Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Choices Teachers Make

The core philosophy of the PLN, Personal Learning Network, sometimes called by a variety of names like: Personal Learning Environment(PLE), Personal Learning Community (PLC), Professional Learning Network (PLN), or Professional Learning Community(PLC), remains the collaboration among your peers, professional in their field of expertise, in my case: teaching. When other people, who work to educate and inform their best practices, share their experiences and reflect on how these best practices informed their actions, they become your teacher. This is the reciprocal teaching factor that plays such an important role in effective professional development.

Relating to teachers' choices in learning to know our students and using that information to guide best practice is my focus. Children's interests in the 21st century can be boosted by all teachers and parents, not just by those with advanced resources. With that caveat in mind, this advertisement video does illustrate the point of how we can use technology as a tool to enhance learning while we get to know our students.

Today, I was reading blog posts among those from my PLN, and I was so drawn to this post, Successful Teaching: Highlighting Students’ Talents, by my colleague/friend, Pat Hensley, also known as loonyhiker, I knew I NEEDED to respond to it. This poignant story of how the teacher can validate or deny a person's ability to achieve in school based on their perceptions prompted me to make this response to Pat's thoughtful reflection of best practice as she experienced it. She reminded me that quality teaching is a choice that teachers make with help from a quality learning community.

I appreciated your reflective questions relating your experiences with your skateboard boy and the yoyo boy in the video. Children have hobbies, and frequently these hobbies are reflections of what they would want to do for work as adults. I am always concerned when these talents are dismissed out of hand.

While other teachers dismissed skateboard boy and his talents, you did not. "I would ask him why he was so good for me and not others and he looked at me and said, 'You like me and wouldn’t let me get away with any of that.' He felt the other teachers didn’t like him but he knew I cared and that made a big difference to him."

I am sure the other teachers may have thought they liked him, but as Dr. William Glasser, MD says in his classic, The Quality School Teacher:
"...we will work hard for those we care for(belonging), for those we respect and who respect us(power), for those with whom we laugh (fun), for those who allow us to think and act for ourselves (freedom), and for those who help us to make our lives secure (survival). The more that all five of these needs are satisfied in our relationship with the (teacher)manager who asks us to do the work, the harder we will work for that (teacher)manager.

Teachers also need opportunities to make appropriate choices, and they deserve principal teachers who are lead managers.

Sometimes not all teachers have the opportunity to work with those who will bring out their best, so they revert to a more coercive stance. I believe schools can be greatly helped if everyone works to make their school The Quality School I hope you don't mind that I have included a link to one of my blog posts, n2teaching: The Quality School Teacher, that relates to yours.

Thanks for this thought-provoking post that reminds me why teachers teach.

1 comment:

Pat Hensley said...

What a great post! I'm so glad we are in each other's PLN!! Thanks for inspiring me to be a better teacher.