Connected Learning

Jarrod Lamshed

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Listening to Outsiders – Weekly Round Up

answerhub_quote_nyedesktopipadThis week I’ve been listening to a series of interviews from the ABC (I hope it survives the budget cuts) podcast ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler’. Interviews with Julia Gillard, Molly Meldrum and Matthew Evans have been varied and entertaining company on my morning walks. In particular though, an interview with Adelaide Craniofacial surgeon Dr David David stood out this week. As well as being a good story, Dr David hit on some pretty important points that are completely relevant to schools.

When discussing the early years of ¬†craniofacial surgery, Dr David made the statement that the successful outcomes they see today didn’t start until true collaboration became the common practice. He explained that to provide truly successful outcomes for his patients, he worked with a social worker, eye doctor, brain surgeon, ear specialist and a dentist. He went on to explain that this was a ‘true’ collaboration. They don’t work under a traditional method of referral through letter writing, but instead have become a team that communicate, strategise, plan, operate and consult with each other. They share office space, and meet everyday to fine tune and improve their practice.

This is something that we’ve talked about in schools for a long time, but it’s something that we could still do better. We know collaboration is a powerful thing. In our job, we are busy… I get that. As school leaders, we need to be looking at ways to create time and space with timetables and structures, and as teachers we need to prioritise collaboration over the ‘busy’ stuff. I know the busy work is important, but we need to look at how to balance this with real, ongoing collaboration that will improve our practice and create better outcomes for students.

It’s a fact of life that we can’t all be experts on everything. What if we found a way to truly collaborate and worked with and draw on each others strengths? What if we were able to team teach when it was beneficial and free each other up to work with students that need some extra support or extension? What if we planned critically together more regularly? What if we saw asking for help or advice about our practice as a natural and comfortable thing rather than a threat or sign of weakness? I feel confident that this is all possible… I just haven’t really ever seen it in action in a sustainable way. ¬†It’s certainly something to aim for.

Listening to this conversation really pushed home the idea that we really need to be listening to people from outside of the teaching profession. As teachers, I think we can easily become caught up in the world of ‘school’ and forget that there are other ideas and experiences out there for us to learn from. When we think like this, we are really limiting ourselves.

After this, I’ll certainly be listening to more of these ‘outsiders’. I think that it it important, and will only help my practice and professional learning.

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Weekly Round Up

This year, in my new role, there has been a big focus on supporting the professional learning of others. Being new at this, this has meant that I have let my own professional development slip. This is obviously not ok, so I’ve made a renewed commitment to put aside some time to get this back on track. I’ve missed it. Professional reading, listening, viewing…. engaging, is what keeps me inspired and and striving for improvement in my own practice. This weekly round up (who am I kidding, more like semi weekly) is to reflect on and share what I’ve been looking at.

Teacher Education Review Podcast: Interview with Richard Gerver
Richard Gerver is a new find for me. He isn’t someone that I had come across before in my professional learning. It seems I’ve been missing out. This interview covers thoughts on innovative change, project based learning, and effective leadership. It’s well worth a listen. Following up from this, I’m now reading Richard’s book “Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today”. It’s an interesting read, especially looking at it from a leadership viewpoint as well as a teacher headset.

Techlandia Podcast: Interview with George Couros
I’ve listened to George (@gcouros) MANY times before and every time, I still get something out of it. This time around, I was particularly interested in the way that George has used social media to set up an authentic communication and sharing space for his district. Wouldn’t it be great to this happening here? As a new leader, I can see the benefits. A chance to create the narrative for not only our school, but our partnership. A chance to create a positive and powerful online presence and open up real communication between our schools, parents and students. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to affect this type of change from my level of leadership? I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying it needs some more thought. I think creating some momentum at a district level (Education Director?) is needed. Food for thought.

Both of these podcast episodes are worth listening to. Both have achieved some critical thinking and ideas for change.

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Teacher Education Review Podcast 2013

Teacher feature segment with myself and Selena Woodward (@teachertechnol) from 2013

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Up to Standard?

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This year I became part of a school leadership team for the first time. It’s been a crazy year and has whizzed by at high speed. It’s been a very positive year, but one thing that dropped off my radar was regular blogging. As we move toward the end of the year, I feel like I’ve finally established this as a part of my regular routine again. This is important for my reflection… and sanity. I’ve made some changes to the blog to force myself to step up my game. I’ve added the AITSL Principal Standards and will blog against these as I move forward. In my new role, I preach the need for us to challenge ourselves and to continually improve our practice. It’s important that I model this, and expect the same for myself. The addition of these additional standards is a work in progress. I haven’t been able to find examples of blogs that are using these so I welcome and appreciate any feedback about how they are implemented here.

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AITSL – Illustration of Practice

Last year, I was contacted by AITSL about our school participating in an Illustration of Practice project. It was certainly a worthwhile project for us to be involved in. Being involved with AITSL has improved my teaching without a doubt. The reflection process is an important one and the AITSL Standards for Teachers give me something to reflect against.

Since using the standards as a tool for my professional learning, I have been able to identify not only my strengths, but als the areas that I need to focus on more. In conjunction with this blog, I now have a mechanism for regular reflective learning that keeps me accountable to myself as well as a positive industry standard.

Below is one of three final videos produced by AITSL for their Illustrations of Practice collection. I look forward to sharing the other Hackham East Illustrations soon.

It can also be found on the official AITSL website at http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/Illustrations/Details/IOP00251

Visit the AITSL site and join the discussion.


 

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