It may sound odd but am really keen to get back in the swing of things this year with work. It is already looking like it will be action-packed and I hope that translates meaningfully for my students. It will be year of Conferences, Explorations and Journals.
Conference-wise I am starting my year off next week at the International Conference On Thinking in Wellington. It is packed with internationally renowned speakers such as Edward de Bono and David Perkins (who I am particularly looking forward to) but also local inspirations such as 12 year old Hana Olds, Rose Hipkins from NZCER and Mark Osborne.
I am also really looking forward to Soccon later in the year in Hamilton. This is the conference for Social Sciences teachers in NZ that happens every 2 years. I am looking to take workshops on Guerrilla Geography and potentially Geographic Thinking but more than anything I am looking forward to all the ideas that come up in conversations with people after and in between presentations.
I am really looking to push the envelope this year and integrate as much exploratory pedagogy as possible to my teaching. I feel that I was a bit lazy at times last year and although doing many big activities with my junior classes, I was often weighed down by content in my senior classes rather than looking at how they may also benefit from these activities. That said I have reworked my Intro activities for the first couple of weeks at school to include a lot more exploration/guerrilla type activities. For those able to make some time I really recommend that you watch this video clip below about exploration. It is 43 minutes long but contains so many simple ideas of how to integrate exploration into your teaching:
I will try and post some of my specific plans over the next few days as I finalise the activities. And of course in my plans for the start of the year is the next Guerrilla Geography Day on February 7th based upon Gender Inequality. More info will be up on the website soon (http://guerrillageographyday.com/) including some suggestions of how you could join in.
I thoroughly enjoy reading journal articles and seeing what great work is taking place (all the while looking for gems that I could use). Now that I have finished studying at University my access has diminished but there are still a few that I keep reading:
- Geography & Teaching Geography (costs involved and must join the GA but well worth it!)
- Complicity a free journal about complexity and education
- Children, Youth and Environments a free journal that often has very interesting articles from all around the world about children and their environments.
My aim this year is not just to read these articles but also submit an article for publication based upon some of the research I have undertaken in the last couple of years.
I am also working with Mark Osborne on bringing a new journal to life. Ako is a Creative Commons journal of teacher research into effective practice in schools. For more info click here or contact me at email@example.com.
I emailed the Ministry of Education saying that there was lots of research to show that teachers who reflect critically on their practice improve learning a lot more than many other initiatives. I pointed out that it was very difficult if teachers like us don’t have access to academic journal databases. Within 2 days I had access to the Minedu ones which am using all the time. You should contact the chief librarian at MOE in Wellington. The hilarious thing is that they will probably tell you not to tell anyone else in case they get a whole lot of teachers wanting the same thing. Imagine how inconvenient it would be if teachers across the country all started wanting to theorize their practice!! Poor MOE 😦