Inquiry Is Key
Probably the most inspiring speaker of the day for me was Kath Murdoch who came out first to talk about the importance of inquiry and the "power of ummm." Her story of recording those questions her own kids came up with during the solace of a car drive really resonated with me. How many times do we rush to get curriculum completed, district/provincial assessments done without taking the time to just be curious with our students? We often talk as a staff about the importance of having fun in the realm of learning with the kids in your class. And Kath's story of the teacher who paused to inquire about a preying mantis on the rug paralleled the kind of "play with learning" I think we need to do more often with students. If you find a preying mantis on class room carpet-that's a chance for inquiry, not an interruption to the day plan. Imagine if we all did that a little more in our classrooms.
Let Me Take A Selfie ... NOT
As I listened to Jesse Miller, I found myself being quite reflective on my own practice when it comes to social media and how I use it to tell my own story. And as he talked about the importance of helping kids understand that turning the camera outward to capture, and more importantly, reflect on the world around them, I found myself realizing that I could use a reminder to do that more often. I really appreciated his notion that children need to be helped to tell their story but also to remember they are part of a global world and their actions and behaviours impact and resonate. The difference between journalist and broadcaster is important .. and difficult to comprehend for children even though the ability to share and post is literally a finger touch away. I look forward to connecting with Jesse and learning more about how to help children embrace social media as a positive tool, and not a dangerous one.
The Power of Student Voice
As Gia daRosa spoke, I was captivated. She shared with us an amazing journey her grade 5 teacher took her on based on the Paper Clip Economy. She spoke of very deep concepts like consumerism, government and civil disobedience like she had studied them in graduate school. She talked about the importance of education being transformed from the classroom into action in the real world. And as she shared, with great passion this amazing long term inquiry project I was struck by just how valuable it was that it was she, and not the teacher, was sharing this with us. Traditionally, professional development is made up of educators speaking to other educators about great ideas like these. But to have that student voice so passionately share the learning that occurred during those months was eye opening. Made me wonder what my students would share about the learning I engage them in. What would your students share about your classroom?
As I drove home from TEDxWestVancovuerED my mind was swirling. I was reflecting, questioning and discussing with my wife all the different things we had heard that day from the stage. And to me, that is what educational professional development should do. Thank you to Craig, Cari, Garth, Brooke and everyone who made this event possible. I am already looking forward to next year.