Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Reflecting on my impact

This year has been a whirlwind of a year. In January I started a new school and also took on a Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir role. This meant that I was learning the language and systems of the new school, as well as totally throwing myself in the learning pit by filming and critically analysing a series of my lessons.
The goal of Google Class OnAir is to share teaching and learning in a digital learning environment following the Manaiakalani pedagogy of 'Learn Create Share'. As a result of sharing my teaching practice (and filming it), I had to watch myself teaching. Yes, this is somewhat confronting. However, as a teacher wanting to continually grow my practice, I highly recommend doing this!

By watching my lessons back I was able to notice things that I usually wouldn't. I saw when a learner wanted to share an idea, but was overlooked. I saw learners who dominated conversations. I saw things that I hadn't heard and could possibly have addressed at the time (eg. misconceptions). Either way, by repeatedly watching myself teach I was able to refine my practice and develop my ability to cognitively engage learners. Three things that I learnt from this was

  • to talk less and listen more
  • to not be afraid to shift the locus of control
  • that cognitive engagement comes from empowerment agency and choice. 
You can read the elaborated version of these learnings, and the learners reflections on my Parker OnAir site.

Last week I had the pleasure of sharing this impact story at our school Professional Development session where myself, and all the other teachers shared their Teaching as Inquiry [TAI] goals and resulting impact.



When I critically ask myself "What impact did I have?" I look back to the beginning lesson to my later lessons and consider the difference in my teaching, and the learners' responses and interactions. What I notice is that the more I sit back and allow the learners to hear silence, the more they are likely to think critically and explore ideas on their own accord without my interjection. A highlight for me, was in the last few weeks, when I did this. Asked a open ended question, then after the group heard a response, I was silent. After some time (I think I counted to 10 in my head) the learners started talking again, elaborating more, and even asking one another deep questions. Effectively - they were owning the discussion, which was meaningful and thought provoking.  

So what impact did this have on learner outcomes? Well, I too wondered this and did some data analysis on the shift of my learners this year. I measured those who had had the expected 12 months gain (i.e. maintaining their National Standard curriculum level between their 2015 and 2016 EOY results.) and those who had accelerated their learning and had 18 month or greater gain (i.e. shifting from Below Standard in 2015 to At Standard in 2016, or shifting from At to Above Standard). Thankfully, none of the learners in my care had negative shift (less than 12 months gain in a year). 


 

My remaining question is, how do I get the same level of acceleration in writing as I did in mathematics and reading? 
Interestingly, in 2015 my greatest impact was in writing. There are a number of factors which could have contributed to this. Firstly I was doing my dissertation as part of an Honours degree which focused on improving self-regulation in writing. Secondly, the cohort of learners was a different demographic. Thirdly, this year my focus was more on the critical thinking and analysis of text, therefore reading.

2015 Shift Data












Either way, comparing this data shows that, as a teacher I have shifted in my practice also, and my kete is much more equipped with tools and strategies for reaching and having impact on my next cohort of learners.   

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