Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy’

Obviously, this blog is being updated less frequently than it was last year. I feel like I’ve spent the whole year either sick, or else dealing with some kind of household drama, be it a house sale, or a kitchen renovation, etc.

Last weekend’s NAME (National Association of Media Educators) day provided some excellent networking and PD opportunities. For the first time there’ll be proper year 11 Achievement Standards for Media Studies, which is exciting for me, as it’ll mean I’ll probably have fewer English classes from hereon in. I find that year 12 media is a bit of a stretch for a lot of my students. Media Studies is all about critical thinking, and it’s hard to deprogram student from three years of film studies in English. Bringing in lower-order critical thinking at year 11 should hopefully mean that the (very hard) Narrative standard at Level 2 won’t be so troublesome.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the term ‘digital native’, which gets bandied about a bit in education circles. I’m just not sure that I think it really represents the students I teach. Because School X is a mid-decile school with a high diversity in terms of both ethnicity and also household income, it’s unsurprising that the levels of technology adoption across the school are going to be highly variant. However, I’ve head a couple of recent dealings with students from (reasonably) monied, middle class/Pakeha households families who have not known how to send me an email. In this day and age. Unbelievable. I also had a student ask me “which is better, Google or Wikipedia?” (To which I replied “I don’t know, which is better, Whitcoulls or a dictionary”.)

I struggle with how, exactly, to teach digital literacy to my students. I almost think it needs to be its own subject. The Media Studies curriculum (well, virtual curriculum – there is not actual curriculum) is too packed, and I’m not sure that many English teachers would have the knowledge/interest/passion to actually teach this, even though it is a major part of 21st century literacy.

Hmmm … I need to think about this some more …


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Term 4, week 9

I’ve been slightly remiss with my reflective blog over the last few weeks. I was honestly expecting post-senior school to be very calming and stress-free, but I’ve still had a lot of jobs since my Y12 and Y13 classes left last month. For a start, there were junior exams, and all the associated exam supervision and marking, plus I have been sucked into the English department vortex and had lots of admin/paperwork/planning things to do. Sorry Teachers’ Council.

Today was the last day of my PRT1 advice and guidance program. The three first year teachers, as well as the second and hybrid teachers met for a day of reflection and discission with Milton and Irene, before being visited by a woman from Team Solutions who had some excellent insights into the teaching practice, namely …

1. Teaching is a CRAFT

2. It takes time to learn a craft

3. Change is not linear

She also talked about her three principals for teaching:

1. High expectations

2. Teaching as enquiry

3. Do less – do it better

Good advice (especially the last piece – I know I have a tendency to rush things in order to get them done).

The day culminated with a shared lunch at Mission Bay and some excellent conversation. A nice way to end a successful year. Roll on 2010.

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Term 4, week 7

Today half the staff and (most of) the year 10 students had a fantastic day at the Orakei Marae, organised by Milton and Fiona. The day began by being welcomed onto the marae, before we were split up into groups and dispatched around the complex to perform activities based around maths, science and social studies. The activities themselves were fun, although it was the actual vibe of the place itself that really affected me. What’s more, it was really interesting to see so many of the local Maori students who can be so – for want of a better word – feral – at school operating so differently in that environment. Rachel said something to be yesterday about the tranquility of the marae, and I totally understood what she meant by that. I wonder what I, as a teacher, can do to bring that into the school, or at least into my classroom.

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Term 3, week 9

Today I spent a few hours in discussion about implementing a house/academic mentoring program from School X next year. There are lots of kinks to iron out, but it sounds interesting and (probably) fairly groundbreaking. I really like the idea of vertical form classes, just because I think it reduced the amount of jackasses from the same peer group you’re likely to have in any one class.

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Term 3, week 6

Today I tried a one-off problem solving/thinking skills activity with my Y9 students, as a break from the novel study they’re doing. The task was the brainstorm problems at school (of which they came up with a multitude, obviously), pick one, and then solve it. The agreed upon problem (with a bit of nudging from me) the the lack of lockers/amount of stuff they needed to carry round, so they designed a bunch of potential solutions. There was some quite high level thinking going on, particularly from Alex and Miro.

Clare and Milton happened to descend on my class during this lesson. They seemed pretty amused by the whole process.

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Term 3, week 3

My Y9 students are currently studying the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Murpurgo and this week they’re making propaganda posters. I still really struggle with group work in that class – for every class that works well (Gary, Mark) there are some students who just use any non-structured time for mucking around, talking etc. I am not sure whether I should just not care, or whether I’m doing something wrong. (Or, perhaps more to the point, whether there’s something about the dynamic of that particular class that just makes it difficult.)

I am getting some buy-in with film noir, especially with some of the more stylish girls in the class, who really dig the whole femme fatale look. It was the school ball at the end of week 1, and Rose looked totally noir with her cocktail dress, pale skin and dark hair. Fantastic.

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