Normally we ask our Edutweetoz hosts 5 questions, but since this is my second time hosting, it seemed silly to repeat my answers. If you’re interested, you can check them out here.
Instead I thought I’d tell you a little about my role and how it relates to the projects I’m working on with social media.
I’m an assistant principal at Castle Cove Public School in Sydney. It’s a dual role. I have a full teaching load, but I also contribute to many school management and educational leadership areas. This year, instead of taking a class, I’m doing a mix of learning support and enrichment programs, which is a wonderful role that allows me to work with students across the school.
The educational leadership side of my role has me focusing on the professional development of teachers and looking at whole school change.
Around the world, education is being revolutionised. The role of the teacher is being transformed as we realise that the traditional model of schooling is no longer suited to the futures for which we are preparing our students. It challenges all of our thinking. It excites us, inspires us and also threatens us as we struggle to stay relevant for our students.
Leading a school through that change is an enormous privilege and also an extraordinary challenge. It involves shifting the mindset of an entire community: teachers, parents, students as we rethink why, how and what we will learn. Some want to dive in to change head first, others are more cautious, easing themselves in gradually, and others resist, not wanting to move, seeing danger ahead.
It also involves listening. While I may have strong ideas about what changes we should make, what they would look like in practice, and how we should proceed, I am just one voice.
And so I’ve become more and more fascinated by how we change and transform education. It’s more than learning new skills and ways of doing things. I believe its about changing paradigms. But to change paradigms we need to start looking outside and engaging in thought and dialogue about education.
This is where two of my projects come in.
The Teachers Education Review Podcast
The Teachers Education Review is a fortnightly podcast that I host along with a NSW high school English head teacher, Cameron Malcher. Each fortnight we put together a program where we feature interviews with people who are doing interesting things in education. Sometimes we speak with academics about cutting edge research into education. Other times we speak with education leaders and innovators about projects they are running in their schools. At other times we examine education policies and their impact on teaching learning. During the Edutech Congress we were privileged to interview of the key notes, including Sugata Mitra, Conrad Wolfram, Joyce Valenza and Jenny Luca, as well as record a number of the Teach Meets and break out sessions. Listening to thinkers and innovators like these helps change the way I think about education and I bring this perspective back to my workplace. I can’t lead the change if I can’t see the change. Exposure to these new ideas helps form my vision.
If you’re reading this, you’ll know about my second project, EdutweetOz. Michelle Hostrup, Liz Sinnot, Donnelle Batty and I founded this rotation curation account just over a year ago. The point of Edutweetoz is community. Having a different teacher tweeting each week exposes me to such a range of views and contexts. I might not ever experience teaching in a remote, Northern Territory School, but Edutweetoz allows me to connect with teachers in that position. Through their tweets, I start to understand some of the joys and challenges of working in that context. I love the diversity of voices, the new ideas and the connections that following and participating in the conversations allow. It helps me to continue looking outwards and I need to keep doing that if I am of any use as an education leader. It also helps me to find people who are working on similar projects to me, or have experience in an area I am looking at moving our school towards. These connections lead to collaboration which helps me become a better teacher and school leader.
So, thank you all for welcoming me to the account this week. It’s been an exhausting but inspiring week tweeting from the Edutech Congress. I hope some of it has inspired you as well. If you’d like to stay connected with me, I’m on Twitter @corisel. You can also visit my blog aboutteaching.net. And, if you’re interested in following the podcast, check us out at TERpodcast.com or follow our twitter handle @terpodcast.