On FriedEnglish

A fantastic colleague of mine, Tricia, is leaving our school community. Fortunately, because of the wonders of the social media age, though physically she’s going far (Singapore), she’ll only ever be a few taps of the keyboard away. And, I’ve no doubt, she’ll be ever present on my Twitter feed. Until Twitter is no longer cool, that is.

This post is a little ode to Tricia. Except, it’s not really my words that are important, but the sentiments of those who she spends most time with on a daily basis – her students. Her IB class spontaneously, and secretly, created a goodbye video for her (how many teachers inspire that?!) and I wanted to share it with you all.

So, Tricia, surprise – here it is and enjoy!

The students also wrote her a letter, also spontaneously. I think a word cloud of the students’ thoughts is revealing:

wordcloud(1).png

The fact that ‘meaning’, ‘love’, ‘life’ come up so much is a testament to the qualities that both her students and her colleagues most appreciate.

So, a challenge to you reading this.

Whether you are one of Tricia’s students, or a fellow teacher, send her a tweet to @friedenglish101 with the hashtag #eaglememories capturing a favourite moment, what you will miss, or ways in which she has positively impacted your life.

Personally, I can credit Tricia with the following:

  • Complex webs of hyperlinks to challenge the Matrix.
  • Google slides.
  • Kahoot (a blessing and a curse).
  • This blog.
  • Tweeting, occasionally.
  • A daily challenge to make my teaching ceaselessly relevant.
  • Campfire conversations.

Thanks Tricia! Let’s meet again in the blogosphere.

 

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On What If…

What if we acted out our belief that learning should be lifelong and that skills and concepts outlast knowledge?

The Backstory

My school uses a number of curriculum frameworks – the Middle Years Programme, the Diploma Programme, Advanced Placements and our own homegrown curriculum. One way of unifying the potentially disparate approaches is to focus on key attributes of curriculum that transcend them all. Our departmental team picked three:

AUTHENTIC – ESSENTIAL – LEARNING TO LEARN

Curriculum vision
Image of ‘Atlantis Shuttle Launchh 1988’ / NASA / Public Domain

Authentic stresses the relentless need to provide freshness and relevance. Essential captures the importance of meeting the needs of our students, whether those are the inevitable ‘exam ready’ skills, or crucial ‘future ready‘ skills. Learning to learn functions as a foundational concept, highlighting the need to develop lifelong skills in our students.

It’s this last aspect that my team has been playing with recently, re-envisioning the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills as a hexagon of future ready skills, accompanied by guiding questions, and designed for specific courses. Though you should certainly build learning experiences to develop more than six ATL skills in a year, when confronted with the question, ‘Which are the most important skills for a student in my class?’ the most authentic and essential aspects of the vision emerge:

Example ATL Hexagon
Which are the most important ‘future ready’ skills for students in my class?

But, what if we went further?

What if…

Every student identified, and reflected, on the six ATL skills they felt they needed to develop that year?

 

Every teacher identified, and shared with students, the six ATLs with which they were engaging?

 

Every teacher posts the six ATLs on their classroom door, with this note: ‘Dear colleagues, if you can spare the time, please come in and help me with my journey

 

These six skills became the focus of teacher reflection in their professional discussions, both digital and analogue?

Would we then be closer to acting out our belief that learning should be lifelong – that learning to learn is the most future ready skill of all?

At the very least, we might be just that little bit closer to curricular lift off.

Teacher ATL Hexagon vPB (1)Thoughts?