I have been teaching and consulting - from primary school through adult education - since 1996. Currently an education consultant with la Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles in Montreal, Quebec, I believe that sharing our stories is the key to getting better together.
I am writing this blog post during a visit to Colleen Glover’s classroom with a team of teachers and consultants from the ETSB, NFSB, PROCEDE, and the RECIT. (this post was originally written on June 9, 2017)
Colleen is a Math and Science teacher at the Nova Career Centre of the New Frontiers School Board. Her classrooms are always multi-level and sometimes multi-subject as well.
With our new programs and the shift towards the use of learning situations for the development of competencies, teachers are questioning just how they are going to manage this when they teach multi-level and multi-subject groups using an individualized approach.
Well, Colleen manages her groups in a way that is not only possible but positively supports the philosophy of our new programs.
So, we organized a visit to her classroom so that teachers from the ETSB could see how she manages her individualized classes.
What a rich experience! I was inspired by watching the class unfold and seeing how Colleen organizes student learning within the context of different courses – including labs! Her individualized classroom is truly a community of learners. Students support each other in their learning. A group of students in one science course were creating solutions for a small group in another science course for their lab activity.
I particularly liked the celebration wall, where Colleen showcases copies of the acceptance letters her students receive from CEGEPs and universities!
The result of this day will be a video to share with the rest of the province because teachers have been asking for these kinds of resources so they can take a peek into the classrooms of their peers as we transition into teaching with our new programs.
While you are waiting for the video – I invite you to listen to the latest podcast, which is a conversation that took place after the visit, about the unique student/teacher relationship in Adult Education.
We are not alone and when we realize this, anything is possible!
Thank you, Colleen, for inviting us into your classroom!
Short answer: Yes.
but let me elaborate.
Ever since a group of teachers told me that the professional development I had just done to them flopped big time, my direction has shifted.
(note the ‘to them’, that was intentional)
I was showing them something a group of consultants had made for them in order to encourage them to do things differently in their classrooms. Their response was…meh. They asked – why should we use this thing? We can already find all of that by ourselves, on the Internet. What they really wanted to see, they told me, was concrete examples of teachers in Adult Education, in Quebec, doing things differently in their classrooms.
I felt horrible – I had wasted their time, I had forgotten to ask what they needed before going in. Luckily, they let me know 😉
So, for the past 2 years that has been my mission. Avi Spector and I have created videos of teachers doing things differently in their classrooms. We use these videos in professional development, we share them on PDMosaic and on Twitter and YouTube. We see changes happening – the teachers we have highlighted are starting to offer professional development sessions themselves. They are influencing other teachers and their own practices are evolving as a result of it. When teachers work together, magic happens. And it is so good!
This year, I’m experiencing another shift. I am still seeking out stories of risk-taking, innovation, and success. I am also having more people ask me for help in sharing their stories – as in, they want to learn how to make their own videos. Especially when they hear that I use… wait for it… PowerPoint to make my teacher story videos. Now, PowerPoint is not the fanciest of video creation tools by far but what I love about it is that just about every educator in the Quebec school system has access to it on their classroom computer.
I always say that the biggest objective I have is to make myself obsolete and this shift I described above is playing into that. This year, as I collect teacher stories, I am working more in collaboration with the story tellers: consultants are starting to take video footage, teachers are starting to record themselves and collect creative commons images that are legal to use in videos – for some teachers, they are getting closer to not needing me at all in the creation process! (bittersweet – I do love this collaborative process…)
While all of this was unfolding, the Service National of the RECIT, of which I am a member, has been looking at developing a platform for self-directed learning of teachers (l’autoformation en français). From the start, I was not interested in this platform. A lot of my energy goes to PD Mosaic, a different kind of space for online professional learning. As the year progressed and as more people were asking for help in making video, I decided to develop a course about making video capsules using PowerPoint. The course also deals with how to choose videos for your classroom and how to structure the viewing of the videos to maximise their impact on learning. The platform is currently in a testing phase and the course, along with the courses made by other members of the Service National, should be available to everyone by the beginning of the next school year. Here is a teaser video I created as part of the introduction to the course. (And yes, it was made with PowerPoint!)
I can’t wait to walk into a conversation or presentation about digital citizenship that does not include the words risk and dangers or even ‘pornification’ (for real, just saw that one at a conference the other day).
A few months ago, I saw this on my twitter feed:
— QAIS (@QAIStweets) December 27, 2016
Interactive white boards have been a hot topic in Quebec ever since the government promised one in every classroom back in 2011. The promise was long critiqued for not being well thought out and the fallout today is that many classrooms in Quebec DO have an interactive white board at the front of the room but… well… how are they being used?
Sandra, Johanne, and Kaçandre’s workshop is continuing to inspire the work I do. I began by creating this video that focuses on how Hattie’s #1 indicator – Teacher estimates of achievement – is embodied in our classrooms in Quebec. It addresses how technology can be used to amplify it as well.