Titiro whakamuri, kokiri whakamua
Look back and reflect, so you can move forward
As I reflect on the last 32 weeks I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and relief – we’ve finally made it! My journey this year started in October last year when I made the decision to leave High School teaching and head back into the Primary sector. There have been many highs as well as a few lows, but the collegiality of Mindlab has kept me going along the way. I have in particular learnt a lot about my own leadership style, taking a break from leadership this year and attending the course has given me the time to critically reflect on both my leadership style and my teaching practice, and while at times I wanted to head mack to my ‘normal’ I am so glad that I have made the change and challenged myself a lot along the way. My only regret is that I didn’t have others from my school to share the journey with. Having said that, there are now two colleagues on the last intake and five more have just started this week – so the seed has been planted and has begun to grow and multiply!
So, which two key changes in my own research informed practice in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) in e-learning should I share? There have been so many changes this year…
Professional relationships and professional values
Criteria 1: Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga.
This year has been all about building relationships for me. As mentioned earlier I have moved schools this year. I came from a school where I had spent a lot of time building positive relationships with my students, their whanau and the wider staff at the school. Upon starting at WM school this is what I missed the most – relationships. I needed to establish and maintain relationships with a whole new community and I found this challenging. However, when I reflect now I can see that relationships have been forged throughout the year. My golden rules always in the back of my mind: What is the purpose? What are the benefits? Students will benefit when teachers have strong professional relationships based on an interdisciplinary model where we work collaboratively alongside each other for the betterment of our learners. This isn’t always easy as personalities (especially mine) can sometimes get in the way, my perfectionist nature has had to often be put on the back burner as I can’t do everything and it’s much more important to share the knowledge than keep it to myself! Making the change from a inspirational leader to a distributive one is often easier said than done!
Professional knowledge in practice
Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
This year as part of my Mindlab course I began to implement gamification within the classroom, specifically within the maths programme. I came up with a concept for a game based on the student learning criteria. I then planned the unit, created the game and implemented it within the class. My collaborative teaching partner got on board and we found that both math groups performed well, completing more practice activities independently than they had been doing before the gamification was introduced. Recently I had the opportunity to share the results of this at a full staff meeting and was met with extremely positive feedback. While the body of research I found during my lit review did not support gamification within education I must say that the results I have seen refute this. I would like to investigate this further and publish my findings.
So where to from here?
My brain is fried, I have reports to write, a new collaborative partnership to build, a new teaching level to get my head around, my second child is leaving home, my youngest is heading into NCEA, I need to create an advertisement for the salon I own, the holiday home needs painting, the rental needs a new fence… The list goes on and on and I come back to my golden rules: What is the purpose? What are the benefits?
The purpose for continuing to grow my pedagogy and understanding of gamification is to provide an engaging learning programme for my students where the benefits are that they can feel empowered to achieve their potential.
The purpose for wanting to publish my research is to share this journey with others, so that they may also have similar benefits with their learners.
Lastly I would also like to create a website where I can share some of the gamification resources I have created with others, and where others can share back.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.
Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/