Sorry for the delay in posting this everyone. I intended to finish it early Sunday morning but woke with a migraine, so lost the day until now.
Once again we had a dead heat for topics in our recent Serendipity unconference webinar. Those chosen were “Peer Support” arising out of discussion in previous webinars and “Education Reform” triggered by the mass firing of teachers in a US school and the reactions to this by prominent politicians. As always when we have two topics minds are focussed and we cover a lot of ground in a short time. For a better sense of the discussion checkout the recording.
Just a reminder for those of you new to our sessions that although we use the words: education, teacher and also school very often – this is generic and used for convenience. Our discussions are of education, teaching and learning institutions in the broadest sense and we have participants from across all sectors and also globally.
We started with Peer Support which generated a lively discussion starting with a variety of ideas about what constituted peer support. The consensus was that it covers a range of different interactions. In my own personal opinion it is an overarching term that includes peer mentoring and peer tutoring as well as teamwork activities. Several of us shared occasions when peer support had occurred either in a planned way or spontaneously in our classes. There was a feeling that this might be a topic to explore more fully in a focussed session perhaps by inviting several people to share strategies that had worked in their context.
The discussion on Education Reform was triggered by recent events in the US where all the teachers in a school were fired, this was stated to be because of poor student outcomes – thanks to Shelly Terrell for the link to this article and several other related ones that she provided in the text chat.
Again this topic was one that gave rise to enthusiastic discussion and revealed something approaching despair about what is happening to education systems worldwide and the impact on teachers.
The apparent continually increasing culture of blame with teachers on the receiving end is something which has a hugely negative effect on motivation and enthusiasm. Teachers who enter the education systems of the world generally do so with a passion for their work but you only have to look at the numbers of teachers who seem to be leaving education worldwide to see that disillusion is setting in on a large scale. As with the first topic this is one that seems to call for a more focussed session or even a series of sessions. It is certainly a perennial subject when teachers get together, and one which always seems to conclude that the only solution is to keep “chipping away”. However – from my very personal perspective it seems to be getting worse with teachers becoming more and more political and sociological scapegoats for the ills of society.
Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus!” session a mix of “Techie How To” and “Tools and Strategies” where we will “play” with Elluminate whiteboards from the Moderator’s perspective in “White(board) Magic!”
Join us on Thursday March 11th at 23:00 GMT (6pm USA EST, Midnight CET) or Friday March 12th at 7am West Aus, 10am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room.