Sunday, June 5, 2016

All this reading is making me wonder...


Behind the scenes of all things #edchatNZ, my teaching, learning and leading within my school, and my masters, I have been reading like crazy, watching videos and curating content. The more I read, explore, make sense, listen, the more I wonder...

  • How 'future ready' are New Zealand teachers really? In fact, are New Zealand teachers even coping with today? I just think about my unruly and out of control inbox, as well as the mental aerobics and resilience it has taken to reimagine learning at my school.
  • What kind of future are we heading towards if we retain our current mindsets? What kind of a future might we head towards with a shift in mindset? I worry about the paradigm of growth that appears to dominate everything from economics to education in our society. 10% increase here, new target there...
  • How do New Zealand teachers and schools cope with complexity, rapid change, radical change? What about our schools and their policies and procedures? I think about how challenging it is to navigate the space where my students' lives are overlaid by a digital parallel universe, where their alternate selves are roaming far beyond the walls of the school and classroom.
  • How do we know if we are coping? How do we know if we are thriving in complexity? Just because it feels like we are thriving or doing well, doesn't mean we are. It is easy lulling myself into a false sense of security as I go about my comfortable daily life, forgetting the impact of the bottle of water I bought because I forgot my own, forgetting that the cheap T-shirt I got on special was probably made by an underpaid child in a developing country somewhere. Surely thriving doesn't mean that I am happy and comfortable at the expense of others? 
I am not alone in wondering about all these things. In fact, a research study from the Auckland University of Technology is doing exactly this - wondering about teachers and how 'future ready' they might be. 

"The last two decades have seen a paradigm shift in international thinking about education. Driven by an awareness of the massive social, economic, and technological changes taking place in the world outside education, there is now a questioning of the role and purpose of “traditional” forms of schooling. The literature in this area argues that today’s learners need knowledge and skills that are qualitatively different from those the current system was set up to provide. But more importantly, if they are to thrive in today’s world, learners need new ways of knowing. They need new and different “dispositions” towards knowledge, thinking, learning, and work. 
There is now a large literature on how we might go about developing these dispositions in students, but very little work on how these dispositions might best be fostered in teachers. While there is a great deal of New Zealand-based research on teacher professional learning, much of this is oriented towards “improvement” or “best practice”, not “transformation”. Research investigating the demands “future-oriented” education makes on teachers’ thinking, learning, and ways of knowing is, as yet, in its infancy."

The survey takes a while to complete. It's thorough, so rather than wondering about the future, future readiness, complexity, etc, I am now going to take the time to actually do the survey... I know that the team behind the survey would greatly appreciate if you could take the time to do the survey, but also to share it with your colleagues. The more people that do the survey, the better. Even better, the more diverse the groups of teachers who do the survey, the better.

You can access the survey here

PS: I completed the survey, it didn't take me nearly as long as they said. There were some pretty fascinating questions in there too! 

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