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Changes in practice

If, as Osterman and Kottkamp (1993) explain ¨learning is most effective, more likely to lead to behavioural change, when it beginnings with experience¨, the last 32 weeks must have been the most effective learning I had in years! Situated cognition argues that learning is a social, active, collaborative and in a relevant context. The MindLab offered me the opportunity to do exactly that: involve myself in “hands on” projects, surrounded by likeminded education professionals persuing similar goals.

However, although the experience was the starting point of my learning process, it was the required reflection on my practice and context what validated it. Koib (as cited by Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993) argues that the experiential learning cycle involves 4 stages: experience; observation and analysis; reconceptualisation and experimentation, focused not on knowledge acquisition, but in behavioural change (and improvements to performance).

The last 32 week have kickstarted both an experimental and a reflective process in which I now regularly scrutinise my practice and “develop a greater sense of self-awareness about the nature and impact of [my] performance”, creating opportunities for professional development and improvement.

21st Century Learning, Collaboration and Interdisciplinary approach have been the topics that resonated the most with me (and the ones that highlighted the most the weaknesses in my practice). But it was rediscovering research, and feeling able to try, fail, critique, retry and evaluate what gave me the confidence in my own ability to change.

If I have to choose two areas where my practice was influenced the most in relation to the Practicing Teacher Criteria, they would be:
Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to promoting to ongoing professional learning and development of personal professional practice, particularly iii (initiate learning opportunities to advance personal professional knowledge and skills). The MindLab ha given me the tools and confidence to transform my research informed practice into a collaborative, lifelong process as well as retuning my radar for innovation in my area.

Criteria 10: Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand. ii specifically and effectively address the educational aspirations of akonga Maori, displaying high expectations for their learning. Taking into account the bicultural context teaching and learning in New Zealand had always been a challenge for me. I used to think that teaching MFL didn’t naturally offered opportunities to do so, and I lacked understanding of Kaupapa Maori. The MindLab have also started this quest of cultural discovery, and maybe because of that I am tonight writing this blog from Te Rawhiti Marae.  

My dream for the future is to continue this journey, both by keep questioning my practice and by further pursuing this intelectual quest to the next level. The MindLab has reignted my passion for teaching, for excellece, for change. I want, more than ever, to become an active member of my communities and lead that shift in education that we so desperately need in order to face the future.

References

Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.

Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/

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