Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are You a Teacher and Learner Alongside Your Students?

20  Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2013 from Shelly Terrell

20 Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2013 - Click the link for fantastic ideas and opportunities!

How do you model to your students that you are a lifelong learner alongside them?  Do you share your professional development with your students, or new learning, or failures which have lead to new learning?  To what extent do you share your learning with your PLC or your colleagues?
Do you Tweet to gain answers to questions or to learn new skills?  Do you use a blog to reflect on your learning? (Something I've let slip in the last wee while - no excuse).

The challenge is on - we learn as much from our students as we could ever teach them.  This was pointed out to me several years ago when we were setting up the class and individual blogs.  We linked all the individual learning blogs to our main class ones and my class wanted to know why my own learning blog wasn't on the blog roll.  What was my answer?

I explained to them - very misguidedly it turns out - that I hadn't linked it because it was my professional learning blog and they probably wouldn't 'get' what I was reflecting on and blogging about.  What was their answer?

"But if you're a learner too then your blog should be on there as well.  We might not understand what's on there but it shows that you're part of our community of learners and you respect us enough to share it with us."

Hmmm.  They had a point and I decided that it was pretty arrogant of me - and a little hypocritical.  If I expected us all to be teachers and learners in our room but I wasn't prepared to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak.  That learning conversation had a profound impact on me.  We should never underestimate the power of modeling ourselves to our students as learners.

How old were these students?  9 and 10 years old.  Another Hmmmm moment in teaching and learning. It was also from this conversation that our class motto came about and it is something I live by to this day:

"We are all teachers and we are all learners in our room."

So... What are you going to do this term to show that you are learning alongside your students?

Shelly Terrell is an educator I would recommend you follow on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to her blog.  Her ideas are practical and her passion for teaching and learning inspirational.

The link above will take you to some outstanding opportunities for your professional learning this year.  I'd love to hear what you choose.  I'll also be choosing and reflecting and sharing my learning with my students.

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