I have been flirting with the idea of blogging for a LONG time and with gentle encouragement from Edna, I have finally decided to put all excuses aside and just give it a crack!
I’ve recently returned from an amazing, thought provoking 5 day Project Zero Classroom conference at Harvard University and whilst I feel inspired, enthused and full of hope, I also feel overwhelmed and out of control with a mess of ideas crowding my head! Everyone has been so excited to find out what I have learnt and what I have to share with our school community. I’ve needed the last 3 weeks, since coming home, to question and process the following:
* Do I make complex ideas accessible to my students or do I merely simplify the complex ideas?
* In my classroom, what messages are the students receiving about learning?
* Do I “teach” my students or do I create an environment in which they can learn?
* How can I thoughtfully group students for collaborative learning – precisely, effectively and efficiently?
* How could I provide more opportunities for productive student conversations?
* How well do I navigate between ‘wild’ teaching and ‘tame’ teaching? Do I have the right balance?
* Do I take the time to notice and name what is being learnt by my students? Do they notice and name what they are learning?
* How can art be used across the curriculum, to stimulate thinking?
* Do I educate beyond the culture of intellect?
* Why is character more important than intellect?
* To what extent do we consider truth, beauty and goodness when guiding our students’ learning?
* Does our high school enact the curriculum within a culture of thinking or does it teach “The Curriculum”?
As Ron Ritchhart stated in one of his plenaries, “evaluate the questions learners ask not the answers they give.” At the moment when you ask me “what did you learn at Harvard?” I can only answer with the many questions I now have!