What makes some teachers take the time to grow?

One of the strands of the K12 Online Conference this year is Kicking it Up a Notch. Vicki Davis from the USA and Julie Lindsay from Qatar delivered a superb keynote presentation. It took me almost an entire day to get through, due to typical weekend interruptions, but I returned every time.

Please find my notes below from the presentation as I was watching and listening to the video , then scroll down further to find out what makes some teachers take the time to grow?

Time to Grow
Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay

We are building bridges that students of tomorrow will walk across.

Food for Thought

  1. Why do we ban tools in schools?
    1. Let’s not “punish” the tool, but deal with the bad behavior that uses the tool
  2. Connecting yourself to a PLN (Personal Learning Network)
  3. The role of digital citizenship in schools
  4. Digital Pedagogy
    1. Communication
    2. Collaboration
    3. Content Creation
    4. Student Leadership
  5. Being a DigiTeacher
    1. Research Technology and connect yourself
    2. Monitor and be engaged
    3. Avoid the Fear Factor- Make a Difference
  6. The role of educational networks at school
  7. Changing role of outside experts in schools
  8. Changing role of peer review in schools
  9. Improving collaborative creativity in school
    1. Students with different learning styles
    2. Students have a “whole” brain, not half a brain (ref. to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind)
    3. Students want to create, connect, invent. Our future is designing “If we have our kids just memorizing, we are missing the point”!!!!
    4. Ex. Kids teaching Kids Model: Mathtrain Project: Empowering Students Through Screencasting.
  10. New tools on the Horizon
    1. Professional Development becomes embedded it what we do
  11. Research that is relevant
  12. Making IT work

Time to Think

  1. Finding the time to grow-
    1. Small steps with small chunks of time to get you moving forward, stopping to rest, looking back on what you have achieved.
    2. 10 minutes a day to start

Encouragement

  • Persist and laugh sometime

Mentorship

  • Build your circle of wise

Goal Setting

So going back to asking myself “Why do some teachers take the time to grow while others are content or don’t see the reason behind changing?” spins off immediately many other questions:

  • What traits does a teacher have, that seems to “get it”?
  • Why are some teachers starting to embrace technology integration in their classrooms while others still cannot seem to “get off the ground”?
  • Why does one lesson, planned together with all teachers of a grade level, work like magic with one class while another completely flops leaving students uninterested or with nothing to take away?
  • Why do some teachers still think that asking their students to type up a paragraph in Word means “technology integration”, while others allow their students to learn to express themselves and communicate in many different media?

What struck a cord with me while listening to Vicki and Julie’s presentation?

Monitor and be engaged as a professional and learner yourself!

As a professional and a learner yourself, you can’t afford to be stagnant. Monitor what is happening in the educational arena:

  • read journals
  • attend conferences
  • participate in social network places geared towards educators
  • listen to podcasts
  • participate in the conversation by reading and commenting on blogs
  • listen in on micro conversation on Twitter

Be engaged and get involved by not letting the action pass you by:

  • start your own blog
  • get a twitter account
  • connect yourself with colleagues from around the world
  • collaborate with other teachers
  • share and mentor in your own building, community, state

Monitor and be engaged with your students!

In my opinion, students will only be as engaged and as enthusiastic as their teacher is. When the teacher spreads a feeling: “I don’t have time for this” , “Let’s get this over with” or “I don’t really get this”, their class picks up on these vibes.

If the teacher is not engaged and invested in the lesson, the students won’t be either. If a teacher goes through the motion of asking students to comment on a class blog, but does not monitor their responses, what kind of learning took place?

What makes a teacher take the time to grow? What do you think? Please share.