Monday, 24 October 2016

This is the end, my only friend, the end...



Well, I haven't used a song title for a blog post for ages, so good to get back on form... A gentle nod to The Doors in case you were wondering.


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It has now been nearly 32 weeks since I signed up for the MindLab Post Grad Certificate, and in all honesty, I have really not enjoyed it. The assessments have been a bit like being caught in a huge wave, you just about get back on your feet and then the next one hits you and knocks you over again. Despite this, I have learned, grown as an educator and constantly challenged my practice while doing the course. I'm still looking forward to hitting submit for the last time, though, to know that I can get something of my life back. Friends are beginning to wonder where I have got to (my wife has once or twice said, "who are you?" when I emerge from the study...)

One thing is certain, I have been very reflective in this course, and have learned to challenge my assumptions once again. I have also looked at fresh new ideas to change the way I teach and learn, and this has tied in with actions that I have been involved in within the school as well. My goal, which ties in with the PTC (Ministry of Education, n.d.) has been to look at ways of changing assessment practice within Level 1 Science this year, and some of the tools and strategies I have learned over the past 32 weeks have helped to inform and drive some of the changes.
I have learned from the ideas of Lean Management; these techniques helping me with my managerial style. I have discovered, and in some cases, rediscovered some very cool tools that exist to make the classroom workload a bit easier to manage. Additionally, I have questioned and reflected more on my practice, something the MoE describe as important in the 21st Century educator. My reflection has raised as many questions as it has answered and this feeds back into my inquiry, allowing me to come up with ideas for the next phase of inquiry; something that was identified in research by Osterman and Kottkamp (1993), where they described how an inquiring learner can move between different phases of action research as a part of the whole process.

Two changes to my Teaching Practice that can be reflected in the PTCs.
I'm not sure I can really credit the MindLab course for these changes, as I suspect these would have occurred anyway, due to the changes in practice already being implemented at school. Nonetheless, Criterion 4, "Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice" has definitely happened. 32 weeks is definitely a commitment, for the issues it has caused along the way...
Secondly, Criterion 11 "Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally" has been covered more than I might ordinarily do. I have sought student voice about assessment practice, and looked long and hard at what we consider acceptable assessment. I have made some smaller changes as a response to the gathered information, and more changes are coming.
Along the way, I think I have dipped into the majority of the criteria, but it has been a mission to log this information and to make sure the recording has been done. There has not been the time, because of commitments at work, and because of my commitment to this course (wavering at times...). Well, now THIS commitment is over. Now I might have time to backtrack and find all the evidence of my meeting the PTCs - at least we are not expected to cover all of them in one year.

References

Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.


Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/

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