Reflective Practice and Changes in Practice
Our Board of Trustees is very keen to promote substantial professional development opportunities for our teachers and four staff from our school have done the Mindlab course.
For myself, my commitment to the journey has been commitment to the staff. I felt if, with the full load of principalship, I could complete the study and assignments alongside the staff, it would model the possibility of deep professional learning for all of us. I have had the opportunity to update with the latest information. As a school we had taken big leaps forward with collaborative and digital learning but could not sustain our momentum and suffered as a result of it. We have had a chance to reflect together, and heal from some of the traumas of some of these processes and find our way forward again.
After doing the course there are two key areas I will approach differently with the staff:
- Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning. (Ministry of Education, n.d.)
There is an assumption that when something has been around for a while e.g. the key competencies -nearly 10 years embedded and central to the New Zealand curriculum - that everyone would be doing them well and consistently. I have found my learning on this course has made me pause and go back. Ten years down the track something which started with meaning and power, has ended up being catchwords with little substance. In this area there is no point leading forward until we go back and develop an understanding of key competencies as contextual dispositions.
- Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment. Combined with: Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice (Ministry of Education, n.d.)
It has become clear to me that I have taken for granted that all teachers understand what is meant by research-based practice.
Our Community of Learning is committed to using the spiral of inquiry (Timperley, Kaser, & Halbert, 2014) to develop practice. My learning from this course and the interactions it has prompted have led me to appreciate more deeply the change in teacher thinking required to move into evidence-based practice. That has made me go a lot slower than I otherwise would have with the development of our spirals.
My dream: These two papers will complete my third Masters degree. I have come to a saturation point where I feel there is nothing more to be gained from this. I am inspired by the opportunities offered by our Community of Learning. I am relieved there is a new government and we can hopefully reclaim a broad and meaningful education. I want to continue leadership in our COL and find ways of embedding and sustaining good practice so we don’t have to forget and relearn what key competencies mean, for instance. I want for the learners in my school to be reaching for the stars as lifelong learners in the Catholic faith, engaged and empowered in deep learning for success (same goal as always). As far as study goes, I think my next step is research. This will probably mean EdD or Phd studies and it will probably be around collaborative and distributed leadership and holistic, agentic learning.
Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/
Timperley, H., Kaser, L., & Halbert, J. (2014). A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry. Victoria: Centre for Strategic Education.