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I'm just a lifelong learner, with a snazzy blog!

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Way back in November I wrote a very brief post about why I began this course of study. In that post, I identified two main rationale for doing this: 
To expose myself to a wider range of eLearning strategies; particularly the chance to apply those skills consistently.To expose myself to more Academic theory around eLearning, and the effectiveness of it to specifically improve student achievement. Now that I am at the end of a 32 week Professional Development experience, it is time to honestly reflect on my achievements, and leanings resulting from the efforts I have put in. The first point to make is that the course has kept my interest pretty consistently. I'm pretty stoked with this, as 32 weeks is a pretty big effort, by everyone involved. 
What have I gained from Study? 
Upon reflecting on the two aims above, I think the second has been much more successful than the first. In the first digital course particularly there were times when I struggled to see the applicability of the e…

Look out everyone; the Geographers are coming!

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Really? How interdisciplinary can a Year 13 subject be? What is driving what we do? Why do we let competition for students and competition for assessment grades dictate how we structure our schools, and ultimately how we teach?

Convincing a Skeptic 
We all know that Geography is the most important subject to study. If you don't believe me read this and this as a starter. As a Year 13 Geography teacher, I initially default to a skeptical view of Interdisciplinary studies. Thoughts like "oh, that's something we could try at Y9; perhaps after exams in December when it doesn't really matter if it works" immediately permeate my mind. I wish they didn't.

Increasingly I have been reading, reflecting and talking to teachers who are fostering a far more interdisciplinary approach to their teaching. Is that something I want? What about my assessment results? In my experience, the higher level a class, the more protective a teacher becomes. I am the same, I am happy to i…

Social Media in my teaching - Analysis of a Deliberately Cautious Approach

In a previous blog I described some of the issues that I am currently perceiving when reflecting on the use of Social Media in Teaching. In this second post, I will concentrate and reflect a little more deliberately on my own use of social media, and how it helps we to gain access to information that I would potentially otherwise struggle to engage in.   
Social media has huge potential in teaching. As noted in Sharples et al article, "Where the pedagogy is successful, social media can give learners reliable and interesting content, as well as opportunities to access expert advice, to encounter challenges, to defend their views and to amend their ideas in the face of criticism". This I clearly agree with, although I think the first 5 words of that though need to be bolded, italicised, CAPITALISED, and whatever else we can do to emphasize their importance!
Limited Use in my Own Teaching
My own experience is less in using Social Media in my teaching directly, but more in social m…

(Anti)Social Media in Schools?

I would like to think that I am a relatively ethical individual. I think about ethics; and there are certain sectors in our society about whom I am happy to articulate my views regarding their ethical redundancy (property speculators, neo-liberalists, many politicians; the list goes on!)  But what about teachers?   
As noted by Hall, even in the nearly 15 years I have been teaching I have perceived a blurring of the socialization roles of families and schools. Schools, and ultimately classroom teachers, are increasing been held responsible for addressing societies ills, be they physical health, relationship based, mental health, road safety et al. With these responsibility come inevitable ethical considerations. 
The Social Media in School's Dilemma
There is one area with the profession where there is clearly blurred ethical expectations; Social Media. The explosion of social media over the last decade has led to its integration and normalisation within schools, and this is where …

From Haggis to Hangi: Cultural Responsiveness in a Proudly Scottish School

I have spent part of the week reading about Cultural Responsiveness and thinking really carefully about the relevance of these ideas for me, and my pedagogy.

Reading the interesting paper entitled "Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student" there was one phrase that really got me thinking about my own school: "Schools that reflect a dominant culture represent invisible cultures that can effectively privilege students who share that dominant cultural identity while simultaneously disadvantaging students whose cultures are different." What if the dominant culture ofyour school, is in fact not the dominant culture of its students? 

Thistles, boys in kilts, bagpipes and haggis play a massive role in the culture of our school - but is it our culture. Is there a a clear dichotomy between the traditions, dress, symbols, religion and ceremonies of the culture that the school defines as being dominant, and the traditions, dress, symbols, religion a…

Is Teaching Local a Possible Response to Globalisation?

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In last weeks' blog post I discussed the socioeconomic status of the vast majority of my College's students. This post will analyse one of the effects of this that I see in my classroom - as a discussion around the negative impact of globalisation.

Geography is a Globalised Subject Right?
As a Geography teacher, Globalisation is a concept that has always had a place in my classroom. In the past it has been a course of study at different levels, through slightly cliched studies like McDonaldisation, global studies of fashion et al. Students in my classes should be fascinated by their world and I should be able to develop this fascination and develop their critical analysis of what they see and experience. I am, in fact, seeing the opposite. Students are increasingly blase about the mindblowing variation in their world.

With Globalisation named as one of the Trends Shaping Education in 2016  it seems an appropriate for me to articulate my developing concerns about the increasi…

Responding to A Professional Context

As a teacher, it is important to have a clear understanding of the context in which you teach. The Socio-Economic context of a school's community will impact all aspects of a schools culture - in my experience in both positive and negative ways.

The Influence of Status in a School
My current school is a large, urban - and for this conversation most importantly- private Y1-13 school. It is accurate to conclude that the students I teach come from the least economically deprived conditions in NZ, and many will come from families with well above normal financial capabilities. We are obviously a decile 10 school, but in contrast to state decile 10 schools I feel that we have even less variation in economic circumstances. There are certainly some families in our community who are making huge sacrifices for their children to attend are school - but I don't feel as though that is the norm. 
The effect of this on the context of the school is profound. Resourcing levels are extremely high,…