I’m writing this as I read Chapter 5 of BDWM, Professional Development for Digital Writing.
Teaching is the next step past learning something. The book starts with these first four ‘diversity, skills, interests and access’ as to why teaching is more challenging. I agree with this broad subject list. I would like to address ‘interest’ and I think the rest of the chapter also teaches this. Interest is motivated students. A hard work disposition, means anyone could be a great student.
The way to teach new technology is to teach leadership. “when technology changes or disappears, specific skills change. Investment in leadership lasts” (pg. 117). Their reason for this claim is to remember writing is social, and digital writing is direct access to communication and community. On pg. 116 she has three bullet pointed and research backed conclusions. In summary ‘change is long, and shared knowledge and working together creates the best result.’
One way they suggest to create staff development is in school training, personal pursuit (college courses), and possibly my favorite weekend retreats. I can understand the in-school training, like stay after on an early day or something. And of course, if the school will pay my tuition, or even bump up my salary for taking courses, I am all in on taking classes forever. But I don’t see where the money is coming from. I know that the U.S. Education System is in a bit of a flux at the moment. And personally, after I work all week, I’m ready to disconnect with my friends and family.
(Any experience with professional development at your schools? Mandatory/ Voluntary, Paid/ Unpaid, Conferences in Hawaii?)
The last part of this section in the chapter covers “the richest conceptions of professional development for improved teaching and learning” (pg. 118) They break it down again into three bullet points and in summary; people are primary, pedagogy is the scaffolding, and leadership is taught by being interested. Disposition is something I am acutely aware of. For me to have a motivated disposition is one of the most important part in learning. Especially learning new technology which can be frustrating, or obsolete in a few months. A classroom full of students intimidates me, finding a way to engage all of my students. Learning how they learn. Being able to create an interesting class, that includes all my students. This fear I have closes out the introductory section I hope to find some confirmation in the upcoming sections.
Pg. 119 “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn” quoted from Charlie Parker by Kevin Hodgson as he looked for a tag line for his blog. He interpreted this to “capture the concept that you have to live the world in order to understand it.” In essence, he means that as teachers we must continue to explore and experiment ourselves if we want to stay relevant and retain access to our students. I have felt this way many times, and feared that I would lose touch as my existence remains in the classroom and not outside of it. I hope that I can learn from my students as much as I can continue to ‘live the world’ outside of it. At the moment, this seems to be a ‘no duh’ idea but when in the midst of the school year I am guessing it feels improbable.
On Pg. 129 Selfe (2009) “describes four paths to integrate students into the culture of technology at school”. The first is independent-study programs, where students who have skills and knowledge to do with current technology can help support or engage with technology projects for class credit. I hope that I will not have to create a separate independent-study program in order for my students to work with technology. But assign projects like the ones in this course as a part of the normal curriculum. The next two both work with volunteering of time in order to partake in training or support other students who need help with technology. The last is the same but paid for. I like these ideas but as I stated earlier I don’t know if schools can support these programs financially or if they could get enough committed volunteers to maintain them.
I believe this chapter concludes that we as teachers must include our students. Especially in the technology we use in our classrooms. By getting the students involved in planning, supporting, even teaching themselves we can empower our students to take more of an interest in the class. As they begin to become more involved they will also begin to grow in a professional development manner. Leadership skills cross the boundaries of technology and infiltrate the culture and community of the school. These changes will support their writing which in turn helps their thinking, learning, and communicating.