“An adventure into uncharted waters”

This blog post has been coming along very well in my head for the last week. I have finally had a chance and some peace and quiet to actually get it out of my head, similar to Professor Dumbledore’s pensieve, so I can share it – see what you make of it.

twitterI read a tweet the other day that someone had woken up on Monday morning after the #aussieED chat on Sunday night still thinking about the topic of BLOGGING. I have to say it was a fabulous chat and so fast-moving I could hardly keep a handle on it and I have to admit that I too, woke up Monday morning and Tuesday and even this morning thinking about it. Why do I blog? Well, it’s pretty clear on my twitter handle that I blog to think out loud, to learn and to communicate. This is absolutely true but I also blog to write. I love to write, I love to read, which makes me want to write – although I also love to cook. In fact, I’ve said it before on this very blog and elsewhere that I cook when I’m procrastinating – funny that – even my family knows I do it so when they see five different meals happening at the same time or embellishment of dinner with dessert, cakes etc then they really know I’m avoiding work. That is, ‘other’ work like writing, doing research, preparing presentation for my workshops etc. When I was working full-time in schools everyone knew when it was reporting time – lots and lots of food to eat – even my brother, married with kids, knew he could get stuff to eat anytime during June or November! Oh, and one last thing, I also like to blog to escape from academic writing  – it’s so much easier because I don’t have to keep re-visiting every sentence to make sure I referenced correctly, nor do I have to read 20 journal articles and 3-4 books before actually constructing a piece of writing!

Only today I sent off my second musing to my supervisors. I just thought that instead of hitting the journal articles and books again I could take time out to, well, just write. After all it’s going to take them a while to get back to me I’m sure, or at least I hope it does because I sent off 2700 words! I’m very proud of that effort I have to say, especially with all these other distractions around me.

Once sent and before beginning this blog I went searching for a couple of ideas and follow ups I had noted of over the last week. One of the things on my list was actually next week’s #aussieED topic: teach like a pirate. That’s when I discovered Dave Burgess‘s video on you tube. It was terrific and I recommend it –  so if you’ve got 16 minutes AFTER you finish reading this – take a look. triple Venn

There were two main ideas I picked up from the video, aside from the fact that it was very engaging and the maths he does, well that blew my mind…you can see for yourself in a minute. One of the points that I am going to share with anyone who’ll listen was his idea of linking teaching to a triple Venn Diagram (see my interpretation right). Burgess says that teaching without content, well that is totally unacceptable not to mention how you wouldn’t have a job if you didn’t, that aside, he claims that without the content you would just be a babysitter, really. Techniques and methods are next, these are what you pick up on PD, at uni and even reading blogs like this one! But, the most important part of this triple Venn is the presentation circle. How will you present the class so that students will want to learn, will engage fully and will be itching to get to every session? For me, it reminds me of the 3 Ps in Differentiation, well one of the Ps anyway – how are you going to teach it? Burgess explains in the video that this circle needs a lot more attention, that there needs to be a lot more ‘talk’ about the presentation aspects of teaching, I’m with you on that one Dave!

It is, in actual fact, the place that encompasses the other two circles – you’ve got the knowledge now how to get them to understand, to do, to see, to feel, to hear and to think. Burgess explains that one of the ways to go about preparing yourself for the class is to ask questions. He himself then goes into this fast paced monologue where he gives examples of the types of questions he asks participants in his workshops – you might have to run that part of the video slower – I had to! What’s important though is that you ask questions. Burgess gives credit to Mr. Matera here who asks his students to give him five words that best describe the lesson as a way to evaluate how he went. Burgess then flips this idea and suggests that we each begin the planning of the presentation by writing down 5 words you would like your students to use to describe your class, then simply look at your lesson and ask yourself; “Would my students say those words based on this?” The rest is up to you. This becomes the reality of your lesson and this is what is meant by teach like a pirate – to go out into uncharted waters, to take the risk, to venture out into the unknown. And so my questions to you are… Do you teach like a pirate? Are you a passionate educator? Share your story below.

BTW, if you have a twitter account please join us Sunday night for the #aussieED chat – free PD – fast paced and totally engaging! Now you can watch the video.#assieED chat

Thanks for reading 🙂