Re-igniting MY Curiosity … Day 3

start writingThe final day has arrived … I’m tired but still looking forward to the thought-provoking day ahead.

Unfortunately I was running just a bit too late to make it in time for the key note being presented by “The Sisters” (Joan Moser and Gail Boushey): “Daily 5: Establish Active, Curious behaviours as the Foundation for Your Classroom Structure to Improve Student Learning.”

I have been reading about Daily 5 through the US section of my PLN on twitter. I knew it is essentially aimed at early years/primary but was interested to see what I could take away and adapt for my junior secondary students.

But you know what …

… sometimes it’s nice to just stop and smell the roses!

I took the half hour I found myself with and sat quietly contemplating what I had seen and heard over the past two days. I started to plan these last two blog posts, I checked out some websites I’d saved for later, and I continued to follow the #EngLit2015 twitter feed.

I made sure I was early to the first workshop of the day: “Internationalising the English Curriculum” by Geoff Piggott.

As I walked in he was handing out playing cards (I do things like that … no explanation … just leave the student guessing) … curiosity aroused … tick!

He talked about the way English as a language has expanded across the globe: About how meaning is different in each kind of English that is spoken. We watched part of a TedTalk about ‘The Danger of the Single Story‘ … about looking at the surface and relying on stereotypes. I say part … nothing like waiting till the audience is engaged and then stopping the video … (have to look that up later!!!) … curiosity aroused … tick?

Then we got to the playing cards: Time for a bit of audience participation. Geoff called it Fishbowl but it was a form of socratic circles. (google will turn up lots but the link will get you started.)

I left wondering about my year 11 English class and how I could get them to see past the single story.

The next keynote by Steve Shann was “Secondary English and our Students’ Lifeworlds: Stories from the Mythpoetic Margins.”

Awesome. Amazing. Enthralling. Like nothing I have seen before.

Steve and his two associates used a performance mode, reading a specifically written story to highlight the issues we face in teaching English in high school. The juxtaposition of the two teachers (Sylvia and Minn) highlighted teaching styles, teaching philosophy, gender/cultural stereotypes, etc. I wondered:

  • What verbs dominate and drive your/my unit/term planners?
  • How does our own experience of school shape the teacher we become?
  • How can we change the pervading notions that unless it’s marked a learning task is not worthwhile; that learning is only for assessment? 

After lunch I tried to get into “The Power of an Inquiry Based Approach to Teaching and Learning in the English Classroom” … however the room was already over-crowded when I got there. I attempted to find another session but by this stage most had already started so again I found myself with another half hour of contemplation.

The last session was a workshop: “Programming Creatively for Disengaged Youth: Are You Game?” presented by Ruth Doyle and Damon Eaton.

They presented their unit of work for yr 11 English completely based on and around the concept of games and game development. They clearly linked to every assessment task and learning activity you would expect senior students to complete. They covered everything from the history of games, how games differ across cultures, to the development and promotion of a game by the students. All of this in 18 weeks of teaching!!!

They courageously shared the things that didn’t work well and the things they would change, and generously shared their unit plan. I wondered how might I be able to work in a task or two to interest my disengaged ‘footy’ boys? (The ones who always come late because they would rather continue playing footy!)

… then, it was all over!

We were sitting in the plenary session, watching the hand over from Canberra to Adelaide.

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Posted on July 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A great summary of your day! It’s been interesting to read your reflections as we attended very different sessions 🙂

  2. Even on the odd occasion when we did attend the same session it is interesting to see how someone else interprets what you think you saw and heard!

    I also enjoyed reading your thoughts and wonderings 🙂

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