Being a Transparent Learner – and Teacher!

It’s the eve of beginning teaching my first AQ Course at Laurier University.  I’ve got my class list, I’ve taken a wonderful  eCourse from the PLP Network over the summer, I’ve prepared the syllabus and planned my first few nights for students.  I’m looking forward to negotiating the content with them and responding to their strengths and interests as we work together as a learning community to move our teaching practices forward.

I know that I’m going to be asking some educators to move out of their comfort zone a little bit, or perhaps a lot.  We’ll be taking some steps toward being more connected learners and teachers and along with that will come some transparency about our learning and indeed, about where we want to go as educators and what we want to learn.  I’m understanding of the discomfort that this may cause some, but I’m so passionate about the advantages that learning communities afford us as teachers, that I hope that I can provide the right balance of pressure and support that will help students deepen their own practice.

And…I’m no exception in this group of teachers!  I’m hoping to learn a lot too!

As a beginning teaching in this blended environment, I want to get a lot out of this course for my own learning.   I’d really like to push myself to examine my assessment practices over this 12 week course.  Do the assignments that I’ve created authentically assess the kinds of changes in practice that happen as a result of the use of technology?  Do I provide a wide variety of instructional strategies – ones that reflect the vision of what we want to see in our classrooms?  Will I ask the kinds of questions that will encourage teachers to think deeply and question traditional practices?  How will I know if I’ve been successful?  What will success look like?

I’ve got lots of questions — but I do know one thing…I’m really looking forward to working together with this group of educators this fall!  :)

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7 comments

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for sharing! :) I love seeing how individual all of their blogs look, yet another way to get to know our students – love it!

      I like how you incorporated the survey right off the bat. I’m wishing I had done that and will save that for revisions.

      Brenda

  1. I think your blog will definitely set a tone of openness for your course. That said, I think this could be the first experience have with this kind of co-learning and you might want to anticipate resistance until people see the benefits. How can you show them the benefits they can expect which will make their investment of time worth it?

    1. I am excited to see my students beginning to use their blogs to ask each other questions and to explain a bit about their own issues in their classrooms and to tell there stories. This is definitely part of getting to know each other and building trust.

      Luckily, my group is not hesitant to try new things or help each other. One of the difficult things for me as a teacher is that so many of the tools we use now as networked learners converge…so you kind of want to learn about them all at once or concurrently – but that can be overwhelming to a newbie.

      Do you know what I mean? Blogs and tagging and rss and delicious and twitter all go together rather well, but that’s a huge step for someone just getting connected. I’m trying to be the reassuring voice that says “this doesn’t happen overnight…give yourself some time to get there” – the messiness is part of the trip!

      Brenda

  2. I love what you say about being a transparent learner – that you will all be moving out of your comfort zones and as connected learners will come some transparency.
    The part, as you know, that fascinates me is their transfer of this ‘vulnerability’ to their classroom practice. We would want these teachers to go back to their classrooms and construct environments that encourage that same kind of trust and transparency and explicit knowledge building.
    Building that understanding, and trust, with students is a critical piece of course. Then, it is also a matter of implementing strategies and systems to encourage and support risk-taking, questioning, mistake making, ahas, brainstorming, co-creation and reflection. This, of course, is what Journal Zone and ThinkingLand were all about.
    I will be interested in how you implement this ‘meta’ piece with your teachers in this Additional Qualifications (AQ) course. What I do know, is that you will be working towards that. :-)
    Some would say that it has to happen in the teacher first – that the teacher must first become that connected learner. I would, you know, argue that for some people that realization and ability to become a connected learner as a teacher, might arise through their passion for it in kids.
    Good luck!!
    peter

  3. I love that your students will get to know you better through this post – and that you are framing your course as an opportunity for co-learning and experimenting and giving your student colleagues an opportunity to get into your head about your own practice – so valuable! Your passion really shines through. I can’t wait to hear more as the semester progresses and hope that you and your class will share with the rest of us. Wishing you all a fabulous and meaningful semester,
    Caren

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