on the benefits of Twitter for teachersVicky Loras did a great post in her recent “PD in Focus” series. 

However, it does not stop there – Primary Teachers, like Karen Lirenman, have done the same in posts likeUsing Twitter in a Primary Classroom 

Work in the College or H.Ed arenaNo worries – try Suzanne Holloway’sUsing Twitter in the College Classroom“. 

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The SECRET (Expletive)

 

We even have stuff for kindergarten TEACHers

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All great stuffGR8 stuff!

but...

…and some of you (them…) are gonna “hate” me for this!

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Remember what I was saying about the type of 21st Century LEARNing Culture…you know, the one we all need to “live within” to LEARN, GROW…and get off the planet (as quickly as we can):

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

It’s a bit more than “pretty graphic” – designed for a pain-in-the-ass friend of mine!

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There’s certainly a lot of LEARNing to be had from these tweets and posts!

The other question here (of course), to borrow Tom Whitby’s lovely turn of phrase

Twitter Blog Post 11 (Twitterati mutual masterbation)

Yani, how many semi-connected or unconnected TEACHers “read” this stuff?

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…and then, we have the matter of my second question:

Twitter Blog Post 12 (FQ #02)

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Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 01 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/09/2013 at 5:56 am

Twitter Blog Post 01

A few days back, I re-introduced my “model” of what 21st Century LEARNing Culture might…should look like.

You know, the type of organisational or institutional climate that might…could create the working / learning environments that would allow us all to be the best possible versions of ourselves.

I did the original version around 30 months ago but decided it needed an upgrade…

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I was well-proud of myself…these things take ages to create!

Twitter Blog Post 02 (21C Culture ver 03)

…that was till a dear friend of mine got me some “feedback”!

 

Feedback via Twitter (in three or four DMs, of course)!

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The feedback went something like this:

“I love the way you put your rose-coloured glasses on when you do posts”

BUT

(I knew what was coming)

“…there are just too many ideas there…too many thunks, as you would say – couldn’t you just give us a simple version…a snappier version that we could all remember”!

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He had a point (buggar) and I had a go:

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

Not too shabby…if I say so meself!

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Snappy, sexy…and…grounded on the communicative power of the number “3”.

A politician’s wet dream…

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Then, I smelled the coffee!

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Why was I doing this?

Why was I “dumbing” down what I believe in – for an “audience”…of one?

Why was I aggreeing with someone that it is OK to drag our thunking down to the lowest common denomitator…or wordbite?

WHY (joker Face)

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Because, sadly, we live in a world that has become addicted to “solving” its problems in one of four ways:

Twitter Blog Post 04 (the Twitter EGGS)

Sometimes all four at once!

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…and the little Twitter bird tells us this is OK.

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Not just “OK” but a prerequisite…if you want to be “liked” or “followed”…

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Time for a RANT

Oh, deary-me…me-oh-my

is Tony getting ready for a rant, acaba?

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Nooooooo – when have you ever heard me “rant”?

This post has been in the pipeline for a while – I wanted to look at how we (as TEACHers) are using Twitter to help us LEARNADAPT to the rapidly changing eco-systems that we live in…and use the tools that these systems are giving us.

Oh, yes….and share a few useful links!

The rant (that never was) was an after-thunk…I might come back to it later.

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Twitter (bird announce)

Those of you that know me and connect over twitter, know that I share….big time! Twitter has become my main vehicle for sharing things I stumble across…I am interested in…I am sent.

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I read a LOT.

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I signed up for Twitter in February 2011like most men, I was a late developer.

I wanted to use my Twitter account to share good stuff on LEARNing, EDUcation and TRAINing – and 99.99% of my tweets are about these things (the rest are about my dog….Dexter and my favourite “guilty pleasure”….Dexter)!

Since that time, I have clocked up around 11,400 tweets95% of which carry a bit of “bedtime reading” – a link to a blog post, an article or report, or an infographic….even a video or podcast (from time to time).

Twitter Blog Post 05 (Tonys stats)

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HELLO! My name’s Tony and I’m a tweep!

HELLO, Tony!

Well, I haven’t tweeted for 2 hours, 37 minutes and…

DAMN! …fell off the wagon, again!’

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That’s around 1.6m characters (each tweet allows you 140 of those) I have thrown into the tweetiverse (you can guess this word, yes? I’ll be doing this a lot in this mini-series).

Trust me – I am not the “worst”…there are many other tweeps out there far worse than I (and not just Miley Cyrus…and all the parental tweeps she upset recently with her “twerkingnot tweeting)!

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BUT, and…as I saidI read a LOT!

Because of my love of “BEDtime READing” and my talent for wishing to inflict it on others – that means that there are, approximately, another 11 to 13 million words I have communicated to my other tweeps…through the tweets I have sent over the past 30 months!

Twitter Blog Post 08 (Total Novels)

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Now, on the whole – my bouts of tweetery have been greeted “warmly“. Many of them are RT’ed (retweeted)…a lot of them are “favourited” (I’m guessing to be saved for laters…as we TEACHers are often in a class when the little twitter ringtone kicks in).

Every now and again I get a lovely little tweet or DM (direct message) saying something like:

Twitter Blog Post 06 (Yasemins comment)

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Yasemin’s comment, BTW, could be roughly translated as “These links are sick“! (“sick” in teenage-speak, yani…meaning “so cool”)! OK – so she actually said “I am sick about these links of yours”! – but that does not translate as well…

Just so you know!

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But, what got me thunking…was whether I had done the LEARNing that 13 million words (of READing) seemed to suggest. Whether my tweeps had also done the same amount of LEARNingor (even) READing…as I had done.

Maybe, they had done even more!

And, perhaps more importantly…how had we used that LEARNing for ourselves – and to add value to our classroom practice and LEARNers.

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I realised I needed to do some research….#crowdsourcing even!

Twitter Blog Post 07 (Crowdsourcing FQs)

How would YOU answer these questions?

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Teacher LEARNing, PD, CPD, Training….wotever! When are we going to get it ‘right’?

In Adult Educators, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 13/07/2013 at 8:06 am

TEACHer THUNKS on CPD

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As you can see from those little images, all is not well in the State of Teacher LEARNing, PD, CPD, Training (delete as you “prefer”) – and not just in the sense that I outlined in my last post!

Indeed, when we try to speak to many TEACHers about their PD or professional LEARNing – more often than not, we get a response like this:

Dont make me use my TEACHer voice (TG ver)

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But, maybe…that’s half the problem?

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When we do ask TEACHers to use their voice on allthingsCPD, we tend to find that many of them are split into TWO camps:

CPD (two camps)

…but this is to the “untrained” ear!

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When we dig a little deeper (and I’m more interested in the “unsmiley group” – that is the problem), what we actually hear them saying is things like this:

PD is crap 01

…and a couple of other things, too:

PD is crap 02

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To put it quite bluntly – many of the “solutions” are thereright in front of our eyes!

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason…proportionate use is the key.

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Sure, there many be issues with money and funding (isn’t there always?) – get creative with sponsors! If we really value LEARNing (of the TEACHer variety – and we should), we’ll find a way to trim some “fat” and inject it where it “matters”. Yes, and there might be one or two malcontents out there (in our staffrooms) who will give us a hard time…whatever we do.

Hey, that’s life…deal!

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but...

…the fact remains that…most TEACHers are human beings, too (!) – they too are imagineered for LEARNing…they love LEARNing new things…new stuff…new ways of promoting student LEARNing

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The LEARNing opportunities we provide them just need it to be “fit-for-purpose”…to be convenient…to be useful…and FUN (but not just a “laugh-and-giggle show”)…

Gamification 02

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There’s been a few really good posts thrown into the blogosphere of late – many of them offer some great THUNKS on how to get it right:

Blogger (still ignore you)

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Adam Bellow did a lovely post based on FOUR critical wordsPD: Four Ways to Start Changing the World This Summer

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Josh Round did one some time back (but I only found it this week) – What to Put in the CPD Pot – full of sensible practical ideas.

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Med Kharback (aka @medkh9) put an EDtech and DIY “spin” on professional development in his post – Top 8 EdTech Tools for Teacher CPD.

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Laura Conley gets us to think about “flipping” (no, not THAT type !) with her great post – 7 Steps To Flipped Professional Development (first appeared on gettingsmart.com).

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@WhatEdSaid (aka Edna Sackson) made a storming return to the blogosphere with her – 10 Principles of Effective Professional LEARNing… – a post that stretches us to be “thunking doers” not just “PD delivery boys” (and girls)!

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LEARNing (cannot be delivered) Ver 02

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…and….ONE more:

Susan Lucille Davis gave us her – What Teachers Really Want – a post that every PD Coordinator, Training Manager or EDUboss should take note of (TEACHers, too)!

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All good stuff!

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But, then again…it’s always better to hear the voices of our own TEACHers!

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When Spoon-feeding the “Kids” is NOT Enough… (not a RE-boot)!

In Adult Educators, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training, The Paradigm Debate on 09/07/2013 at 11:53 am

Spoonfeeding TEACHers 02

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This was a question a very irate TEACHer-cum-PARENT asked me the other week. She was, of course, talking about LEARNing our kids to feed themselves.

“They are turning my kid into a little test-drone” – she told me. Here, she was talking about her child’s school…and, probably, she wasn’t far wrong.

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Most of our schools are firmly grounded on 4 ways of “doing business”:

Spoonfeeding TEACHers 03

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Yeah…sorry about that – but, if it’s any consolation, that little image up there took me ages to do…guess I was making up for that last, imagesiz blog post I did.

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I don’t want to get into all of them – one-by-one – and, besides, most of you know what I thunks:

LEARNing (cannot be delivered) Ver 02

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You also know…in your heart-of-hearts that:

High Grades and LEARNers (Wiggins quote)

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I do not really care how many practice books, online resources, mock tests, or so-called “extra-curriculuar” tutoring sessions a school offers its kids…if these materials or opportunities are of the just-in-case, EXAMocracy type (rather than the just-in-time, LEARNing type) – the result is the same.

Pigeon holes (even of the “multiple intelligence variety”) are too small for our kids!

Hey, I did manage to cover them all!

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Twilight Zone 01b (TG edit).jpg

However, the story did not stop there.

I got a call from one of the “team” at the school (where my friend sends her kid) – quite by co-incidence.

They wanted me to to come to their school at the end of August and…wait for it…. “deliver a lecture” to their TEACHers…a 60-minute lecture, no less / no more (because, I was told, TEACHers cannot focus for more than 50-60 minutes) on….wait for it… “creativity with the new textbooks they have adopted” .

Do they not know me…at all?

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HULK (keep calm TG Ver)

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To add insult to injury…they also asked me if I knew any other native-speakers that would be prepared to come a give a 60-minute session on…and this was the killer… “any topic they wanted!

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The SECRET (Expletive)

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Now, I’m not going to get into the whole “NS vs. NNS TEACHer thingy” (though I would really love toI would)! But, it’s worth exploring some of the the other underlying assumptions…behind this seemingly simple request.

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There are many schools (and universities, too) out there that are basically looking for a way to “fill up” the Summer schedules of their TEACHers…called back to work far too early…when nothing of much value has been planned.

Now, I’m not saying this is the case here…Vallahi Billahi…(yep, Google Translate still sucks!) – but the request “smelled” of something…something very fishy!

Balik bastan kokar (TR ver)

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Why would a school want to invite a speaker or trainer to “do” a session on “anything they wanted” ?

Thunk about that for a minute…

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Even worse…why (oh, bloody why) would they want someone to come and deliver a lecture on a topic area or theme that is clearly so grounded on critical thunking, classroom practice and collaborative co-creation?

We’re talking about “creativity“, guys – not exam prep classes!

Duh (TG ver 4 blog)

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Now, call me old-fashioneddoesn’t happen very often…but I’m OK with it.

I’ve always believed that:

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The ART of TEACHing (van Doren quote) Ver 02

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…it just makes sense that TEACHer LEARNing (TRAINing, even – though I do prefer my other term), should follow the same principle…similar processes.

You know, all that stuff about “walking-our-talk” and “being the change we want to see in the classroom” –

posing and answering questions together,

working stuff out together,

solving real problemsTOGETHER!

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Motivation (the CHALLENGE)

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But, then again, maybe some schools just feel it’s easier to “manage” their TEACHers…when they manage their “diet”, too!

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Feeding our TEACHers is important…

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The problem is, however, that wonderful advice that Neila Hocam (yes, click on that link – it is a “real” book) gives us:

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If you dont feed the TEACHers (Connors quote) Ver 02

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…is also dependent on the “type of food” we make available to our TEACHers!

 

DIY Professional Development

In ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Training on 23/03/2012 at 12:40 pm

In Glasgow yesterday (you might have heard that there’s a wee shindig there this week) there was a lot of talk about teacher professional development.

We had Richard Gresswell telling everyone about how social media is simply one of the best forms of CPD. I have to admit he’s right – I drew the “short straw” and ended up having to sit out Glasgow 2012 to “look after the shop” here in Turkey.

Twitter to the rescue – aided and assisted by the thumbs of Jemma Gardner, who sends us so many tweets that I’m amazed she can pick up so much from the sessions she’s sitting in on. Thx Jemma!

I heard Michael Swan was also rumoured to say (finally) that “too much grammar can be damaging” (and is not very “sexy”, anyways). He recommends that all us teachers do more PD and get “better” at it (rather than simply “doing more” of it).

Totally agree – but wonder if he would be saying these things if “Practical English Usage” or “How English Works” were coming out this month?

There was a lot of chatter about “reflective practice” – with Scott Thornbury telling everyone that it is the most important thing any teacher can do and Josh Round doing a session on putting the “C” and “P” back into CPD. Good lad that Josh!

God, I love twitter and internet access – almost as if I was there!

 

But, I’m going to jump back and focus in on Richard Gresswell’s session in this post (mostly because I also have online access to his PPT and session PDF) – as I got so many tweets on what he was saying.

To be totally honest, Richard was doing a bit of “plug” for the British Council’s “new” CPD Portal – nothing wrong with that (it has some very good stuff)! He also introduced conference participants to the BC’s CPD Frameworka 6-level descriptive model of how teachers “evolve” over their careers:

He also outlined a 4-stage “model” of possible “best practice” CPD opportunities for teachers across the 6 levels:

OK – it did remind me a bit of the US Homeland Security “Threat Levels” – just watch those Level 6 “Terrorists” out there in their “PD bunkers”… – but it was good to see the thinking behind it. Thinking that many schools, colleges and universities just do not seem to do – but let’s come back to this later!

 

Richard also touched on issues such as:

  • What exactly is CPD?
  • Why is CPD so important?
  • Why do so many institutions simply not do enough CPD?

Ahhh, you know me so well…the 3rd of these really caught my attention (check out his PPT above for more detail on the other questions)!

His response to the last of the three questions was really “tagged on” right at the end of the session (wish he had said more – but this actually gave me something to “add” and blog about) – and he noted that CPD frequently does not happen because of MONEY, TIME, DIFFICULTY and CULTURE (internal and external).

To be sure – these things are important. However, they can be overcome when institutions truly value PD (even better, CPD).

The real problem is that all but very few schools, colleges and universities walk their talk  when they say “we put teachers first – they are our most important asset” (every single one of them “says” this). Sadly, many of them still pay “lip-service” to the idea that we have to invest in our teachers. They just don’t seem to get that making broad “motherhood statements” about what you say you believe is not the same as actually believing it – and doing something about it!

Yes, CPD takes time to get rightCPD is difficult…and costs money.

Duh!

 

The teachers of any educational institution are the most critical players in the LEARNing of students and also in student SUCCESS. If institutions were really all about student LEARNing and SUCCESS, they would put both students and teachers at the heart of their decision-making (and budget planning).

Schools (colleges and universities, too) need to GET REAL!

They need to move from “lip-service” to meaningful service – they need to get to know what their teachers need, they need to start providing real opportunities that support the professional learning of their teachers and they need to create the conditions that allow teachers to actively engage in those learning opportunities.

 

Instead of this we still frequently see so-called “PD Strategies” that are based on:

  • Abdication of responsibility for teacher LEARNing to publishing houses (especially in disciplines that are viewed as “cash cows” for textbook producers)
  • One-off (and hit-and-miss) “events” that are frequently viewed as a “waste of time” by teachers themselves
  • “Flavour-of-the-month projects” that by their very nature do little to promote real teacher LEARNing, distract from longer-term, meaningful projects and (to add insult to injury) add to the workload of teachers

What the British Council have done (and Richard outlined in his IATEFL presentation) is a great start. Indeed, and to borrow Josh’s words, it really starts to put the “P” back into CPD – “professional” (Josh’s “P” was actually for “personalized”).

Now, we have to look at getting the “C” in there – “continuous”.

We need to do more!

 

If school and college leaders (really, really) want to get serious about teacher LEARNing – they have to get “informed” about what teachers need:

Teachers do NOT need:

More stand-and-deliver, one-shot workshops that are plucked from an “off-the-shelf” folder of laugh-and-giggle “recipes” and have little relevance to how teachers do business in the classroom!

Teachers need:

  • to be involved in diagnosing and formulating their own LEARNing needs
  • to participate in setting their own LEARNing and professional development goals
  • to be involved in the planning their own LEARNing opportunities
  • to be in control of choosing and implementing appropriate LEARNing strategies
  • to be encouraged to identify meaningful LEARNing resources / materials
  • to be seen as “proactive LEARNers” (rather than “reactive trainees”)
  • to feel that their experience and backgrounds are valued – and that they are respected as a “whole person”
  • to LEARN in a “warm, friendly and informal climate” that provides for flexibility in the LEARNing process
  • guidance and support that maintains their motivation to LEARN and keeps them actively involved in their own LEARNing  
  • to know why they should bother to LEARN something
  • opportunities to solve real-life (and school-based) problems (not be spoon-fed training content)
  • opportunities to discover, critique and create
  • to LEARN-by-doing and engage in active experimentation (and reflection on mistakes and failures)
  • “just-in-time” professional development (not the “just-in-case” variety)
  • training support that is task-oriented and contextualised (rather than the “same-old, same-old” workshops)
  • peer support and group-based activities, as well as individual attention from “trainers” or “mentors” 
  • to know that their needs form the basis of any PD programme and that self-direction is the core principle of these programmes
  • to share responsibility for and take ownership of monitoring the progress of the LEARNing experience
  • to be involved in evaluating LEARNing outcomes and measuring their success
  • to experience a sense of progress towards their goals – and a sense of real LEARNing and growth as professionals

Dream much, Tony? 

 

Come on – it’s a set of thunks…a start! But, there’s also the option of doing it for ourselves – till then!

 

As a “stop-gap” – I would like to offer a 12-step plan for teachers that might want to thunk a wee bit more about “taking back” control of their own PD.

… a DIY-plan for doing our own Professional Development: 

STEP 1 – Read, learn and discuss more about “professional development” and the things educators are talking about – and what they “mean” for your LEARNers and your LEARNing-and-TEACHing context!

STEP 2 – Be the change you want to see in education! (nuff said – who is going to disagree with Gandhi)!

STEP 3 – Begin with the end in mind (Go on – click on it – dare you)!

STEP 4 – Just do it!

STEP 5 – Start small, begin slowly and focus on doing a few things “differently” and “well” (Rome was not built in a day…)!

STEP 6 – Know that for real improvement in LEARNing and TEACHing, we need to build in a “curriculum perspective” into our planning (what do they say – “a lack of planning is almost as bad as planning to fail”)!

STEP 7 – Remember that for real change in LEARNing and TEACHing, we need to build in an “assessment perspective” into our planning (after all, we all know that if it ain’t “tested”, it don’t get done)!

STEP 8 – Use technology – and, network, network, network (it’s never been easier)! But always remember LEARNing is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the “headware”, dummy!

STEP 9 – Review, evaluate and upgrade – Microsoft does not still “control” the world because it always gets-it-right-first-time (actually, it hardly ever does), it does well because it learns from our frustrations and pumps out upgrades faster than you can say “where’s my credit card”!

STEP 10 – Remember “best practice” is seldom ever enough – it is, more often than not, about somebody else’s solution to somebody else’s problem. Surely, it’s better to heed what Covey tells us about the “end” and “bearing it in mind” – and look for “Next Practice” for ourselves!

STEP 11 – Know thy learners, their needs and their current “headware” (you never know – you may not have to “teach” as much as you thought)!

STEP 12 – Damn! Why can you never think of a 12th Step – when you need one! Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference

 

Tom Peters once said that the ultimate aim of any leader was to “create an awesome place to work” – he also said a “key” to this was to “train, train, train”!

Smart guy, that Peters bloke! I wonder how many of our educational leaders might want to read more of what he says…and “do” something about it?

 

POSTSCRIPT

This post, so I am told by those lovely happiness engineers at WordPress is NUMBER

That’s a lot of words – thank you ALL for taking the time to drop in and have a read!