We are often asked to consider what evidence we have to prove that our teaching initiatives are working towards positive outcomes for our students – sometimes it is easier to identify than others.
I am currently beginning a Professional Learning adventure – expanding my horizons and participating in the Professional Learning Flagship Program: Leading Curriculum Change run by Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). It is an on-line learning opportunity and an amazing mix of people have already begun the journey – class teachers, school leaders, primary, secondary and from all over Australia. One facet of the course is the on-line forum, a feature I am accustomed to from other online connections. I found it interesting to see that the participants in this course, mostly very experienced teachers and many with previous leadership positions needed to be coached in on-line forum etiquette and style. It makes sense as this is obviously new to many teachers as our learning has been conducted in different formats. The skills needed to participate in forums and collaborative learning spaces have not necessarily been practised.
I then thought about the 5 – 12 years olds at our school, they are already being coached, modelled and are experiencing on-line collaboration. They will be ‘naturals’ at this form of learning as they have started young. Equipping our students to be lifelong learners is one of our mission statements (and I know it is shared by many). Exposure to Web 2.0 tools that encourage co-operation and to projects like Quadblogging which connect learners and expand their horizons are part of our strategies. The evidence however, will perhaps not be visible to us while they are in their primary years, the evidence will be when they move to their future lives with such confidence, such familiarity in the ways of on-line learning.
We may not see the fruits, but we have planted the seeds.
2 thoughts on “Evidence”
While I struggle through u tube videos on blogging and then think about the classrooms in which our students learn, I am struck by the skills that they are developing. Our core business is literacy and numeracy but students need to be prepared for the context in which they are placed and the envolving context in which they will travel. Literacy and communication are frequently changing in the way they operate and lifelong learning will include adaptability, problem solving and reflection on learning. Alongside literacy and numeracy lie these learnings that are now part of the business of schooling.
Evidence of impact may be beyond the primary years but the evidence related to the journey may be present and measurable. What are the outcomes we hope to achieve, the strategies we will employ and how will we measure their success.
I am beginning to ‘twig’ that on-line engagement (blogging, twitter and all other collaborative utterances to the universe) go hand in hand with a certain way of thinking/ teaching. Seeking responses, affirmation, inspiration and collaboration beyond the classroom infers that students and teachers are operating in a certain way…inviting the world into your classroom means reflection and flexibility are already on your agenda.
My recent experience of 5 year olds, from a blogging classroom, offering high level feedback to older students, informs me that the evidence is already beginning to challenge us to further heights.