List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system. Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students. If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.
I am a educator. I spent most of my time as a middle school math and science teacher. Now I support educators as they learn how to reach all learners with media and technology.
I am a learner. I spent a great deal of time learning in traditional classrooms. I hold 2 graduate degrees, but I am not done. I still spend a lot of time learning, it is self-directed. I learn through my network, reading (print & digital), and viewing tons of tutorials. I think this ‘in-formal’ education has been the richest and deepest of all my educational experiences. I believe this is because I am following my passions.
The two individuals who have the greatest impact on a student’s education are the student and the teacher. Since the role of a teacher it to support the student in their learning my focus on change will be on teacher professional development. Professional development is the key to supporting teachers, promoting their growth and effecting change in the classroom.
1. Professional Development must be ongoing. Teachers must participate in on going professional development not just the hit or miss of workshops and classes to earn the professional development points needed for re-certification. Teachers must be life long learners and practice what they preach; be curious, explore, question, challenge and grow. These should not stop because the workshop is over.
2. Professional Development must revolve around learning and learners. In Massachusetts most of our professional development points must surround content. Teachers also need to achieve a masters degree in the subject area they teach. Our primary focus is not on how people learn and interact with content information but only on the information. I do agree teachers need to be very knowledgeable with the subject matter, but honestly after receiving a masters degree in the content area, teachers should be focusing on how kids connect with information and learn today. We teach children not subjects.
3. Professional development must be collaborative. Teachers should be part of professional learning communities such as book groups, reading the latest in education and learning. These communities can be face-2-face within their district or as part of an online community. These learning communities can focus on a variety of areas, but they must foster collaboration and sharing.
4. Professional development must be reflective. I have participated in ‘PD for points’ that is often meaningless: just jump though the hoops and be done with it. Reflection should be a part of any professional and personal growth plan. This might be a journal, blog, or wiki where teachers can respond to other aspects of their PD plans, book groups, workshops, classes and discussions.
5. Professional development takes time. Teachers must be willing to give time outside of their school day for learning and collaborating, just as students are expected to learn outside of their school day. Schools must be willing to facilitate collaborative time for teachers with in the school year. School districts and State departments of education need to facilitate these learning opportunities, by recognizing both formal and informal learning experience as being valid parts of professional development plans and mandating PD around pedagogy, learners and new technologies.
Still working on these lets just say that was a first look.
Now who to tag? This is the most difficult part of any meme for me.
Julia Colby a K12 Technology Integration Specialist but comes to education from a business background.
Lisa Thuman who works at the college level.
Anne Truger whose is passionate about supporting with children special needs
Kim Cofino who works in an international school