Critically discuss the changes in practice.
Recalling the last 32 weeks (a little longer in my case) and reflecting on these moments is quite the task to explain in 600 words.
I’ve been fortunate throughout my profession to meet people and set up various reflective practice networks in and out of the school setting, which challenges my professional thinking, provides opportunity for my performance to be critiqued, and betters me as a person. “… reflective practice is viewed as a means by which practitioners can develop a greater level of self-awareness about the nature and impact of their performance…” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993, p. 2).
The Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning) was a continuation of this, especially as I had recently returned from overseas and wasn’t receiving the digital and collaborative learning development I was while over there. Being on the course helped to consolidate the learning I had received overseas. As well as provide the opportunity to schedule time to think about concepts I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to think about due to a busy school schedule. It gave me reason to continue to interact with my overseas networks to seek advice and perspective online that could have otherwise ceased due to geographical distance.
One of the key changes that impacted my professional knowledge in practice was the literature review. At the time, I was questioning the behaviour of some students in the school and wondered if they saw themselves as lifelong learners. It lead into an inquiry around how school and community stakeholders work together to create inclusive and socially equitable learning environments in relation to the NZ Education in 2025: Lifelong Learners in a Connected World (Ministry of Education, 2015). This relates to Criterion 7: Fully certified teachers promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment (Ministry of Education, n.d.). When reviewing the Practising Teacher Criteria in relation to e-learning, my objective was to find ways to bring about inclusion for collaboration. With the understanding that education is changing towards “a highly connected, independent education system that equips students with skills for the future, fosters students’ identity, language and culture, and prepares students to participate as successful citizens in the 21st Century” (Ministry of Education, 2015).
Another key change that impacted my professional knowledge in practise was the second assessment in Digital & Collaborative Learning in Context paper and the second assessment in the Research & Community Informed Practice. I was able to work with a group of students who explored learner agency with me in the Digital & Collaborative assessment and, later provided constructive feedback for me in the Research and Community teacher inquiry on the School’s culture. When looking at the Practising Teacher Criteria, this relates to Criterion 12: Fully certified teachers use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice (Ministry of Education, n.d.). I was reflecting using the experiential learning cycle (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993), ‘systematically and critically engaged with evidence and professional literature to reflect on and refine my practice” (Ministry of Education, n.d.). As well, “responding to feedback from members of their learning community” i.e the students (Ministry of Education, n.d.). This experience was insightful, especially in regards to my teacher inquiry. The students had thoughtful suggestions which were of benefit to improving the school culture, and this will continue to be an ongoing inquiry for me.
For years I have been toying with the idea of doing a Masters in Education. However, I have questions still about this idea and am dubious as to how I will approach it.
My interests are in Education for Sustainability and I want to explore concepts of ecological literacy/ Place Based Learning in relation to Disruptive Design and Systems Thinking. The way the education system is in New Zealand, to attempt a MEd in addition to the workload requirements is hard, if not bordering on impossible. My next step is looking at returning overseas for employment.
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Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Enabling e-learning. Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning
Ministry of Education. (2015). New Zealand Education in 2025: Lifelong Learners in a Connected World. Retrieved from https://education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Initiatives/Lifelonglearners.pdf
Osterman, K., & Kottkamp, R. (1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California: Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files/RefPract/Osterman_Kottkamp_extract.pdf