16 February 2013

Steps towards what? More thoughts fuelled by ICOT2013

I have just finished reading this post entitled "Change or Die".  Two points stick with me:

- change is not supported as the overall agenda is focused on improvement rather than transformation
- there is a lack of "big picture", where steps are managed rather than lead towards a clear common vision.

Individuals, like you and I, have enjoyed and continue to get benefit from discussing, reading, participating 2cts worth to debates, trying to make sense of what Learning is about. I  personally often feel that to give it serious thought and consideration (and to be taken more seriously!), I need to be more systematic (oh here you are Ruth: that is a trigger word that has you switched off!) in order to reflect and take action. This is certainly what Going Back to the Drawing Board means for me.

But hear me out!
  I would be motivated to systematise my approach if there was a need (self motivated or else) to have an outcome for a particular purpose. I am in the rather comfortable position at the moment where no one demands of me to perform at any level. This affords me to spend time considering a range of issues arising from different sectors and interests. I choose to spend time with the NZAFT and associated projects, I choose to continue to support people use of myPortfolio, MoE funded or not,  I choose to keep informed to do these to the best I can and if I have the opportunity, to move things along. I assume that if I was employed as a teacher in a school, time, energy and freedom spent on these choices would be considerably limited.

I have been freed to investigate in my own terms, to learn stuff when the need arose, to seek and find help, to do and undo, to have the confidence and curiosity to do so,  to bring to the light that my absence of formal linguistic training (I am often "found out" in conversation with Language teachers! ) can be made up for with other aptitudes and understanding of Learning I have developed, to create, maintain and continue to widen a network of thought provoking, informed, convincing professionals beyond school colleagues and my immediate community of practice.  It is my own paradigm shift: I have changed. What I have learnt in the last couple of years, exposing myself to arguments and thoughts about teaching, learning, assessments, ICT, theories, practices, social media, internet,  beyond the ones imposed by a manager or a system, is that "things do not have to be the way they are" and that "we don't know what we don't know".  Hence I can say here that all I have learnt from this freedom I would wish to continue to grow in any circumstances.
Kerry Spackman The Moral Scale
But what I can say also is that I am unsure of the reasons why I am doing it...
- What level of the Moral Scale  am I really operating at? Am I doing this for me only (since I have no obligation) ?
- Am I doing this because I am looking to "make a dent in the universe?" (Kerry Spackman at ICOT2013) ?
I would like to think it is about taking a tiny step on the Bottom Up approach ladder.
Kerry Spackman The Moral Scale

So to go back to Change or Die: What /who makes a vision clear enough, encompassing enough, trusted enough and supported enough for every teacher to feel empowered that they too can change, and as a result  for every learner to learn to be in control of their learning? That the move from thinking at Level 1 "How does it affect me?" to Level 5 "What's in this for society as an institution?" is enabled?

Derek Wenmoth: Change or Die? Vision, Trust and Support
While aspects of Kerry Spackman's keynote varied from boring me to worrying me  (I am not convinced that I need Knights to save me) one key message that was taken away, as aptly highlighted by Derek Wenmoth, is that "influencing peoples beliefs is very important in the process of bringing about change in society".

And this is something that every teacher can do. Children must be prepared for the world they live in not the one I grew up in: in my today's world, the population is aging and all expect to live a long time, ethnic groups learn to mix and mingle, notions of distance and time are just about a thing of the past, values are open for discussion etc. So who better than a teacher should be in the position to present a clear vision of the future to their students, and should help each one of them make sense of it in their own term, lead them to want to be involved, so that they grow to concern themselves with society and their role within it? All teachers need to question what they do if they are to model and instill this effectively.  And that means questioning and contribute to transform the system they work in.

via Rachel Saxton  ZenPencil
So why am I writing this messy post? If I really want to go Back to the Drawing Board, I need to know where I have been.  I ought to see more clearly where I am at now. And then it will inform me of where I should take my next step.  In the immediate future, it involves taking a step with you Ruth as you go back to school. Then I will see.

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