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Archive for May, 2009

Teaching is a vocation. It can be described as a profession, but for me, it’s where I belong and I truly believe I am in the right place. Sometimes it surprises me to think of the number of students we may have influenced – even in a small way, but what I don’t think we consider enough is how much our students impact on our lives.

Currently in Year 9 PBL Social Studies, we are running a project that is a modified version of last years successful GreenUp project. This year the social networking site ning was used again, A Convenient Reply, in response to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I have to admit I haven’t been as engaged in this project as last year and I have been struggling to be as active online with my students. I felt I have failed to encourage reflective practice and that I realised I needed to do something about it.

So last week, I was teaching in the Old Study Hall (like the good ol’ days) with my team teacher Sak Vuki, when I decided we needed some visitors. I was able to ask some boys from our class from last year to visit and check out the work our students were creating for the 2050 urban environment they envisage. Similarly to last year, the project focuses on geographic and environment concerns, however, this time our local area of Westmead is not specified.

I like how this student refers to his learning experience in his blog entitled, “My Honest Retrospect. He is honest and genuine in his response and I have been able to provide feedback to him through observing his writing.

Picture 2

When the Year 10s visited, they commented that they were really impressed with the standard of work the students were creating and were interested to hear the theories behind their proposals. It also made me consider what would be the next positive experience (and highlight of my week!) which would take place the following lesson.

I decided to ask these same boys (and a few more of the top-bloggers from last year!) to work in small groups with my Year 9s and show how they developed as young writers last year through our blogging project. The Year 10s were more than willing to lead these workshops and they showed their growth from “Blog 1” to their final blogs they were composing which were brilliant!

The class room visit from the Year 10s had a three-fold effect. This involved all of the learners in this learning experience. The Year 9s felt motivated by the encouragement, the Year 10s demonstrated powerful leadership qualities and for me, it was rewarding to see learning continue in the workstations that were placed around our room.

Picture 4

So that was last week. I hope the week ahead has moments that are as rewarding as these, where my students are engaged and actively participating in their learning environment.

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