We do it so we can change.
Last week we had Dr Julia Atkin work with us as a staff for three days. The focus was on curriculum development, specifically looking at designing learning through building essence statements. As with any work you do with Julia, you are challenged to think from the head and the heart.
We began the day by celebrating and sharing new learning, this quickly moved into sharing why we valued learning areas. It was interesting to notice those staff whose negative learning experiences at school had shaped their inner feelings towards certain subjects like maths. ( for more on maths read this)
Those who had a passion for a learning area then needed to sell, through a one liner, the essence of that subject to make the rest of the team want to learn that.
Over two days we worked on all the learning areas and co-constructed essence statements for them. Probably the best learning that fell out of the work was when we reflected on the essence statements and what actual practice was happening in the learning spaces.
I was in the privileged position of listening to the teams reflect on how much they were impacting on students. The change in thinking from that reflection was amazing as staff without prompting started to design learning in a different way that lived out what we value and believe about learning.
So how do I reflect on my learning? If my staff have to do this, then I should too.
I had a meeting with Julia and my leadership team. Julia led a discussion challenging the team to critique my work. It is always challenging to hear what you are not doing or doing that isn't working, but what better way to make sure you are impacting learning in a co-constructed way that allows for growth for all. I was very proud of the team as they spoke with clear examples about my practice, it again shows how special they are.
While a little battered and bruised, it also made me think carefully about how I designed the next meeting. Without trying to drive it, we started again from a reflective point of view, we reflected on 4 aspects of learning we believe in and did that against our values/immersion/dispositions/spaces. This was a powerful way to start re-designing learning for our next block. It was great to see how staff chose to reflect. Some saw it as an opportunity to re-imagine what was possible through the lens of immersion and values, while others took a more dispositional view. The results of this reflection won't be known until next meeting, however watching the learning happen this week, it has impacted already.
Reflection, it does lead to change.