New Year resolutions provide an opportunity to press the reset button on life.
So here is a start for thinking about how you will step into 2013 and make some changes.
10. I will discover new ways of achieving the same outcome. One first step to reinventing learning is to think of new ways to both deliver content and for students to respond. Do you still think it is ‘harder’ to write an essay than build a model to demonstrate understanding?
9. I will learn from my students. Find out how young people navigate life. The reality is, they social media rather than email. What’s the most effective way to get your message to your students?
8. I will team up. No lone rangers anymore. One of the most significant images of school is the single teacher, up the front of the room facing the students. This model of teaching/learning bears little resemblance to the real world of work and learning. What could happen if you shared space, time and ideas with your colleagues? What would the students see and learn?
7. I will release control. Think about your most powerful learning experiences. The things I have learnt deeply have often stemmed from a problem that needed a solution. ‘Just in time’ learning sticks more than ‘Just in case’. What areas do you need to release in order for your students to drive and own their learning?
6. I will develop coaching skills. When students take responsibility for learning the role of the teacher changes. The coach helps the learner to identify and achieve their own goals. These skills take time and practice to develop and directly relate to releasing control. How will you develop coaching skills?
5. I will get out of my comfort zone and build a wider network. Either electronically, through social media, locally through event/opportunities like TeachMeets; and/or travel. Connecting with people outside your everyday world changes perspectives. What’s your next step to widening your network?
4. I will consider the visual impact of content delivery. We are visual. For effective communication in the 21stC the visuals matter. Great visuals can easily convey a message and effectively make complex information simple. Some of us glaze over when we hit a wall of text. Visuals cut through this. How can your communication become more visually engaging?
3. I will change the space. When the media reports on school issues they look for photos to support the article. These are usually – children at desks in rows, chalkboard with words and sums, teacher standing at the front – you get the picture. New ways of working need new spaces. These default images of school will only change if we change the spaces. What are some subtle changes and not-so-subtle changes you can make to your physical working space?
2. I will get mobile. Left to our own devices, we are creatures of habit we go to the same way, sit in the same place and connect with the same people. Working in cross-disciplinary teams opens new ideas and approaches. Where do you need to go or relocate?
1. I have chosen this career because I want to make a difference to the lives and futures of young people. Schools, as was recently expressed to me, are not “mortgage paying institutions”, nor are they our lifestyle-facilitators. Are you in this career for the kids first?