Learning to co-construct

25 Feb


My inquiry project this year involves a co-constructed 11 English course which involves student choice, not assessment, paving the way for quality learning experiences…this is the thinking anyway.  I also hope to see results improve as students take responsibility for their own learning.

So another teacher of the same level and I have selected a broad theme and will present students with an introduction to the theme.  They will then work in groups and as a whole class to co-construct a learning pathway which incorporates all elements of the 11 ENG course.

My students are an ‘advanced’ class but are mixed ability and still have specific learning needs.  The challenge I’m facing at the moment is striking a balance between flexible and independent learning and teacher input.  I feel like I’m still quite controlling and am trying hard to allow this to change.

Today, we discussed aspects of the theme that interested students and I intend to get them to create their own reading list and they have already created a class glossary and study guide for the first whole class text, The Scarlett Ibis. (Thanks to the wonderful Kailee Debired for this text suggestion).

So, next is the leap to free choice and flexibility, where students self direct their text choice and learning focus and I facilitate and model the steps for them.

Wish me luck!


Amest I bothered, forsooth?!

19 Feb

For all the girls I’ve taught before…

19 Feb

Well my first real sharing moment here is about to happen.  I am surprised by my newfound desire to talk about my teaching as if into the abyss, without comeback and feel no shame for what I am about to share! 

Is this what living dangerously looks like?  I recently had a person (who shall not be named) tell me to beware those ‘threads’, and I laughed but since then I’ve felt a slight trepidation every time I’ve shared something online..but now I put aside my fears and here goes…

Why is it that I miss my old students?  It isn’t because my new ones are awful, no, quite the contrary and in fact I prefer them for the most part.  Is it that I felt safe, secure and they knew me?  Or is it just that, after 8 years of teaching, I feel a bit like I’m starting all over again?  Kind of like when you get a new boyfriend and have to get used to his quirks and bad habits.  There’s also this feeling that you’ll never live up to their expectations and last year’s teacher was ‘really funny’ or ‘a really good teacher’.

Anyway, my new classes are delightful and I’m sure we’ll all be fine once things settle.  I’ve just found myself reminiscing as I pass that old familiar face in the corridor, ‘Hi Miss Roberts’, and have to remind myself they are now someone else’s students and I have to move on and focus on the class of 2011.

On, on English teacher…

19 Feb

My first teaching blog! Exciting! Although it can be quite daunting, the thought of sharing with complete strangers, I know that most of the people reading this are like minded and at least share a love of teaching. I guess if you don’t, and you’re a teacher reading this, maybe get a new job!

I am (as much as I hate the title) the Specialist Classroom Teacher at AGGS and love it! I am a ‘specialist’ in the sense that I have been doing it a few years but still see myself as a learner, a facilitator and mentor rather than the vessel of all pedagogical knowledge!

I try out new things and am willing to make mistakes and be questioned by my students and admit they might be right and I wrong. It’s the way forward to be wrong, I try to get across.

So if you’re reading this, and are thinking, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, you could well be right!