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improving practice

April 24, 2016
AlexHotel 2

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Selected reference

Wiliam, D. (2016). Leadership for teacher learning: Creating a culture where all teachers improve so that all students succeed. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.

Learning as opportunities

April 16, 2016
Wheel of learning

The Australian curriculum has been dubbed “over-crowded” in numerous articles since 2014.

Simultaneously, a burgeoning professional development marketplace persists in promoting Sisyphean lifelong learning – termed in the UK continuing professional development, often abbreviated to its acronym CPD  – which seems likely to generate

a view of policy making which stresses ad hocery, serendipity, muddle and negotiation (Ozga, cited in Ball, 1993, p. 10).

Within this paradigm, teachers behold complexity and react to the terrors of performativity out of mistrust and confusion.

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While research has shown that much of what is identified as professional development has failed to generate improvements in student achievement, misconceptions to be challenged are identified as

  • delivery by experts
  • conference attendance
  • formal, external training
  • costly and time consuming PD
  • PD which is a “necessary disruption to teaching”  (Cole, 2004, p. 5-6).

In troubling times, we are urged to mind the gap.

What if, by maintaining considered awareness of system constraints – pressure exerted to achieve compliance – teachers’ professional attention re-focused on opportunities to apply what we learn in our own contexts?

Readily available opportunities which abound on Twitter, for instance:

Broadening our understanding of what constitutes professional learning (as distinct from professional development) is recommended since

…the concept of professional learning carries little baggage and is seen to be a more embracing term, it provides a better starting point for discussions about ways to improve teacher effectiveness (Cole, 2004, p. 6).

Assisting others to navigate this shift in perception renders complexity a potentially engaging dynamic: Across a daunting fault line, disruption of what has previously been taken for granted has potential to renew teachers as agents of change without unnecessary distinctions between theory/practice (Sachs, 2003).

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Selected references

Ball, S.J. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 13(2), pp. 10-17Retrieved August 22, 2014 www.onesearch.uwa.edu.au

Ball, S.J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), pp. 215-228. Retrieved April 16, 2016 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0268093022000043065

Cole, P. (2004). Professional development: A great way to avoid change. Melbourne: IARTV Seminar Series No. 140. Retrieved April 16, 2016 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/professional-growth-resources/performance-and-development-resources/professional_development_a_great_way_to_avoid_change_-_pcole_2004_iartv.pdf

Sachs, J. (2003). The activist teaching profession. Buckingham: Open University Press.

research as essential

April 16, 2016
Sunset sculpture

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Selected reference

Wiliam, D. (2016). Leadership for teacher learning: Creating a culture where all teachers improve so that all students succeed. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.

Visiting as ‘decentred thinking’

April 10, 2016
2014-04-07 11.47.59

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Biesta, G. (2016). Reconciling ourselves to reality: Arendt, education and the challenge of being at home in the world. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 48(2), 183-192.

wide waters

April 3, 2016
Matilda Bay Crawley

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Selected reference

Oliver, M. (1992). The Swan. New and selected poems: Volume one. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 78-79.

strong culture of learning

March 27, 2016
City in motion

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Selected reference

Aguilar, E. (2016). The art of coaching teams: Building resilient communities that transform schools.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

re-framing

March 26, 2016
surflifesavers

9 am on a Saturday morning of a long Easter weekend break.

It is raining. Summer’s pause.

Here I am in my study.

Re-framing.

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The week that was:

  • Walkthroughs share our team practices
  • Year 12 General English multimodal tasks collected for marking (controvery surrounding the term’s definition explored here)
  • Television genre analyses returned to Year 11s; cover page and planning/review prompts here
  • Sustained feedforward recommending Adobe Slate, Wix and Thematic.co to students reluctant to move away from [death by] PowerPoint
  • Began our annual cycle of Performance & Development conversations with reflection
  • Mum’s happy unbirthday meal last night (the day before turning 70!)
  • FaceTime debrief with Daughter 1 regarding her relief work experiences in primary schools
  • Daughter 2 performing another of her stand-up comedy routines – Wednesday evening pertained to sugar addiction
  • Finally, the accompanying sofa-side text for contemplation

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Happy Easter!

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