“The reflective practitioner assumes a dual stance, being, on one hand, the actor in a drama and , on the other hand, the critic who sits in the audience watching and analyzing the entire performance.” (Osterman, Kottkamp, 1993). Unfortunately playing the dual roles is not effortless, it requires understanding of our own behaviour, we need to acquire a conscious awareness of our actions and effects. Does that require help and nurture from the ‘ideas’ or ‘theories-in- use’ that shape our actions and strategies? That’s where the role of Professional Development comes in.
In my opinion, ‘Theories-in-use’ is the most misunderstood and abhorred part among the teaching community members- teachers (at least a great segment) believe ‘Theories in use’ is ‘detached’, non-essential, irksome, especially in the precinct of the staff room . We rather talk about ‘other’ things to release stress, tension of our ‘daily struggle’ and we maintain the status quo of ‘deficit theorising’. But there are hopes, like the hopes of the messages MindLab brought in, at least with me. The Mindlab taught me how to be a true ‘inquiry based teacher’, so that when ‘I find myself in times of trouble’, I am surrounded by thoughts of the ‘Giants’ in educational field who guide me -out of my anxieties.
Mindlab, for the first time, clearly showed me what we mean by ‘collaborative’ environment which is rudimentary in true pedagogical journey. I am still a novice, but at least, I have begun the journey. Now I am more collaborative with my colleagues, students/learners, whanau.
Mindlab equipped me with the new zeal to try/fail and succeed with a 21st Century tool called technology. It revived my enthusiasm to mix and match the three fields to integrate-pedagogy , content and technology (TPACK). SMAR is more meaningful after I went through the learning and trials in the MIndlab. Before going to the Mindlab classes, I barely understood the perspectives of the Primary School teachers, but now I am better informed about their practice and I have learnt to admire them for their great innovations they do in teaching younger children.
I don’t think I will ever forget how Dr David Parsons introduced the maker movement trend, how relentlessly Milla Inkila persuaded us to use interactive forum like ‘Kahoot’. All the instructors and tutors deserve ‘great applause’. How can I conclude my blog without mentioning Frances Valentine who came from the Media Design School and ‘dreamt’ and succeeded in making the digital technology more adaptable, more comprehensible and more meaningful even to a ‘Dinosaurus’ teacher like me. In the Mindalab, I have learned how to ‘ponder’, and my ultimate take from the Mindlab is, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning”. Also a reminder to the self, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving” (Albert Einstein).
Reflective Practice for EducatorsProfessional Development to Improve Student Learning