Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The difference between MLE and MLP

I was speaking with a researcher who came in to school today. She had been prompted by Ros MacEachern's blog about Critical Friendships to visit our school, and I was one of her interviewees.

Towards the end of the interview, she expressed the opinion that our school was an example in so many different ways, and then she asked a question that I have actually been considering myself: "Does the MLE make all the difference, or could you still do this in a traditionally set up school?"

This is the long version of my reply:

I think that what we do at Hobsonville Point Secondary School IS transferable, because our focus is our practice, and what we do to make learning outcomes better for our students; the environment is simply one of many tools that we have available to help us do this. 

I believe that a school needs only two things to be able to change to the type of practice and ethos that we have: a willingness to change the timetable, and complete staff buy-in.

The way I see it, changing the timetable might actually simplify it. What I imagine is that you divide the school time into eight equal parts. Whether that is over a week or a fortnight or a certain number of days is irrelevant. Then you structure it so that for example, all the year 9 English teachers are in one option line, all the year 9 Maths teachers are in the next option line, and so on across all the curriculum learning areas. There are seven of these in the NZ Curriculum; the eighth option line is for the hub/tutor/form class time, and the dispositional curriculum.  You do the same for year 10, year 11, etc, making sure that of course year 9 English is in a different line from year 10 English, so the teachers will teach across year levels. You might need to mix it up a little in the senior school as a wider variety of subjects comes in, so that students still have choice, as long as you keep any compulsory subjects in the same line.

Having set up your new timetable format, you then say to your English teachers, for example, as we have in our learning area - "In the course of this year you will need to cover the curriculum achievement objectives of purpose and audience, ideas, language features, and structure; and you need to include the processes and strategies for both making meaning (understanding texts) and creating meaning (creating texts)" - I'm using the actual objectives from the curriculum document here. Every learning area has different achievement objectives, and some are more prescriptive or content based than others, but in each, there are certain non-negotiables. What English doesn't say, is that you have to teach certain text types or specific parts of language.

So, having established what it is that the curriculum is actually telling your English teachers (or whichever learning area) to teach, you as leader can say, "Okay, set up a course that covers those things." Then your teachers, who are passionate about different things and actually do have a lot of skills, can imagine a course that they actually want to teach. And if they want to teach a course about coming-of-age drama in novel and film - to choose a random possible example -, they can. Or whatever. (I really want to tell you about my proto-feminist literature course from earlier in the year, but I won't ... yet. Maybe in another next post.)

And then, if one of your Arts teachers, for example, likes that idea, they could say, "I could co-teach that with you, o English teacher, because I would really love to look at the way coming-of-age is portrayed in various artistic media!"  Or your Human Bio teacher might want to link that to a study of the havoc hormones wreak in teenagers as they are coming-of-age.  And they both could set up a course that would be taught by each of them in the option line that they were teaching the level at - thus the separate option lines for learning areas...

This way, you have total curriculum coverage, choice for students and therefore more likely a higher level of engagement, and teachers teaching stuff they actually like with a higher level of engagement on their part too.

You would have to have a good timetabling program, because when students choose their courses, there might be a whole pile who want to do one course, and not so many who want to do another, but that is logistics and happens with senior subject choices anyway. And it's just software.

The hard part is the other aspect of the change - total staff buy-in. I suspect this is why schools are not even willing to look at MLP, because in every staff there are the people who 'have always done it this way', and unless you have some leaders who really want to drive the change forward, it is not going to take hold and be effective across the school organisation. HPSS is lucky in some ways; being a startup school, the teachers who are applying to work here have chosen to work with MLP and are open to the change in their own practice that will have to occur. Other schools don't have that luxury, and I know that in every school there will be some who are resistant, just to be resistant.

To introduce MLP in all schools nationwide, which I believe is the goal of the Ministry of Education, there must be something to show schools how it can be done, and maybe that it isn't such a hard thing.  This could be along the lines of the Core Education course that I am getting so much out of, or professional learning days put on by the ministry such as when NCEA was introduced. Maybe we just need every school in the country to come and visit HPSS (as so many already do!) and look at how we do what we do, and not just at the flash new toys we have. I have to admit that that part is beyond the scope of what I have been thinking.

But I feel, that if I, who has taught all my career until this year in exceptionally traditional schools, can open my way of thinking and become so enamoured of doing it differently that I have become an advocate for MLP, it's something that the right amount of will can make happen.

All schools and all teachers in the end really only want one thing; to make learner outcomes the best they can be. If our school really is such an example, as the outside researcher believes, how do we encourage other schools to follow it? How do we make it easier for them to initiate change? Could it be as simple as showing them a two-step process?

Or showing them that the difference between the Modern Learning Environment and Modern Learning Practice is that the first is buildings, but the second is methods? Buildings are irrelevant - I could teach all of the courses that I am doing now in any building or room or environment. Methods are key. How I teach is what makes my educational world shine.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Earth-shattering questions in the car.

Every day, the blue Toad and I share a 20 minute ride home in the car. And every day my brain is challenged.

I don't know if he saves them up during the day, or if the road home has particular inspirational value, or quite where his musings come from, but every day, I can expect at least three random questions about life, the universe and everything from the blue Toad.

These questions are the very opposite of yes/no questions. Not only are they open, but they require both an answer and either an explanation or a discussion.  The blue Toad does not take my answers for unequivocal truth either, but questions them, wanting verification, or more detail, or ... something.

I can tell when a question is coming.  There will be a deliberate silence from the back seat (in contrast to the more usual train-of-thought burblings). Then, "Mummy?" - quite long and drawn out. "Yes, Ben?" I answer, and wait...

Some days I am not able to answer them. "We might have to google that when we get home," I say.

One day last week, for example:
- "Mummy, have you ever seen a mirage?" Upon my answering that I hadn't, we had a discussion about where you might see mirages, and what you might see in them, and why you see them at all in the first place.
- "Mummy, is a linguist a whole lot of languages?" Well not quite, but then we wondered why being one might be a cool thing. I was reassured (being sortof a linguist myself) that he decided that it was.
- and "Mummy, what is the most often kind of car you see on the roads?" (the compulsory car question, as the blue Toad is obsessed). What do I know about cars? The blue Toad thought that it would be Toyotas, as he saw so many of them. "But they aren't the coolest, so I won't tell you every one I see." Thank goodness for that! 

Sometimes I have had a busy day and have become very outcome focussed, and sometimes I really have to concentrate on driving, but mostly I welcome his random questions. I like that he really wants to know stuff, and I like that it's not just ordinary stuff.  I like that his mind is totally non-linear, and that although he can't remember five minutes later what we were talking about, three months down the track he will pull out his understanding in some completely other context. I like that I am challenged by his questions, and that I don't know all the answers either, and that sometimes when we do google it, it's because I want to know too.  I like that he thinks I know so many answers, but I also like that he accepts that actually I don't know everything.

I hope the blue Toad never runs out of questions; I am pretty sure he won't. 

I just hope that I can keep up.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The kids just want to learn!

The Toads don't watch cartoons and kids' shows.  It's not so much that I haven't let them (although I freely admit to having philosophical issues with so much of it) as that they just aren't interested.  Once they got past Disney junior (a long-awaited day!) they moved straight into Mythbusters and Top Gear. Now they are starting to branch out, from info-tainment to real documentary stuff.

I know this because of a conversation I overheard: 
Toad 1: "No, I want to watch Living Channel ... O it's the Antiques Roadshow, I love this." 
Toad 2: "Okay, yeah, me too."

And because the blue Toad's latest addiction is National Geographic wildlife documentaries.  Or anything National Geographic.

Both Toads, in their different ways, want to learn stuff.  The blue one wants to know facts and details; the pink one likes to fit things together and know how things work, in a societal sort of context.  Their ways of thinking are very different, but both of them want to do it.

A lot of secondary school professional development for teachers seems to be based around engagement.  There is a belief that students don't want to learn any more once they reach high school.  That whatever they had when they were young has gone.

I don't think it is gone.  I think what they want to learn isn't being given to them.  

I admit that I am being strongly influenced in my thinking on this by the professional learning that I am doing this semester. I have begun a course called 'Modern Learning Practice', which is showing me the changes in thinking that have happened while I was at home producing Toads. 

One of the most important things to come out of the course so far for me has been this quote from Andreas Schleicher
"the world no longer rewards people for what they know - Google knows everything - but for what they can do with what they know." 

For me, this resonates so much because I have always felt that it is not the information which is important, but what you do with it; and I hate teaching something I loathe simply because 'we have to do a short story study now'.

Okay, this post has been slightly high-jacked by all the pedagogical stuff that is happening in my world at the moment.  I'll get back to my point.

One of our topics in the staffroom at lunch today was a student in a colleague and my combined PE and English class.  She is really interested in what we are doing; as a class the goal is to research, design and implement a fitness trail for the community around the school, while making a link between physical fitness and mental fitness.  A couple of weeks ago she had completed the research task we had set about the links between physical and mental health and wanted some extension.  I don't know a lot about PE, so I sicced her onto google scholar. We had a look at what a scholarly article looks like, how to read them a bit, how to search them, that sort of thing, so I didn't just throw her in the deep end.

There are several awesome things about this that I would like to point out:
  • Kim is a year 10 student, and she is voluntarily reading scholarly, tertiary-level articles, and understanding them!
  • She is doing this because she wants to.
  • She is learning in an authentic context; this is the sort of thing that could be a job in the real world, not just a school assignment.
  • That one blog post is all the evidence you could ever want as a teacher/assessor for both research skills and reading comprehension.  What more could I ask?  A test?  Um, no.

In another of my classes, a combined Science and English one, several of my students have asked whether they can "just have some time to work on/finish my writing".  They want to do all that good stuff that previously I had to ram down students throats, like crafting, and drafting, and understanding the reason for the grammar bits, and having a theme, and ...  

The reason is that the context is right for them. They have chosen this course. These ones are 'off-task' and having private conversations while something is going on - about the research they are doing themselves, on scientists we haven't covered but who are in the same period as the ones we have.  And making links, and understanding context.  They are driving their learning in all sorts of directions where my co-teacher and I are just providing the framework.

Because they want to learn. Isn't that cool?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Last Friday, I was a Science teacher!

One of the really exciting things about teaching where I do is the blended learning.  What this means is that although I am an English teacher, each of our modules is constructed and taught with a co-teacher from completely another subject area.  Not only does this mean that I get to work alongside some very cool and clever people, it also means that I get to actually do things in that subject area too.

Last semester I learned more about the Treaty of Waitangi from my Social Science colleague than I have learned in the whole rest of my life combined, and I got to design and build stuff and make concrete (yay!) with two of my technology colleagues.  This semester I am working with a geographer, a phys-eder, and a chemist; we will be filming, making a fitness trail, and writing speculative fiction. None of this is stuff that I would even imagine doing in a traditional context!

But last Friday my science colleague was away.  We had a great lesson planned with some scientific history (my bit) and an experiment (his bit).  I could quite happily have made a class of mostly the English component, but my colleague asked me whether, if he got everything organised, I might be able to run the experiment.

Don't get me wrong, it is not that I am completely ungifted in this area; after all, I did pass 7th form Chemistry all those years ago.  By two marks, but that's still a pass.  However, doing anything with a practical component in the classroom is not something I feel at all confident in.

So of course, I said yes, I'll do it.

And I did.  I ran that science lesson, and that experiment, all by myself.  We didn't blow anything up, or melt anything (both of which were possibilities) and we even got some results! What's more, the results were the type of results we should have got.  Goodness, I must have done something right. I even had a student tell me that they enjoyed the class!

O, the relief!  But also the sense of achievement. I was totally outside my comfort zone and not at all confident that I could make it work.  

That's what I really like about my teaching (and my job) now; I am always doing new stuff, not just recycling the old, and that makes teaching exciting. Teaching should be exciting. If teaching is exciting, learning will be happening, both for me and the students.  

We certainly all learned stuff last Friday.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Time to practise what I preach.

As a secondary school teacher, and even when I was on 'extended maternity leave',  I have often been asked to recommend a 'good' school by friends and acquaintances, for their approaching-high-school-aged children.  My answer has always been to find the one that suits their child best, that the child likes the atmosphere of, and not to worry about reputation, exam results or decile ratings.  
(Naturally now, where I am teaching at a school that I love, I always say there.  But this isn't usually very helpful or constructive, as the school, being new, has a closed zone, and neither I, nor most of the people I know, live in that zone.)

No matter which school you talk about, there will always be people who love it and people who hate it; you have to find what is right for you, as a family.  A child will only do learning if they want to be there, not because it is a 'good' school.

The school the Toads are at is an excellent school.  I really like it, I think the teachers are excellent, it's convenient, and so on.  However, in the last year or so, the blue Toad has become less and less engaged with what he has been doing at school.  He has been very successful in some areas, and in others he has remained static or started heading backwards.  

This in no way reflects on his teachers, all of whom I have really liked; they have been organised, interested, open to ideas, and supportive of the blue Toad.  But when he came home, all he could remember of his day was what happened at lunch-time.  He had no idea what he was doing, why he was doing it or what he was getting out of it.

It's taken a while, but I started to realise that it might just be that his personality doesn't fit with how things are done at that school.  He likes to be in control of what he is doing, to make his own decisions, to have ownership.  He likes to try stuff and take risks.  He is very loud.  He wasn't doing any of those things.  And he was coming home and exploding with the need to do them.

The lucky thing for us as a family is that, teaching where I do, the Toads automatically become in-zone students.  And for the associated primary school as well... You can see where this is going.

So, we asked the blue Toad if he thought going to a new school that worked differently might be okay.  Apart from the caveat that his friends wouldn't be there, he was all for it, no hesitation at all.  In the course of a week we have been to an open day, had a full day visiting, and enrolled him.  
He starts Monday.

After his last day at the old school, as we were cleaning out his desk, his teacher mentioned, amongst other things, how she had never seen him as chatty as he had been all day, describing what he was doing.  That comment made very clear to me how right this move is for him, because that chatty, exuberant blue Toad is the real one, not the quiet, well-behaved, slightly withdrawn one that was being described by his teachers.   

I have always said that you should find a school that fits the child.  This is why the pink Toad is adamantly not moving schools.  She loves where she is, it suits her, she is engaged, and doing all of that stuff that shows she is in the right place.  She is pleased for her brother, and thinks it will be an excellent place for him to be, but is quite clear that it is not even an option for her.

It is a big step, and I feel a bit fragile about the whole thing.  Not least because after quite a long period of thinking, the process itself has been so quick.

As I am learning, it is a much harder process to do stuff than to say it.  But it is time to practise what I preach, because it is right.  

Have you ever had to do something hard because your convictions told you to?  How did it go?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The lesson that bit the dust.

Yesterday, one of my classes was just rubbish.  The technology failed, the kids were distracted, and I felt frustrated that things didn't go to plan.

I am so glad that one of the school mantras is not to view failure as failure, but as a learning opportunity.  I think for me that means that if you try something and it doesn't work, that is okay, it is still better than not trying at all, as long as you make it mean something.

This is what I learned:
Don't over-complicate things.  Technology is an excellent tool, but it doesn't need to be the focus.  Sometimes doing things the way you have done them before is actually okay, if you know it works.

Don't over-simplify things.  Making things too easy for students means that they get bored, very, very quickly.  And then things descend into chaos, very, very quickly.

Don't keep going when it isn't working.  Have a backup plan and flexibility - and if possible, a co-teacher who can pull the situation out of the mire through sheer awesomeness!

Don't forget who your students are.  In two ways:  don't expect maturity from them all the time - mostly, yes, but not always, because they are 13; and remember that they are individuals, so whole class teaching is something that should only be pulled out on occasion.

So what I thought of as an easy lesson became very hard.  It is one of those experiences that at the time you just want to be over, but afterwards you can appreciate that some good things did come out of it, even if not the ones you anticipated.  As a consequence, I am planning to change a few things.  We'll see how they go...

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Time to acknowledge Happiness

I went for a run this morning.  This is not entirely unusual, but today I had been awake for an hour and a half thinking about stuff before I left the house ... at 7am, on a Sunday.  What a waste of a good sleep-in opportunity!

As I was jogging through the sunrise, listening to my running playlist and noticing that no-one else was up, I realised that I felt happy.  Relaxed.  Content even.  Such a difference from the hour and a half I had just spent lying in bed but not relaxing.

This post is more about life lessons than formal education, but that is the whole point.  Learning isn't just in the classroom or lecture theatre.  Some of my hardest lessons in the last few years have been about life.  And they have been some of the most important things I have learned too.

What I remembered this morning was how important it is to notice those moments of happiness when they happen.  Often things are really busy, and there is so much going on in my head about what has happened,  and what is going to happen, and what I need to do to make it happen, or not happen as the case may be, that there is no space for what is happening now.  In psychologist-speak being able to look at that now is called mindfulness (I think), and I am very bad at it.  

It is so important to be able to find that clear space though.  

When I run, I need to go out for quite a while (as in an hour or so, not a marathon).  I spend the first bit running myself in and going through the things that have been bugging me, one by one, until I have some sort of resolution or action plan for each.  I need to know where I am going, so I always run the same basic route, because at this beginning point of my run I am not actually focussed on the run itself.  

Once I am about a third of the way around, I have to focus on the running as there is a bit of a hill and some blind corners, and it's a country road with no footpaths.  I have injured myself both going up this hill and stretching out and speeding up at the top before my legs were ready, so I have to really watch my technique here.  This is excellent, because if I haven't finished dealing with all my issues by then, I am forced to give up on them and ignore them.  And if they are so far down my priority list that I haven't got to them yet, they actually can't be that important.

Then I get to the top, and the fun bit.  This morning the birds were all out finding breakfast, so there were loads of them flying around.  The light was all pinky-sunrise and clear, and all the smells were variations of green.  This is where I find happiness.  Once I get around that top corner and onto the gravel road that comes back down I have dealt with the things that bother me, I don't have to think about technical stuff, I can just stretch out, turn the music up, look around at the empty countryside and feel good.

This is my time to find and notice and acknowledge happiness.

I think it is a really important part of life to have something or somewhere that you know you can be happy.  Somewhere that you can consciously let go of all the dumb stuff, and the niggly stuff, and the mundane.  For me, in my introverted little world, that means being alone and having space to open up my mind.  For you, it may be something completely different.  

But finding that place, each for themselves, is something that is actually very hard to learn, and yet so very important.

Where do you go to be happy?  Is it a conscious thing, or do you just fall into it by default and then remember, like me?  How did you learn to notice when you're happy?

And how do I set the timestamp to here, so it knows it is actually Sunday, and not Saturday like it says at the top?

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Fixed Mindset of Small Boys

The blue Toad has a fixed mindset.  

I was listening to the amazing, inspirational, Carol Dweck #caroldweck #growthmindset (I don't even know how hashtags work, but you never know...) talking about the difference in student attitudes to learning when they have a fixed mindset - either "I am excellent at this" or "I am totally crap at this", with no middle ground - or a growth mindset - "I don't know how to do this ... yet" - and seeing not only opportunities for my own personal growth, and how this could affect my teaching, but visioning the blue Toad and understanding that his mindset is almost totally fixed.

The blue Toad is a clever boy, he is talented at many things, but ever since he was small he has only attempted things once he knew in himself that he could do them, and do them well.  Luckily for him, he can do a lot of things well.  But when confronted with something he can't do well, first try, he refuses to try again and the feeling of total crapness overwhelms him to the point where he just doesn't know what to do with himself.

Until today, I had no idea what this meant, or what I could do to help him.  

I went to the professional development thing today.  I was inspired (that word again) by the obvious sense in what Carol Dweck and Guy Claxton #guyclaxton were explaining about their research and the implications for the education sector.  I could see how growth mindsets could be / are so incredibly vital for citizens of the future, where the only constant will be change, and the necessary life and job skill will be adaptability, and I saw the blue Toad lurking firmly at the extreme fixed end of that continuum.

I came home and watched an example of it, which couldn't have been scripted to prove the point more clearly:  

The pink Toad, who has been learning two different types of dancing for four years, was fitting the moves of her last year's show dance to a different song.  The blue Toad decided he wanted to do it too.  He was taught the moves and was doing quite well remembering them, in a five minute time frame, until he couldn't remember one, whereupon, because his sister attempted to help him, he threw himself on the floor and shouted that he was dumb at dancing and he hated it.

If I had videoed it, it would be the classic 'before'.  Now we have to work to make an 'after'.  This will be a challenge.  I am only just learning about this myself, and I need to put into practice what I am learning almost before I have learned it.  But I can see the absolute necessity of doing this.

So what I have learned is that:
Teaching is learning.  
But parenting is teaching and learning.  
Parenting is way harder.

Actually I think I knew that last bit already.

These are the links that Hobsonville Point Secondary School put up on Facebook today:
I really recommend them.

How are your small people?  How do you help them with learning?  Any comments (and advice) gratefully received.

Monday, 2 March 2015

On the riding of bicycles...

I was going to say, "the more things change, the more they stay the same", but that's not quite what I mean.  Things are both changing and staying the same, at the same time, but somehow, it is the melding of both that is really interesting.

I am enjoying being back in spaces and and times where I can interact with students and really teach them stuff.  It is just like riding a bike, in that I am finding it very natural to be in the role of guide and catalyst, and at times it seems that the intervening 9 years have little or no meaning in terms of my skills and abilities being unpracticed.  When I need them, there they are.  

And I remember all the reasons why I enjoyed teaching then, because they are the same reasons I am enjoying myself now.  (And while there were many reasons why I didn't want to return, they now seem to be far less relevant...)  I see students who are engaged with their education, both the what and the how; I can teach stuff which has meaning for me, which makes what we are doing far more interesting for both my students and myself; and I can see those lightbulbs going on, hear them say "that was really interesting", and know that each little step brings confidence.  I love being a catalyst for enthusiasm.

This all sounds extremely pink and idealistically fluffy, which is not at all what I intended.

Because / And yet, the reason I am able to be the kind of teacher I always want to be is that the context is so different.  

I am learning the value of students understanding their own learning.  They know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Now I have to learn to tap into it within my teaching.

I am learning about co-teaching.  The why of it is just so awesome and yet entirely sensible at the same time - practical, real-world application, anyone? - that it makes sense to me inherently.  The how of it is where I am definitely still in baby-steps; so far I can manage the turn-taking type strategy, where we are both on the same big thematic page, but we each have our own text boxes ... the other models are still on the way. 

In some ways, I think it is easier for me to do this learning than it might be for other more established teachers.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  Mainly, as the school is establishing itself, it is a big adventure for everyone, not just for me, and we all have that feeling of new and different.  Once the school has a full complement of students, and teachers have been teaching in this environment for a longer period of time, the adventure atmosphere will inevitably wear off, simply because there will be experience to fall back on.  This will also make it harder for teachers new to the school to assimilate, I feel.  At the moment, I am on a huge learning curve, but so is everyone else, and so I don't feel as out of place as if I were the only one.  

Also, because I have been out of the game for so long, I fully expect to be doing a lot of learning.  Someone who is simply making a career progression will not necessarily have that same mindset, as they will of course feel confident in their abilities and knowledge, and so to head back to not-quite-but-nearly the beginning will be a lot more demanding. Because I presume it will be challenging, at least I have a mindset to meet that challenge.

I'm not entirely sure this was where I originally intended on going with this.  But I do know that it is because the context has changed, that I am able to place landmarks using the things I know already.  To go back to the cycling analogy, I still have all the skills of riding a bike, only now I am taking it off-road and along mtb trails rather than sticking to conventional roads.  

Hopefully I won't crash as often within the metaphor as I do when I literally go out to the forest...

Monday, 9 February 2015

I have so much to learn!

A new job always means new skills, new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking even.  My new job means all of those things to a degree that I half expected, but couldn't understand the reality of until I began.

My return to teaching after nearly nine years of maternity leave and study was always going to be a challenge.  I was happy during that time not to be in the classroom, because I had become the teacher that I had always said should no longer be there.  The one who wasn't passionate and interested in their students or material any more.  I was a student again, of motherhood, Italian, and Renaissance History.  And I loved it.

This year I am no longer a student.  That is, not formally.  I am a teacher again, but as much as I will be imparting knowledge and skills to teenagers, I will also be learning to be a teacher all over again.  

Things that I will be learning:
  • A new curriculum.  They snuck that in there while I was away and suddenly the 'new curriculum' that was current all those years ago has disappeared and this new document exists.  I must read it.
  • A new way of teaching.  Co-teaching.  With teachers from different subjects to my own.  Actually this bit is really exciting and the planning that I have been doing with my co-teachers is lending me that inspiration that was lacking for so long.
  • A new system.  Well, lots of them really.  Everything is device-based and I need to get my head around both the way of doing things and the tools of the online environment to enable me to do them.
  • A new pedagogy.  Haha, pedagogy at all.  I am not a terribly theoretical person, and have been lucky enough to have the skills to get in there and just teach without worrying about the reasons why.  But now I am surrounded by a new type of teaching and learning, as well as some incredible colleagues who are both inspirational and knowledgeable, and I feel I should actually know a bit more about why I do things how I do them.
  • A new set of acronyms.  And jargon.  I thought the military husband pulled them out just to make me feel ignorant, but now I have more than him.  I just need to know what they actually mean.
  • And, to blog.  This is my first ever, and so far it seems to be working for me...
And do you know what?  That inspiration and excitement is coming alive again.  I am also learning to be the teacher that I should and can be, inside myself.  That, I think, is one of the most important lessons of all.

What lessons will life be teaching you in the next while?
Any comments or questions?

Learn lots,