If all else fails read the instructions…

I am a failure, whoop whoop!  My earliest blogs do not fulfil the letter of my assessment requirements, so here I am writing the newspaper backwards again…  I do believe, perhaps falsely, that they do fulfil the spirit of the tasks. They have caused me to reflect, to discuss with others, to re-reflect following the discussion and to sift, in my own mind, through what is important and needful. Always, in the forefront of my mind, has been the image of my students and the task entrusted to facilitate their learning.  The earlier blogs- written in the correct weeks not the last day- have also led me to revisit some Ted Talks, and then to seek out new ones, like this one on mental illness and the death penalty.  What did that have to do with this? It made me reflect on how I am not always gracious and compassionate, and how these qualities only enhance relationships, both with students and in my communities of practice (Mind-lab. staff, Department, Community of Learning).

Responding to other’s blogs led me to seek out their resources- like this one by Hattie that needs further study once this blog is done. I do believe learning is linked-sort of a three dimensional platform where dots connect to make pictures. or, to link bak to a previous blog- Rives – this time his web-based encyclopaedia game.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 12.56.58 PMJay and Johnson’s model is the framework oft used to canonise one’s reflections. This is a both a personal tool and one to use in a community of practice (N.B., I have made my blog public, but have sought responses from my Mind-lab cohort as well as my Community of Leaning -COL- members. This has let to deeper discussion with these colleagues. Perhaps the next step is to overtly look at this model with my COL group?)

So, my practice:

  • What’s happening- I am seeking other ways to do things – can this be student led?, can it  have other outcomes?, what tools can be used and why and how, what is my role in this?
  • Does it always work- yes and no. The school still has it’s deadlines and policies and the challenge is how to square the circle. For the literal minded, here is one way.   Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 1.10.23 PM.png I believe I am seeing change in my classroom, it is messy and not always accepted by all students but fully embraced by some. Students are suggesting alternate ways of doing things and I am considering them more fully and more favourably. as with all innovations, the take-up is staggered between early adopters and laggards. This leads to mixed feelings. It can be euphoric when students ‘get it’ and frustrating when they don’t. It is easy to relapse back to earlier practice. This is all part of a cycle of change   Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 1.20.13 PM.pngdeepening my knowledge of these elements will help me understand the process of reflection and its value.
  • I surveyed the students- some loved the process and produced a great products – a video, a play presented in assembly, Prezis and Kahoots. Some panicked and worried about the ‘proper’ assessment due later in the term. Why wasn’t that the focus? To  assist the anxious, I think  more structure and overt discussion is needed, whilst still allowing the flyers to fly. Perhaps more triggers and exemplars are needed to . incrementally support these students? Hattie also tells me that  ‘most learning rests on student understanding of the success criteria for a learning task. Trial, error, refinement and research  (and Dr Parsons) can but develop a 21st Century focus in my practice.
  • Critical reflection can consolidate and focus my practice, my process and my postulating. By employing a structure upon which to reflect from, I acknowledge emotions but do not allow them to solely dictate change.  Events and feelings are interrogated by research, and a progression is made.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 1.40.11 PM.png

Henry V – Shakespeare


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This blog has been started for my Mindlab course, I hope it is dangerous!

2 thoughts on “If all else fails read the instructions…”

  1. Hi Di, how are you. I can relate to so many things in this post! And during my literature review some of those themes came up as well. I did my lit review on design thinking and am wanting to put some of the theory into practice for my inquiry and just in my classroom in general. One theme that was in the literature and in
    your classroom was the attitude of the student being on the “real” assessment. If only the student could relax and trust that they will learn and they will enjoy themselves.

    I’ve never really worried about “messy” teaching, but I am getting a bit pressed for time getting through the “real” content, i.e. the stuff the SMT have decided need to be reported on.

    For now I’m going to trust the process and go for it. The students will learn, the assessment will get done and we’ll have have fun in the meantime. I need to work on surveying my students and formal reflection,



    1. Hi Caro. Thanks for your comment. I think the expectation (and therefore actualities pressure-wise) of whatever system inflicting upon us and the desire we have to be real teachers, passion throwers who infect our students with the desire to really learn, will always be at odds. Trying to bring truth into this tension is the real magic. Nicht wahr?


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