Saturday, June 28, 2014

Teaching IS Inquiry

At some point in the last three years, I stopped being a teacher who accessed professional learning from time to time and rarely due to my somewhat remote setting, and became a teacher who's teaching spaces became sites of continuous professional learning and inquiry. 'Teaching' and 'learning about teaching' blurred, then all teaching became inquiry...

  • writing courses and assignments became instructional design
  • internalised reflection became socio-cognitive and shared
  • I realised my student-centred teaching approach wasn't really
  • my collegial interactions expanded beyond the limits of geographic location
  • I became fascinated with assessment for learning and formative assessment, and even more than before, external assessment in its existing paradigm makes me want to scream
  • my students found authenticity in their learning by participating in and co-constructing my inquiry and research efforts with me
  • every aspect of education became 'fair game' for questioning
  • I discovered and owned emergent design as my educational practice
  • I became obsessed with Knowledge Building Communities theory
  • learner agency and the centrality of the notion of 'improvable ideas' rather than 'tasks' became super important
  • my super organised and successful teaching practice became a mess (in a good way, though it didn't always feel good, and surprisingly for me, students remained successful)
  • I became really excited about my future as an educator
  • I discovered my creativity
  • I became a courageous educator (mostly - work in progress)
  • I discovered my own agency as a teacher, and realised that in a twentieth century environment, teacher agency is as controlled and limited as student agency is

The combined opportunities of targeted mentoring in the virtual professional learning and development three year programme; becoming a practitioner researcher in a small TLRI funded team investigating Knowledge Building Communities in secondary schools; and my school allowing me to engage and participate in these opportunities... projected me onto an unexpected path.  

This all happened because I asked an inquiry question that has brought me so much more than I bargained for... 'how do I teach an online class effectively, and in a way that is engaging for students?'. I discovered teaching principles and technologies that destablised and exposed my twentieth century education practices, and bridged and supported my shift to twenty first century education.

My secret inquiry, the one where I ask myself if I'm good enough, if its worth the effort, if  I can cope with another year, if being an educator is my 'thing', is getting an answer too.

I want to figure out how to share this, so that other teachers can take this journey of transformation too... not the 'Breaking Bad' teacher transformation, the other one... hehe

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