Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘teacher learning’

Tayyip Bey – You “Tried”, You “Failed”! Thank you for your “Hizmet”…

In News & Updates (from the CBO), Teacher Learning, Technology on 26/03/2014 at 11:14 pm

That last post of mine simply “cried out” for a follow-up…of sorts.

Twitter ban (logo)

It did, you know…

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As I said, I try not to get involved with “political issues” on allthingsLEARNing – but when those issues interfere with how I “do business” (and…those people I respect, collaborate with and care about…), I feel I just have to stand up and say YETER is YETER!

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Tayyip Beyyou LOST!

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Tayyip Bey (Follow Up Post)

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Plain and simple…

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And, I did not even need Twitter to help me out…just a few #Tweeps, just a few #Tweachers, just a few #Bloggers – with integrity, intelligence and energy!

Hey, and you know what else?

I did not have pay them (300TL “a pop” is far beyond my means) or “bus them in” (on municipality buses…buses that my “tax lira” pay for).

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Tayyip (the result)

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We can “win” even when others “play dirty“!

OK – a small win…but a “real win” nevertheless.

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That, my dear Hünkarım, is the power of social media!

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Thank you for your “hizmet“!

But, Canım Türkiyem deserves more, deserves a lot more!

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‪#‎twitterblockedinTurkey

‪#‎DirenTweachersInCanımTürkiyem‬

‪#‎WhatWouldAtatürkTweetTODAY‬

‪#‎GiveMeMyTwitterBackNOW

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Tayyip (tied up) TG ver 02

 

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Thank You for Your “Hizmet”, Tayyip Bey!

In News & Updates (from the CBO), Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/03/2014 at 8:02 am

I have lost the ability to #Tweet… – “legally”!

Tayyip and the Death of Twitter

8…and this is down to one man!

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Those of you that know the blog…know that I do not usually talk “politics” here on allthingsLEARNing. I have always said politicians have no place in EDUcation…and we TEACHers are far too “honest” to want to get involved in their games.

However, the recent (and ridiculous) attempt to close down the #Tweetiverse is affecting the ability of me and my #Tweachers to LEARN, to SHARE and to COLLABORATE

…and thus  IMPROVE and EXPAND theLEARNing of our students!

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Take a look at what #RTE’s ban has done to my blog readership in the past few days:

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Thank you for your Hizmet 01

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Thank you for your “HİZMET”, Tayyip Bey!

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Now, this may seem “silly” to some of you – but we are EDUcatorswe LEARN best by “sharing”. I have done a few posts highlighting my own personal feelings on the value of #Twitter in a number of postseven been a bit critical of the #Twitterati meself!

But, we are talking about the freedom of expression here – and our RIGHT to LEARN!

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I wonder how the ban of #Twitter is affecting real businesses” – the real businesses of very real Turkish citizens (and their families). There are many Turks eating and relying on e-bread to pay their bills and cover their rent these days.

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Maybe, I shouldn’t whine and cry myself to sleep at night too much – it’s just a blog…it’s just a social media platform!

There are far more serious matters to worry about:

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Erdoganocrasy

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We have a saying in Turkish – “Gelebilir…her genç kızın başına“!

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The DNA of GREAT Teachers – 3 “listicles” you have to read!

In Classroom Teaching, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Schools, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training, Uncategorized on 18/03/2014 at 9:59 am

Last week, allthingsLEARNing offered a bout of bloggery from guest-blogger Steve Brown (Is it all in the Genes?).

Today we have a follow-up guest-post from Cas Olivier (all the way from Harties“, a small resort town in the North West Province of South Africa). I never actually got to Hartbeespoort on “my walkabouts” around South Africa – but now I have a reason to do so…next time.

Cas (guest post slide) 01

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The story of how I bumped into Cas in the blogosphere is a funny one!

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About 8 months ago, I was desperately looking for some new images to “steal” for one of my own posts on “GREAT TEACHers”. Yes, I know…some of you “hate” this phrase – but, come on – who among us all does not want their students to say something like – “Tony Hocam is a GREAT TEACHer”?

go on, tell the truth now!

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Well, I was at a total loss – couldn’t find anything new to steal…sorry, “inspire” me! I had got totally fed up of using “brains” and “mirrors”!

I had lunch with my big, little girl and told her what was going on (actually, she wanted to know what all the “swearing” was about…the foul language that had been pouring out of my study all morning)!

Expletive (four)

I mentioned that I had overdone the whole “brain” thing – but I (still) liked the notion of “organic” TEACHing! She looked up and said “Dad…what about DNA – that’s cool”!

I jumped up…kissed her…and ran back to the study!

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Not five minutes had passed…and the wave of obscene expletives began againbloody Google had spat out Cas’ book The DNA of GREAT TEACHers (spat it out straight in my eye it did) and I hated him almost immediately…with a passion!

Expletive (sixteen)

Hey, I am human – get over it! Least I’m honest…

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You see…the same thing had happened to me when I “invented” (yes, I also “steal” ideas from me daughter – I am THAT daddy!) the term ASSESSment Literacy back in 2011 (I still “hate” Richard Stiggins…not really!) LEARNing, CURRICULUM and EDUCATIONAL Literacy, however, are still “mine” (and my big, little girl had nothing to do with them…that time it was “Dexter”, my dog…who will soon have a blog)!

I calmed down…and started “stalkingCas via his website-cum-blogLEARNingDESIGNs – could he be my long-lost brother (my dad had spent time in Cape Town, Durban and the Free State in the late-40’s), acaba?

Cas Hocam – I know you were born in the Free State…but, when exactly WERE you born? I want a date…and a pregnancy calendar!

 

I fell in love with the sample chapters that Cas was so generously sharing on his blog – I liked the complex simplicity of his THUNKs…and the common sense those thunks were screaming at me!

I forgave him (!)…got in touch via mail…and, his first act of cyber friendship was to send me a copy of his book. 

Paying It Forward is alive and well…in the “Harties”!

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Cas and I started chatting about him doing a follow-up to Steve’s post – and although neither of us are fans of “listicles” (TY – Kevin Stein aka @kevchanwow in the big, bad Tweetiverse) he thought it might be fun…to do THREE of themin one post!

So, over to Cas!

DNA Question (for Cas)

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The DNA of GREAT teachers are described from a plethora of vantage points and they all have merit.

My vantage point is my latest book: The DNA of Great Teachers in which I use the ‘DNA-concept’ as metaphor to explain teaching paradigms and explain how teachers’ genetic teaching make-up influences their mindsets and teaching practices.

Once I started to “decode” teaching-DNA, I began to understand more and more about what made GREAT teachers so GREAT!

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 01

Let’s start with beliefs – and my first “listicle”:

 

The 10 Beliefs of GREAT TEACHers

  1. Teaching means to facilitate learning.
  2. Lesson planning means converting the curriculum into learning challenges.
  3. Their main tasks are to guide and support students.
  4. Are firstly followers and then leaders.
  5. Teaching is like developing new medicine. It must be based on patient needs and not the design preference of the manufacturer.
  6. The momentum of great teaching is maintained by questions asked by both themselves and the students.
  7. When students are not learning as expected, they change their approach.
  8. They cannot teach learners anything, but can make them think.
  9. Learning always starts from the known and progresses to the unknown.
  10. Lesson must cater for ‘short-legged’ and ‘long-legged’ students.

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As Tony might say – have a THUNK about it.

How many of these reflect your understanding of your own DNA? How many of them are beliefs – that walk-their-talk in your classrooms? Are there any in there that you might disagree with? Why / Why not?

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 02

The second of my “listicles” is more focused on the classroom (I’m not that sure if that term is growing on me or not)!

Before you read mine…What would your own Top 10 List include?

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Questions (Joseph O Connor quote) Ver 03

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The 10 Things That GREAT TEACHers “DO” in the Classroom

  1. Determine the learning status of students and then become leaders to guide their learning.
  2. Manage their classes through good relationships.
  3. Deviate from their lesson-plan to enable students to gain quick learning-wins.
  4. Provide learners with scaffolds to work out their own answers.
  5. To achieve productive silence in a class, they ask questions. To achieve productive noise give students an activity to do.
  6. Use at least 5 teaching methods.
  7. Never give answers to questions. Rather provide students with scaffolds to enable them to work out their own answers.
  8. Ensure learners are acknowledged and feel clever.
  9. Ensure students master logical, critical, creative and big picture thinking skills.
  10. Encourage learning risk takers to speak their minds.

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How many were similar to your own listicle?

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 03

List 03now, this is one of my favourites.

None of us are “perfect”…we all have room to grow. But, GREAT TEACHers often take their DNA…and turn it into an “art form”:

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The Top 10 Things that GREAT TEACHers “do” to Improve

  1. Discuss their teaching with colleagues.
  2. Learn from any source to improve their teaching.
  3. Appreciate positive and negative critique on their teaching.
  4. Do not take critique personally.
  5. Keep on looking for better ways to engage students in more creative and challenging learning.
  6. Open to advice.
  7. Willingness to change.
  8. Remind themselves that they should not be the main source of information during lessons.
  9. Keep on looking for ways students can discover and create their own answers.
  10. Keep abreast by reading about teaching.

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Now, here’s a thunk or 2 (again, to “steal”…sorry, to be “inspired”…from Tony)!

How many of you work in schools that give you the “space” to do these things? Schools that create the conditions for “DNA mutation and adaptation” to take place – through LEARNing conversations between LEARNing teachers

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 04 (with cover)

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Cas Olivier   –   www.LearningDesigns.co.za   –   casper@mweb.co.za 

Is it all in the Genes? (from GUEST BLOGGER – Steve Brown)

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Guest BLOGGERS, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 05/03/2014 at 8:25 am

Today’s bout of bloggery is from Steve Brown (aka @sbrowntweets on Twitter).

I first came across Steve when I was pointed in the direction of his blog post “21 Questions for Language TEACHers”. I have to admit I had not stumbled upon Steve’s blog – the very-easy-to-remember(The) Steve Brown Blog” – until Mike Griffin gave him a nod in one of his posts and I kicked meself for not seeing it earlier.

I loved his questions so I decided to stalk his blog pages a wee bit more. When I came up for air, I told him (via Twitter) that I was sorry I had had not recognised his “bloggery genius” earlier – and then asked if he’d be interested in answering a question (rather than just helping us thunk over his – he has just done another wonderful “quiz” for all us teachers, too…take a look)!

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He agreed – and here we are this morning!

THUNKers Wanted (for Steve)

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When Tony asked me to do a guest post on his blog I was flattered, then excited, then a bit scared.

I got (really) scared at the point when he “suggested” I try answering this question:

DNA (LEARNing TEACHer) Blog ver 01

Freakishly scary, right?

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I mean, where do you start? This question isn’t just about what makes a good teacher, but what (if anything) is hard-wired into a person that predisposes them to effective, reflective, developmental teaching.

At least I think that’s what the question is!

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So, let’s start with a definition of a LEARNing TEACHer.

I would suggest that this is a teacher who continues to LEARN throughout their career. Someone who recognises that completing a teacher training qualification does not make you the “finished article”. Someone who realises that there is no finished article.

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Parker Quote (for Steve)

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Someone who constantly seeks ways to…

improve,

develop and

enhance their skills & talents.

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If this is our definition of a LEARNing Teacher, maybe we can identify what qualities such a person needs to have.

They need to be able to take new information on board, to respond well to feedback, to pick up new information and ideas, and to have the technical skills to put them into practice.

LEARNing Quote 01 (Steve)

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Of course, much is made of such qualities in the world of ELT teacher training courses. Trainees are expected to make steady progress from observed lesson to observed lesson, absorbing new information from input and feedback sessions then putting it into practice at the very next opportunity.

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But all that stuff is LEARNable!

Adams Quote (for Steve)

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You can LEARN how to manage a class, how to give instructions, how to do effective boardwork, how to clarify language, how to correct errors. This is what the ancient Greeks called poeisis – the implementation of techniques. You learn what needs to be done, then you do it.

Is that all that teaching involves though? Is it just a matter of following set procedures, using tried and tested techniques?

Sure, you need to be able to acquire those technical skills, but you also need to know when to use them.

Best TEACHers (new ver) TG

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Teaching is an essentially human activity; you’re working closely with real people, and these real people will respond in very varied ways to the techniques you implement.

A sensitivity to these responses and an ability to react appropriately are therefore crucial. This is more like what the ancient Greeks called praxis – action that is informed by a wider context, taking into account the moral, socio-economic or political consequences that your teaching might have, beyond the classroom.

I mean the impact on the students’ lives, and the resulting consequences for society in general.

Resnick Quote (for Steve) TG ver

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In terms of what goes into a teacher’s DNA, therefore, the skills themselves are less important because they are LEARNable. What is more fundamental is an inherent AWAREness of the “implications” of employing these skills.

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But the question isn’t just about a good teacher; it’s about a LEARNing teacher.

So as well as an awareness of what you’re doing, there needs to be something else in the DNA that “drives” you forward, that keeps you “wanting” to LEARN more.

Resnick Quote TG ver

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I would suggest that this requires FOUR qualities:

Interest

You can’t LEARN how to be interested in something – either you’re interested or you’re not. So you need to have an interest in the subject you teach, and you also need to have an interest in the whole “business” of teaching and LEARNing.

Motivation

Again, this has to go in the DNA because you can’t LEARN how to want to do something. Desire to take action comes from somewhere very deep down. 

Inquiry

I suppose you could argue that this is very closely related to motivation, but it’s not exactly the same. While motivation is a desire to take action, inquiry is a desire to find things out. You can have your interest piqued or your curiosity raised, but I think that a constantly questioning approach to life, or a reluctance to just accept everything as it is, is something you either have or you don’t have.

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Tolstoy Fish Quote (new ver) TG

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Humility

In order to get better at something, it is important to be able to recognise how bad you are at it. In fact, failures or shortcomings need to be welcomed and embraced as opportunities for development.

We tell this to our students, so we need to demonstrate these qualities in ourselves as well. Humility is certainly something that can be developed, but the ability to equate failure with opportunity is something that some people find very difficult, and others find impossible.

LEARNing and ADAPTATION (Steve)

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I’m not sure I’m doing very well here in describing what the DNA of a LEARNing teacher looks like, though.

Can we visualise it?

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Apparently, regular DNA looks like this:

DNA (Steves Ver)

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You’ve got the four chemicals Adenine, Cyostine, Thymine and Guanine, surrounded by sugar and phosphate.

Maybe the DNA of a LEARNing Teacher can look pretty similar.

Replace the four chemicals with Interest, Motivation, Inquiry and Humility, and surround it all with…AWAREness!

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What if 06

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Of course this is incredibly “unscientific” and I apologise to everyone who actually knows something about DNA. I would welcome any comments from such people.

Trying to answer Tony’s question has raised three related questions for me, which I think I can answer now:

Steves ANSWERS

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Steve Brown

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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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THUNKS…for Teachers (this time)!

In Adult Learners, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 27/07/2013 at 8:26 am

Teacher THUNKS 01

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A short while back I did a couple of posts on “THUNKS”:

…and highlighted the great little book from Ian Gilbert  –  The Little Book of THUNKS – 260 questions to make your brain go ouch!

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A lot of you seemed to like this notion of THUNKingas any TEACHer worth her salt should. One of my friends also suggested that I read the follow-up book that Ian also did… – there was another?

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As it happened, I had actually bought that one , too – The Book of Thunks – but as I was moving house (I have done this soooooo many times over the last 17-18 years). The book remained packed…and it was not until I moved to big, bad İstanbul last month (and to a new house…again) that I re-discovered it.

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As was the case with the first, it was chokablock with some great thunkssome of them about LEARNing:

Teacher THUNKS 03 (three from Ian Gilbert)

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The problem was…as I worked my way through the thunks, very few of them were directly linked to TEACHers. This is probably because Ian had set up this book as a set of dinner-party conversation starters – designed to annoy the bloody hell out of unwanted guests, no doubt.

So…I decided to adapt a few of them – like the one in the very first image of this post.

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Now, that one might not make your brain go “ouch”…but it sent shivers down my back! Go on…THUNK it over for a minute – and then ask your “boss” what she thunks!

I dare YOU!

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I started by playing with this one:

Teacher THUNKS 02

OMG! That’s a bit serious, Tony…I work in the Gulf!

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Here’s another:

Teacher THUNKS 04

Now, this is a topical one!

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What about this one:

Teacher THUNKS 05

İsa, Meryem and Yusuf! Tony…

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Try this one:

Teacher THUNKS 06

Now, that’s a conundrum!

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Hey, try this – with a few TEACHer-pals:

Teacher THUNKS 07

Bet they never RT your tweets again!

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This one is for any TEACHer that has taught in a Turkish primary or high school – to lighten things a little:

Teacher THUNKS 08

I thought they were both “dead“!

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I thought they would all be good for TEACHer pot-luck parties (most of us can’t afford to host a dinner party).

If your brain is not hurting too much, drop us a comment with your reflecto-THUNKS!

Enjoy…

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If you like these THUNKS….and want to do some of your own – why not pop over to www.thunks.co.uk and “add” a few yourself!

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Bedtime Reading: The Book of Thunks

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!