Category Archives: Classroom

10 Ways to Transform Your Teaching

1619648_10152989218839268_1464629793034054793_nI recently wrote an article for ACEL e-Publications about the importance of authentic learning. In the article, I discuss authentic learning being overused in many blog posts, tweets, articles and staff meetings; however, it is often presented very vaguely with little to no specific examples of what it actually looks like in a classroom.

Therefore, in the article I go into detail about ten practical and achievable examples of how you can ensure your students are immersed in meaningful authentic learning experiences. The ten examples are listed below.

  • Google Hangouts and Skype
  • Twitter in Education
  • Design Thinking
  • Valuable Opportunities
  • Start an ICT Club
  • Blogging
  • Student Voice
  • Digital Technologies
  • Timetabling
  • Physical Space

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 What do you believe is essential if learning is to be authentic?

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Filed under Classroom, Practical Ideas, Teaching Strategies

A New Year

It’s a common tradition for people to come up with a new year’s resolution regarding their personal lives, but have you ever thought about creating a resolution for yourself as a teacher?

For me, 2013 has been a year filled with learning – more than I could ever have imagined! Someone once told me that once you think you know everything as a teacher – you should retire. On that note, I hope that 2014 teaches me even more than 2013 has. It wasn’t until the very end of this year that I truly realised how much of an impact I had on my students. The little comments they wrote in their Christmas cards and their notes revealed the difference that I made in their lives without truly realising it. Written in their Christmas cards were the small words of encouragement that I said to them or my small actions throughout the year which I had long forgotten.

My goal is to create a classroom where students can feel free to learn and take risks, feel inspired, confident, safe, heard, welcome and happy. I ultimately want my students to want to come to school and to enjoy being in their classroom.

Inspired by this post by Mathew Green, below are 5 things that I aim to achieve in 2014.

1.       Radiate Positivity

I want to be a positive teacher. It is really important to me that I begin and end the day on a positive note. I want to make my students smile and enjoy learning. My students will feel welcome and safe within their learning space and they will know that I believe in them with all of my heart. I would like to remember to have more patience and remember how much they look up to me and the difference I am making in their lives.

2.       Be a Facilitator

I want to be more of a facilitator and let the students jump into the driver’s seat. Inspired by Thoughtful Learning, I want to be continually thinking about how the students can question, plan, research, create, improve and present. I don’t want to lecture and provide the students with the information they need, instead I want to be a collaborator and encourage the students to help themselves gain the information and skills they need to succeed.

Facilitator3.       Encourage Students to Take More Responsibility For Their Own Learning

I want my students to feel responsible for their own learning. I am going to set up a Google Site which clearly outlines the expectations at the beginning of each term. The students will then be expected to access their homework from the site and upload assessments and tasks by the provided dates. The students will not be spoon fed and they will be continually encouraged to find the answers to their questions through research and not by simply asking a teacher. They will also be encouraged to ask non-Googleable questions and think outside the box. Their curiosity and creativity will be fostered, not squashed.

4.       Encourage Students to Learn From Their Mistakes

I want my students to know that making mistakes is a good thing and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. I really love the acronym below.

FAILI want my students to know that just because they made a mistake, it doesn’t mean that they are stupid; it simply means they made a mistake. I won’t be afraid to show them that I make mistakes, too.

5.       Cater to the Variety of Students  

I want to ensure that the students who need assistance don’t feel worried, anxious or stressed. I want them to feel supported and know that I believe in them. I want to encourage them to take risks and believe in themselves.

I also want the gifted students to be challenged in creative and purposeful ways so they do not become bored and both, use and develop their strengths.

Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m so lucky to work in a school where students are inspired and encouraged to dream. I couldn’t agree more with Mathew Green as he stated “classrooms are wonderful places … they provide a place of refuge and encouragement, which they may not have elsewhere … places of unlimited possibilities … that should encourage students to dream and be more than they could have ever imagined.” I really believe this also applies to all who work within schools and within education.

With that thought, I wish you a very happy new year and ask – in 2014, what dreams will you believe in?

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Filed under Classroom, Creativity, Goals, Teaching