Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘reflective savvy’

What is “Reflective Savvy”?

In ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 14/07/2013 at 12:32 pm

REFLECTION (Jack Sparrow GET IT)

I really don’t know why I used the bloody word “savvy so much…

…when talking about allthingsREFLECTION in LEARNing and TEACHing.

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The thing is…IT is totally the RIGHT word – just a bugger to get across to people that might not have come across it before.

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One can be everso terribly clever and explain that it comes from the French savoir faire” (even though Google Translate does not, again, do a very good job with it) – but it don’t help, if they ain’t heard of that either.

I actually picked up the term from my dad…growing up in north Manchester, he was the only person I ever heard use it…and he used it a lot (…even “made up” tens/hundreds of more phrases using the word).

Now, you see where I get it from!

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When I started to learn French, I thought that he might have picked it up because he grew up so close to France (New Haven, near Brightoneven though everyone called him “Cockney Doug”…he never bothered to correct them). That, of course, was silly – New Haven was just as working class as north Manchester – even today, working class kids just not “do” languages very well (clearly…Geography, too)!

It was not until I saw Johnny Depp (as Captain Jack Sparrow) in the movie Pirates of the Carribean that it “clicked

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NO, my dad was not a pirate!

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But, he did “fake” his age to get into the Navy and “sign up” for the Second World War…to escape his family and the UK!

You also see where I get that from!

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Sailors…and pirates…use the term “savvy” a lot. And, so does the Urban Dictionarythank God!

No, I did not write that entry…but I could have, yes?

There’s also a very good story about my dad – involving a boxing match, an officer-who-wasn’t-a-gentleman and a dishonorable discharge (that my dad was VERY proud of)…but, I’ll save that for another post!

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Of course, I use the word to talk about reflection…or what it “is” about those TEACHers and EDUcators that seem to get more from their students…more for themselves…and more money!

OK – two out of three ain’t bad!

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REFLECTION 17 (Reflective SAVVY) TG ver 03

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It’s a Sunday today and I hadn’t planned on writing very much at all for this post!

In factmy big task for today was actually supposed to be more focussed on finally working out exactly where I now live here in big, bad İstanbul! Some people (the phone company…but the internet guy disagrees) tell me I live in Suadiye…other people (the electric company) tell me I live in Erenköy…and then, yesterday, one of my wife’s old friends from Dubai told us we actually live in Şaşkınbakkal (which roughly translates as the “confused grocer”he ain’t alone)!

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So, I’m going to leave you with a few thunking questions:

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How “savvy” are you with your own reflective practice?

How do you know this?

What do you do with this “savvy”?

How do these things help you get better at what you do with what you know?

If someone asked you “evidence” this “reflective savvy”, how would you do that?

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And, as a little Sunday “treat”…some of my favourite thunks on the nature of reflection!

Enjoy…8

REFLECTION 16 (Pearce quote)

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REFLECTION 15 (Woon quote)

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REFLECTION 14 (Levithan quote)

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REFLECTION 13 (Cicero quote)

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REFLECTION 12 (Confucius quote)

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REFLECTION 11 (Ronald quote)

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REFLECTION 10 (Frost quote)

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REFLECTION 09 (Drucker quote)

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REFLECTION 08 (Kierkegaard quote)

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REFLECTION 07 (Rogers quote)

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REFLECTION 06 (Socrates quote)

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REFLECTION 05 (Camus quote)

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REFLECTION 04 (Confucius quote)

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REFLECTION 03 (Alfadi quote)

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REFLECTION 02 (Wheatley quote)

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REFLECTION 01 (Wordsworth quote)

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REFLECTION (Jack Sparrow GOT IT)

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Yes, I know that was a bit of a cop-out…but the images/quotes were nice, yes?

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REFLECT (and THUNK) Yourself…to GREATness (the RE-boot)!

In Adult Learners, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 26/06/2013 at 12:38 am

big bad İSTANBUL

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A couple of you have probably heard that I have “moved” …and have been “celebrating” that around half-a-million folk have dropped into the ole blog (shirously, guys…you have to get a life)!

OK – this post has been one of the favourite “hits” for many of you…and, as part of my 500K celebrations, I decided it needed a “re-boot”…so this is what you get!

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Best way to be BORING (Voltaire quote)

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Did you KNOW that:

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  • 65% of conference attendees believe they LEARN nothing from plenary sessions…
  • 55% of conference attendees prefer the coffee breaks to the break-out sessions they attend…
  • 45% of conference attendees “sneak” off to do a bit of sight-seeing…or shopping…(!)

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Did you also know that 33% of statistics are made up on the spot!

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OK, OK – my conference “stats” may lack a bit of reliability…but it’s true – we EDUcators do not do our best LEARNing at conferences!

I lke boring things (Warhol quote)

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Neyse…. to something totally different!

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I have done a great deal of interviewing in my time (karma…previous lives poorly lived, no doubt) – but one interviewee still stands out for me…nearly 13 years after the fact.

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I had probably interviewed around 15 candidates on the day I met him – and I was bored to death by people telling me what a great team-player they were…how flexible they could be in difficult situations…and, how they were really “interested” in all our “strategic initiatives” (that weren’t even on the website)!

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He popped in (with no tie, I must add) – the “balls” on the guy…and I decided to ask him (first question – right in):

“Tell me why you are a great TEACHer…”!

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His response:

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Not sure I am that great…I’m good…but I’m good because I LEARN faster than most, I work harder at reflecting than most and I like doing “it” with other TEACHers…

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OK – I had to hold back a “giggle” with that last comment (but “humour” is what we look for, too). 

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I gave him the job!

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TEACHers learn best by REFLECTing:

Classroom reflection (FQs for TEACHers) TG Ver 03

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And, they do “it” best with OTHER TEACHers!

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A TEACHer’s level of “reflective savvy” is essentially the product of “who they are“; their level of critical literacy, their level of LEARNacy and their level of emotional literacy.

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This savvy is critical for the level of EDUcational Literacy that a teacher has – the GOOD news – it is “LEARNable”! And, LEARNable by just doing “it”.

OK – I really have to stop that…

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I have to admit…developing your reflective savvy does take time (maybe, it never really stops).

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It’s about asking the “right” questionsagain and again. Taking the time tostep back and weigh up what’s really happening around you…within you…as a LEARNing professional.

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It’s about working towards greater clarity and understanding – by being “honest“.

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BUT, most importantly – it’s about taking ACTION – and ACTION that leads to “improvements” in what you KNOW, what you DO and WHO YOU ARE as an EDUcator.

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Many educators do this by asking questions about TEACHing:

These are “great” questions – but are they enough?

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We all know that there is a huge difference between asking questions about TEACHing and asking others about LEARNing:

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In fact, we can take the same 3 questions and apply them to LEARNing:

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If you want…we can even push that boat out a little further…just a little, mind:

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WHAT the HELL….in for a pound, in for a penny; Let’s take those THREE little questions and think about:

  • CURRICULUM
  • ASSESSMENT (and, TESTING – of course)
  • EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • QUALITY
  • …the CONFERENCE BUDGET (and how we can spend that money so much more wisely)!

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Hey, here’s a whacky idea  – …speak to your HoD and ask her to cancel the “boring administration meeting” she had planned for you all this week!

Get a cup o’ çay (and a biscuit) with your friends…take the time to “sit” and “chat“…and REFLECT!

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Einstein and CPD

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GO ON…do “it” with another TEACHer today

…you know you’ll have fun!

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Emotional Literacy for Educators – the 12-step programme!

In Adult Educators, Classroom Teaching, Educational Leadership on 05/04/2012 at 10:45 am

In a recent post I talked about the idea of Emotional Literacy – one of the core human literacies that drive great TEACHing and also great educational leadership.

Some people call it Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI), educational leaders often use the term “Conscious Leadership” – I prefer to think of it as the “people STUFF” in LEARNing and TEACHing.

Call it what you will…it is here to stay! And, as a concept, it is attracting more and more interest in education as we all get to grips with balancing the “digital literacies” (and fluencies) of the 21st Century with the “human literacies” that are the very foundation of good LEARNing and TEACHing.

In an earlier post, I told you that Tom Peters believes that the world today needs “leaders” who:

OK , I might re-name that 6th one – “LEARN, LEARN, LEARN”!

You know me so well…

 

For me, all TEACHers are LEADersand Uncle Tom puts his finger on all the major elements that TEACHer LEADers (and their school LEADers) really need to emphasise as they work with 21st Century students. If we do not walk-the-talk, how can we expect our students to even LEARN the talklet alone “walk” it!

The internet is today awash with advice for 21st Century Educational Leaders – these leaders are not only 21st Century Learning Specialists, they are also:

These ideas are also reflected in the work of educators like Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen – who believe that all leaders (and there are many all over our schools and colleges) need to think more about their own “consciousness”:

 

…if we are to do the same with our LEARNers!

 

This notion of Conscious Leadership has also been around for some time.

Deepak Chopra tells us we are beginning to see, thanks to information technology (those damn computers, again!), a paradigm shift from a material worldview to a consciousness-based worldview. This makes a great deal of sense – after all:

  • What is consciousness, if not information and energy that has become alive with self-referral? In other words, consciousness is information that responds to feedback, which is also information.

This self-referred information, if applied to “what matters”, supports the process of “consciousness” becoming “intelligence” – and even more LEARNing.

 

This, in essence, is what we teachers call “reflective savvy”:

– the very process of what we all do to improve what we do with what we know and understand about LEARNing and TEACHing and adapt or transform ourselves as educators…yes, I know – a mouthful!

 

Being a great TEACHer in the 21st Century, to go back to Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen, is not just about the “tech” – it is not even just about LEARNing and TEACHing practice in the classroom (“virtual” or not). Though, I have to admit, the whole idea of LEARNacy is probably on a par with these:

It’s essentially about exercising our Emotional Literacy “muscle” – knowing and understanding more about our SELF, our OTHERS and our CONTEXT…and being “savvy” on the INTRAPERSONAL, INTERPERSONAL and ENVIRONMENTAL levels, too.

And…how we critically apply this knowledge to all our EDU understandings:

 

So, how should we exercise this muscle – to make it more emotionally intelligent and make ourselves more emotionally literate?

 

A while back, I tried to develop a “12-Step Plan” to help teachers set up their own D-I-Y professional development process (if their schools were not helping them out as much as they should).

I thought I’d try the same for Emotional Literacy:

STEP 1 – Read, learn and discuss more about emotional intelligence and conscious leadership (book learnin’ be good – sharing be better)!

STEP 2 – Know thyself (and know “others” and “context” more)! This needs a couple more steps…

STEP 3 – Try to become more aware of your own “emotional style”. Ask yourself – What do I do in more emotional situations? How do I try to avoid discomfort? What do I know about the emotions of those I work with (and how do I know this)? What role do emotions play in my institution (and how do I know this)?

STEP 4 – Get to know yourself better by trying out a few of the many EQ assessment tools you can find nowadays – to understand your strengths and “soft spots” a bit more. Be careful – there is a lot of “rubbish” on the web!

STEP 5 – Focus on your own “listening skills” as a priority – listen in to others (and yourself) and see what lessons you can learn from feelings and emotions. And, remember “listening is often the best way to get your point across”!

STEP 6 – Be the change you want to see in your leadership style (OK – slight modification on what Gandhi told us) and work to increase positive feedback to yourself (and those around you) and increase your appreciation of others (try counting how many times you say “thank you” – each day)!

STEP 7 – Just do it! 

STEP 8 – Start small, begin slowly and focus on doing a few things “differently” and “well” (Rome was not built in a day…)!

STEP 9 – Don’t use technology – remember what we said; the people “stuff” (and LEARNing) is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the headware, heartware and careware!

STEP 10 – If in doubt (and you have some “spare cash”), try attending a programme on EQ (but watch out for “EQ sharks” – those buggers that read-a-book and tell-the-world). Hey, if you can do it (and we do not do this enough in education, at all) – get yourself a “coach” (but remember – you get what you pay for)!

STEP 11 – Remember “best practice” is seldom ever enough (and the attitude of “fake-it-till-you-make-it” is quickly sussed out by others) – 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” in ourselves! 

STEP 12 – Always my favourite – remember: 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…

Hey, I’m getting better at this “12-step thing”!

 

But, then again, I’m sure you have some other ideas!

Do our schools speak LEARNing as a “first” or a “second” language?

In Our Schools, Our Universities, Technology, The Paradigm Debate on 16/10/2011 at 11:12 am

In essense, this is a question that goes all the way back to the seminal paper (now over 15 years old) penned by Barr and Taggstill one of my favourite articles – EVER! And it has links to some other critical questions:

Are our schools, colleges and universities LEARNing institutions or TEACHing institutions?

Do our schools, colleges and universities “teach” STUDENTS or “teach” COURSES?

 

As well as some other more heavy-duty questions:

We could push the boat out a little further and ask:

Do our institutions HAVE a perspective on TEACHing or do they TAKE a TEACHing perspective?

Do our institutions HAVE a perspective on LEARNing or do they TAKE a LEARNing perspective?

Obviously, these are “huge” questions (far smarter women than I have been trying to address these over the years) – and certainly questions that can not be answered in a single blog-post (however “non-lazy” it may be – this time around)…

 

My interest in whether schools (and teachers) “speak”:

LEARNing as a First Language (LFL), or

LEARNing as a Second Language (LSL)

…really started when I was asked to lead a discussion on the “digital divide” at a conference in Antalya (around 6 months ago).

In that presentation I used a C-NET video that was really popular at the time (you have to click n’ view – Clementine is so “sweet”). More recently, another YOU-tube video (go on – click n’ view) has surfaced – a video that suggests that I might have been right (but I really do not want to be “that guy” – you know, the guy that says “I told you so” – na, nah, na, na, nah…)

 

The point I was trying to make in the session I led was that there is more than a word of truth in the claims that today’s kids really do “speak”:

DIGITAL as a First Language (DFL)… 

…while there are many of us (not just in the world of teaching) that “speak”: 

DIGITAL as a Second Language (DSL)…

I did note that all the chatter about digital “natives” and immigrants” is perhaps a bit overstated (you have to read the great paper written by Zur and Zur on this).

 

However, when we really take a look at today’s digital natives – it not only that they speak DFL that is important…they have become “bilingual” and speak both DFL and LSL.

Of course, there are those around that might dispute this claimand say human beings have been doing this for yearswithout the “tech”.

TRUE – but the point is that this type of technology is everywhere, it is getting easier to use and it can help us learn more faster than ever before! And, more importantly, kids are using more of it at “home” than they are at “school”…

Would we really have seen a baby getting “frustrated” that the pictures in her mommy’s glossy magazine can’t be “flipped” last year?

 

This bi-lingual, digitally-enabled “army” is getting ready to take the playgrounds of our schools by stormsooner than we all think (in fact, in some countries the invasion is well under way).

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that we all have to mindlessly pull every bit of hardware we can get our hands on into our classrooms. I have said before…and I repeat:

It’s about the language, dummy!

 

The “grammar” and “lexis” used by those who speak LFL is very different to those who speak TEACHing as a First Language (TFL):

 

How many of our schools, colleges and universities have:

Taken a “students-eye-view” of what the world of LEARNing and TEACHing should look like in our institutions…

Reflected on the implications of this at the level of school leadership and culture…

Conducted the type of “cultural anthropology” and made the type of “appropriate adjustments” recommended by Zur and Zur.

Modified the way they “do the business” of curriculum and assessment planning (at a systemic, whole-school level)

Adapted their learning environments and classrooms to mirror these – hell, even bothered to modify how “timetables” are built…

Many institutions have…..

Many others are starting to get to grips with these challenges….

BUT “most” have not!

 

Sure, there are many schools and colleges that are talking about the impact of the 21st century transformative moment

…and battle lines are often drawn across the playground by those who have become very fluent in DSL and those who are still struggling to put a sentence together.

The problem with this is that it often creates another divide…and “fear“!

Does this really help us all out…seriously?

We often come across “tourists” who do not have a solid command of the language of the host-country they are visiting…trying to buy stuff in shops. Sometimes they struggle with the currency and can’t tell the $5 bill from the $50 bill. If they are lucky, they fall into the hands of a decent, honest shop-keeper or store assistant…if not, you know the rest!

In much the same way, hundreds of educational institutions have sought to “buy” themselves out of the problems being created by the so-called “digital divide” – and we are seeing that much of this expenditure just throws good money after bad.

 

The problem is…these institutions often have a very “thick accent“, get mixed up with “appropriate collocations” or drop a critical “helping verb” or two while they are chatting. However, for many of them – the REAL issues are their values, beliefs and assumptions about what works best…and what matters.

Far too many institutions have not explored many of the critical questions I noted at the very start of this little blog-post, they have not engaged their communities – and, they still believe in “silver bullet recipes” and “magic“.

 

We cannot hope to get to the place where we all TAKE a LEARNing perspective (or get fluent in another language) without asking a few questions…

 

Think this one needs a SEQUEL

…(or five)!

 

If you are interested in the two earlier posts, click n’go: 

 

 

What is EDUCATIONAL LITERACY? – another DVD Box-Set…

In Educational Leadership, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Training on 09/10/2011 at 10:12 am

In a number of our recent posts, we have been exploring the notion of Educational Literacy (EdL) – and a few of you have been asking for more on what exactly EdL is:

Simple enough, yes? But, we have also been working to demonstrate that:

All the talk of “mushrooms” has probably thrown a spanner or two into the works so I thought I’d go back to the very beginninghence the DVD Box-Set.

As usual, this summarises a lot of the posts that relate to this topic – so just hit the red hot-links to see the full post.

Enjoy!

 

In one of our very first posts, we discussed the importance of:

I did, of course, link this to the work of Guy Claxton and his call for educators to get busy building up the ResilienceResourcefulnessReflectiveness and Reciprocy our learners need.

I have elaborated on Claxton’s work in another post – and shared a few great links with everyone:

 

Quite a few people thought that I had not really talked enough about “teachers” – so I corrected this:

But noted that perhaps:

 

It was that post (drawing on the ideas of Knowles) that took us a little deeper into the world of “andragogy” and adult LEARNing. Now, this was not really an area we had decided to look into in much detail – but we then discovered that we were having to explore the notions of literacy/fluency, “cooking” and oh, yes – teacher LEARNing!

Now, you see where the mushrooms come in!

 

What dawned on us, however, was that we were really discussing how LEARNing (or rather “learnacy” – again, another gem from Guy Claxton) had impacted the way we “see” the “effective” teacher.

This meant that, perhaps, we had to discuss the notion of Educational Literacy (EdL) in more specific terms:

 

The “title” of the above trilogy suggested, to some, that we were talking about allthingstechnology– we were not!

 

But, we have tried to clarify this in a more recent post:

 

There will probably be more of this over time

REFLECT yourself to GREATNESS…

In Classroom Teaching, Conferences, Teacher Training on 27/09/2011 at 12:38 pm

Did you know that:

  • 65% of conference attendees believe they learn nothing from plenary sessions…
  • 55% of conference attendees prefer the coffee breaks to the break-out sessions they attend…
  • 45% of conference attendees “sneak” off to do a bit of sight-seeing…or shopping…(!)

...shopping time!

 

Did you also know that 33% of statistics are made up on the spot!

 

OK, OK – my conference stats may lack a bit of reliability…but it’s true – we educators do not do our best LEARNing at conferences!

 

I have done a great deal of interviewing in my time (karma…for previous lives poorly lived, no doubt) – but one interviewee still stands out for me…nearly 12 years after the fact.

I had probably interviewed around 15 candidates on the day I met him – and I was bored to death by people telling me what a great team-player they were…how flexible they could be in difficult situations…and, how they were really “interested” in all our “strategic initiatives” (that weren’t even on the website)!

He popped in (with no tie, I must add – the “balls” on the guy) and I decided to ask him (first question – right in):

“Tell me why you are a great teacher…”!

His response:

Not sure I am that great…I’m good…but I’m good because I learn faster than most, I work harder at reflecting than most and I like doing “it” with other teachers…

OK – I had to hold back a “giggle” with that last comment (but “humour” is what we look for, too). I gave him the job!

 

TEACHERS learn best by reflecting:

And, they do do “it” best with OTHER TEACHERS!

 

A teacher’s level of “reflective savvy” is essentially the product of “who they are“; their level of critical literacy, their level of learnacy and their level of emotional literacy.

This savvy is critical for the level of Educational Literacy that a teacher has – the GOOD newsit is “LEARNable”! And, LEARNable by just doing “it”.

OK – I really have to stop that

I have to admit…developing your reflective savvy does take time (maybe, it never really stops).

It’s about asking the “right” questions…again and again. Taking the time to “step back” and “weigh up” what’s really happening around you…within you…as a LEARNing professional.

It’s about working towards greater clarity and understanding – by being “honest“. BUT, most importantly – it’s about “taking ACTION” – and ACTION that leads to “improvements” in what you KNOW, what you DO and WHO YOU ARE as an educator.

 

Many educators do this by asking questions about TEACHing:

These are “great” questions – but are they enough?

 

We all know that there is a huge difference between asking questions about TEACHing and asking others about LEARNing:

 

In fact, we can take the same 3 questions and apply them to LEARNing:

 

If you want…we can even push that boat out a little further…just a little, mind:

 

WHAT the HELL….in for a pound, in for a penny; Let’s take those THREE little questions and think about:

  • CURRICULUM
  • ASSESSMENT (and, TESTING – of course)
  • EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • QUALITY
  • …the CONFERENCE BUDGET (and how we can spend that money so much more wisely)!

 

Hey, here’s a whacky idea…  – …speak to your HoD and ask her to cancel the “boring administration meeting” she had planned for you all this week! Get a cup o’ tea (and a biscuit) with your friends…take the time to “sit” and “chat”…and REFLECT!

 

GO ON…do “it” with another teacher today…you know you’ll have fun!