My Postgraduate Learning Journey and plan for the future

The Mindlab programme may be drawing to an end, but my ongoing learning journey is only just beginning. The past 32 weeks have opened my eyes to the amazing educational possibilities we are able to provide our students and have empowered me to lead my school in the direction of a true 21st century education.

My learning journey ‘Highlights’ and how these relate to the practising teacher criteria

  • The ability to work collaboratively with a group of likeminded educators from across Upper Hutt City to complete assignments, share ideas and reflect on the ongoing changes we are making within our own schools has been invaluable. The promotion of collaboration by the Mindlab, has truly allowed me to promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment (Criteria 7) and to establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga (Criteria 1) in Upper Hutt. These relationships have continued to develop long after the initial 16 weeks of study and continue to flourish through our professional and now social networks.

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  • Teaching, and leading a school, is a busy job. Initiating the learning opportunity presented by the Mindlab to advance my personal professional knowledge and skills clearly demonstrates my commitment to ongoing professional learning and development. (Criteria 4) The journey hasn’t always been easy but it has definitely been worth the effort.
  • Seeking the voice of my staff, and using this information to assist me to develop their knowledge and confidence with digital technologies, as a result of the learning within the ‘Digital and Collaborative Learning in Context’ paper, has been a powerful learning experience. My staff made it very clear that adding meetings to learn new digital skills was an unfavourable option. Employing the new, yet favoured option of ‘flipped learning’ for developing these skills, highlights how I demonstrate in practice my knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn. (Criteria 8)
  • Personally, the most enjoyable area of learning was within the ‘Leadership in Digital and Collaborative Learning’ paper. Whilst the leadership theories and models weren’t new, the ability to actively reflect upon the actions and decisions I make on a daily basis has allowed me to exhibit the types of leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning in the 21st (Criteria 5) Igniting the school vision, establishing a group of early adopters as change agents for modern learning practice and distributing leadership among the wider teaching team are key changes to my leadership practice as a result of this learning.

My continued learning journey

A major goal of mine is to follow through on the proposed ‘Connected Communities Cluster’ for Upper Hutt City schools. As I stated to my lecturer during the in house sessions of the Mindlab, the greatest thing about completing the assignment work associated with this programme is the fact that my team of ‘post grad-ers’ have been able to collaborate on something that is truly meaningful to our schools, our context and our community. Already we have been able to share our idea with educators across Upper Hutt City and have developed a group of early adopters who are enthusiastic about its direction. In fact, as I type this we are co-ordinating a meeting with this group of teachers to apply for funding via the ‘Teacher-Led Innovation Fund’.
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A further goal is to continue to develop my personal use of social media to enhance my professional development. Ironically, I created this blog prior to starting the ‘Applied Practice in Context’ paper. I aimed to use it to capture my reflective practice and general thoughts about educational topics as a resource that I could refer to throughout my journey as an educator. As I wrote in a previous post, often I am a passive consumer of ideas and knowledge via social media platforms. After completing the last 32 weeks of study I’m confident enough that I have ideas, experiences and knowledge that is worth sharing with others in the true style of social networking.

As Robert E. Lee once said:

 “The education of a man is never completed until he dies.”

My love for education and the quest to become the best teacher and leader possible is an ongoing journey. A journey that has been shaped and influenced by the experiences and opportunities provided by the Mindlab over the past 32 weeks. For this I am forever grateful.

References:

Ministry of Education (nd).Practising Teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Registered-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning

Robert E. Lee – Wikiquote. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2015, from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_E._Lee

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