Redesigning the Wheel – A #CEOelearn Reflection

There’s been a question posed to us at the #ceoelearn day with George Couros about whether we reflect on our teaching practice and then blog about it. There weren’t all that many saying that they blog about it – which isn’t surprising, considering the busy nature of our weeks and the time vacuum that terms can be for high school teachers.  Apparently I can even align it with AITSL standards. So here I am, writing a blog post.

I have found over the many years that I teach that I never like to teach the same way each year. Teaching the same material in the same way. That’s partially because I’m easily bored with myself if I repeat what I have done in the time.  If I get bored, then clearly the students will be. Why wouldn’t they be.  So, I changed things up, year after year. Change related texts, pushed for change in the assessment tasks, set informal tasks that change.  This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m ignoring programs and outcomes. I do follow the program in so far as I recognise what areas need to be covered and which outcomes apply to the unit that need to be covered. However, I take that program as a starting point for the flight I will take that lesson – not as the anchor.  Essentially, I do what a number of teachers I know have labelled “reinventing the wheel” when they don’t want to change what they do. 

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What I have found, having done this, is that I can really tailor learning activities to the class in front of me. I can notice the different ways each group learns, how they different from previous years, how they differ from each other. I can more easily adapt to changes in society, in perception, in available materials and texts with my method. I can place at the centre of my teaching building relationships and student feedback, because it is that which shapes the way I am teaching the module this time around. 

I know this method isn’t for everyone. There are teachers who like sticking to the same textbook, the same teaching program to the letter from year to year. They like the safety and security of what has gone before.  But that is how I teach and students seem to like it.  For me, it’s got some kind of relationship with idea that successful teaching and building relationship is something like this:

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