Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Act on what you learn

Action is one of the essential elements in the PYP.  In Making the PYP Happen it states:  action should be seen as a voluntary demonstration of a student's empowerment.  Basically they should act on what they learn - the empowerment doesn't happen in the learning but in the actions they take as a result of their learning.  Recently I've been thinking that action can also be a demonstration of a teacher's empowerment and since my aim is to explore the impact that coaching can have on teaching and learning in the second half of this year I'm thinking about what actions I might see our teachers involved in.  I'm hoping to see teachers:
  • trying out new things, experimenting and stepping outside of their comfort zone.  I'm always happy to see teachers questioning the whys and the hows of what they are  doing.  I know that one grade has pledged to try out team teaching at least once before our February break so I'm interested to see how this turns out.  It's exciting to see that they have decided to learn from those around them.  
  • seeing themselves as learners too.  Reading, thinking, connecting with experts around the world, maybe even taking online courses.
For me I think it's also important to act on what I'm learning.  This is what I've done as a result of what I have learnt:
  • I'm more able to identify my strengths and weaknesses and events of the past few months have definitely made me question and then reaffirm my values, ethics and principles.  Having realised that these don't match with those of my current school, my action is to move on.  You have to believe in what you are doing in order to put your heart into it and be able to make a difference.
  • I've also come to see that different people have different standards.  One person's definition of excellence is not the same as someone else's. If you are trying to attain someone else's definition of success then you will just be disappointed and dissatisfied, even if you achieve it.  You need to own your own definition of excellence and measure your achievements by your own standards.
  • I've seen how important it is to have the freedom to make choices (up to now this has been limited by my need to support my children through school), but I've discovered that I also have the freedom to choose how to interpret what happens.  This year my choice has been to welcome change and to look for new opportunities, and I've discovered that when you are open to new opportunities then they come to you.  I'm overly excited about moving on to a new school, new country, new culture and new challenges.  Just as I'm excited about our teachers exploring new ways of doing things here, I know that I need to explore too.  I need to be in a place that is constantly investigating new ways of using technology, of teaching and of learning.
  • I've thought a lot about where I want to be and who I want to be with and I've discovered that I need to be with people who dream the same dreams but even bigger than I do and who have even more passion for what they are doing than I have.  This energy is infectious!  I read recently "The people around you create who you are.  If they inspire you, you'll be inspired.  If they depress you, you'll be depressed." Therefore my search has also been for people who will inspire and empower me and for a school that is modeling excellence, for people who don't say "that's impossible" but who ask "how can we make this possible?"
Several ideas in this post have been influenced by the Live Your Legend site.

Photo Credit:  Pasqual jump sequence by Felipe Skroski  Attribution 

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