Posts Tagged personalized learning

Twitter Chat With Ed Minister George Abbott – Thurs, Jan 19

Join us on Thursday for a chat on #bcedplan

“What would curriculum look like in a personalized learning system?”

 

This is a question that has been on many of our minds since the Ministry of Education released the BC Education Plan and began promoting the movement toward personalized learning.

On Thursday, January 19 at 4:30 pm PST, Education Minister George Abbott will be chatting with interested people on Twitter.  The topic will be the aforementioned question regarding curriculum and personalized learning and the hashtag #bcedplan will be used.

Cale Birk (@birklearns), Johnny Bevacqua (@johnnybevacqua) and I will be moderating the discussion and although @GeorgeAbbottBC will not be able to answer every question, he will try to respond to as many as he can.  Side chats always happen during these chats so feel free to engage in dialogue with others but please be sure to use the hashtag #bcedplan.  Also, you do not need to be on Twitter, you can follow along by clicking here and refreshing the site during the chat.

As this is the second time the Minister has engaged in a Twitter chat, I will repeat what David Wees (who is unfortunately unable to moderate this one) stated in his blog promoting the first one:

We are considering this an open dialogue so that anyone with an interest in education in British Columbia is welcome to participate. This includes, but is not limited to, teachers, administrators, school support staff, parents, school trustees, media personnel, and students. We welcome both participants from the private and public sectors of education, since George Abbott is the minister of all education in BC. We are even happy to have participants from outside of British Columbia participate.

Please be aware that the chat will be very fast, and George Abbott will not be able to respond to every reply sent his way. However, it will still be an opportunity to express our opinion, and potentially shape the vision of education in British Columbia.

I do believe that we are having some very powerful conversations in BC Education; the challenge is to put those conversations into action.  I am hoping that the dialogue with @georgeabbottbc will give us a better picture what curriculum will look like in a personalized learning model of BC Education.  Hope you can join us.

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Key Factor: Time Spent With Students

Image from http://bit.ly/ogf6aT

For the past few weeks, I have been wondering why the loss of a former student has hit me so hard (please read this post as it will help make sense of this one).  Andrew was a great kid.. but I have taught many great kids… so what was it about Andrew that has made this loss so difficult for me?

A week ago, I went to visit the family and while I was there, I realized why I was so close with this group of students and their families: time spent together.

Since I wrote the post on my thoughts on the passing of Andrew, I have connected, both personally and online, with a number of students and families from that group. As a high school teacher, I generally taught over 200 students in a year; through conditions set out that were beyond my control I taught many of the students in this particular group 3, 4 and 5 times in science math, and physical education.  In addition, through helping with the rugby program, I spent many hours with this group so by the end of their grade 12 year, I had become extremely close with not only the students, but also the families.  I am proud to say that I had taught in an environment with this group that Sean Grainger discusses in his post, “We Need Schools Where Everybody Knows Your Name”.   I had spent more hours with this particular class than any other students I had ever taught and due to this time together,  we had developed trusting, caring relationships that have never been matched in my career as an educator.

As stated, one of the key reasons that I taught this group so much was beyond my control and not due to my choosing; I was a new teacher and was given a variety of new preps to teach each year.  As I gained experience as a teacher, I started to teach more of the same things each year and, in effect, taught most students only once; the close relationships formed with some students were more a result of coaching rather than teaching.  High school teachers involved in extra-curricular activities (athletics, clubs, arts, etc) often have very close connections with students because of the time spent together.  I remain in close contact with a number of “kids” whom I coached during their high school years.

As we, in BC, attempt to move toward increased family engagement and a more personalized learning experience for our students, my question is: how can structure students’ high school experience so that teachers can spend more time with students?   Elementary school teachers have about 22-30 students for a whole year; as I have worked in both settings I have observed that the relationships formed with students and families in elementary schools are generally closer than those formed in high schools (I realize there are many exceptions to this but when relationships are formed with students in high schools, it is usually due spending more time together).  Some elementary schools in the US take this even further and “loop” teachers so they will have students for 2-3 years in a row.  Middle schools create “pods” in which teachers are with students for more than one subject (ex. math and science).  How can we move toward more personalized learning if teachers are continually given a timetable that includes over 200 students? What are ideas that schools are using in high schools to help teachers and students to spend more time together (rather than just the one class)?

The majority of teachers want to form closer relationships with students and their families but are often scheduled to teach hundreds of students each year.  How can we alter the school structures to encourage an environment that allows teachers to form the desired caring, trusting relationships with students and their families?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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#BCed Chat Monday, July 25 at 7pm

Monday, July 25 at 7pm

Monday, July 25 at 7pm

“Social Media Super Man” @davidwees and I invite you to attend our second ever Twitter chat about issues in BC Education. We will be having these chats weekly/biweekly throughout the year and will be using the hashtag #BCed.

For Monday, July 25th at 7:00pm, you can tune in to voice your thoughts as well as hear from others interested in BC education on the topic: “What should personalized learning look like in our schools?”. This is a continuation of the dialogue started in our first BCed chat with Education Minister George Abbott.

David and I invite any person with an interest in education in British Columbia to come join us.  Also, if you have a colleague not on Twitter, this is a perfect opportunity to get them to join and see the power of connecting.

(Adapted from David Wees’ blog)

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It’s Easy…

Which road will you take?

Which road will you take? image - http://bit.ly/pASkSU

As educators, we are often faced with an opportunity to take the easy road or the hard road.  The easy road often works for us as parents, teachers, administrators but it rarely works for kids.  The difficult road may be an immediate challenge and take much more time and effort but this is most often the road that leads to real learning.

It’s easy… to suspend or send a child home for misbehaving.  It’s more difficult to spend time WITH the child, actually listen to him/her, model and teach him/her the social skills needed to be successful in life.

It’s easy… to give a number or letter (grade) to a child as a way to mark or judge the work.  It’s more difficult to provide ongoing coaching, descriptive feedback and formative assessment that will improve the child’s learning.

It’s easy… to give a zero.  It’s more difficult to tell a child “I will not let you get a zero, I will be continue to work with you to determine the reason you want to resort to taking a zero and then provide strategies to ensure you can demonstrate your learning”.

It’s easy… to teach to the test.  It’s more difficult to teach to each child.

It’s easy… to teach the curriculum.  It’s difficult to work to ensure that each child learns the curriculum.

It’s easy… to motivate student achievement with a prize/reward.  It’s more difficult to model being a learner, develop a safe, trusting environment and lessons that are truly engaging so the focus is on learning.

It’s easy… to give out tickets and bribes for good behaviour.  It’s more difficult to teach empathy, ethics, and care so that children are intrinsically motivated and will choose their actions because it is the good and right thing to do.

It’s easy… to kick a child out of class or place in a time out.  It’s more difficult to work with the child so that he/she feels cared for and actually learns the needed skills.

It’s easy… to lead from the top-down.  It’s more difficult to actually listen and make decisions based on the voices of others (although this often makes things easier).

It’s easy… to turn your head the other way or pretend you did not hear something that goes against what you stand for.  It’s more difficult to have those challenging, learning conversations with people regarding these statements and/or actions.

It’s easy… to not include the voice of parents in the school/classroom.  It’s more difficult to engage parents and build trust so that we develop a partnership to do what’s best for our children.

It’s easy… to make decisions based on white, middle class culture.  It’s more difficult to actually listen to the voices and build trust in those that have been disengaged and marginalized for many years.

It’s easy… to keep your thoughts and opinions in your head.  It’s more difficult to share these with others through presentations, Twitter, blogs, wikis, and other forms of social media.

It’s easy… to close our door and teach our kids.  It’s more difficult to open the door, allow others to observe our class/school, reflect and collaborate with others, and receive input on how to improve our practice.

It’s easy… do do things TO others by controlling.  It’s more difficult to do things WITH others by facilitating.

It’s easy… to give awards to top students.  It’s more difficult to seek out and recognize the gifts and passions of each student.

It’s easy… to place A and B students on an honour roll… it’s more difficult to honour each child for who they are.

It’s easy… to say NO.  It’s more difficult to say HOW CAN WE make this happen?

It’s easy… to standardize.  It’s more difficult to personalize.

It’s easy… to design an education system that teaches a child to ‘do school’.  It’s more difficult to build a system that encourages students to develop the skills, character, and mindset so that they can truly flourish in life in and beyond school.

With any decision- ask yourself: am I taking the easy road that works for me right now or am I taking the more difficult road that benefits others in the future?

I would love for you to add any other “It’s easy…” comments below.

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