As we approach Teachmeet Scottish Learning Fringe 2012, perhaps the biggest day in Pedagoo’s reasonably short history, it is a good time to take stock and reflect on how far we’ve all come. More importantly, however, it is an even better time to consider the potential we have to grow and change. So this is not so much about what pedagoo is but what it could be.
Discussing the Scottish Curriculum with some teachers recently– and I call it that because I will not longer call it Curriculum for Excellence like it was some kind of other ‘thing’ – I am reminded of the old joke about the optimist and the pessimist. The pessimist says ‘Surely things can’t get any worse,’ and the optimist replies ‘Oh yes they can.’ You get the feeling that some people have made up their minds and will never be swayed. It would be easy to shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Oh well. What can you do?’ Well, an awful lot in my opinion.
As classrooms teachers I always think that the only powerful thing we really have is the ability to teach as best we can. We model good learning for our students and we provide the best experiences possible for them every day we are in school. However, if we truly believe that change is possible, that a new way of doing things is possible then we must step up to the plate and walk the walk. It is no longer enough to dream of change and wish things weren’t like they are now.
I don’t think any of us at Pedagoo would describe ourselves as SuperTeachers. We are not special in that regard. What we do though is provide a platform to have the conversations which you may not be having, or are able to have, in your own staff rooms. We always wanted to provide a place for those voices which may not be heard otherwise. The blog extends that voice somewhat and we hope that it will continue to develop.
Dylan Wiliam states in his book, ‘Embedded Formative Assessment’:
‘Show me a teacher who doesn’t fail every day and I’ll show you a teacher with low expectations for his/her students.’
While there may be something about that which makes us uncomfortable, he’s right of course. Our job is to have a positive impact on the learning of our students. Undoubtedly we do. But our expectations for their learning should always be just out of their reach. More importantly we all have to truly believe that. We have to believe that our students can always keep learning as much as we learn. We must speak up about the future we want and model good teaching and learning at every opportunity.
What are our expectations for, not of, ourselves? How much can we improve, develop, grow? How often do we, as educators, think of ourselves as learners too? Where I think Pedagoo is special is that it provides a place to have those debates. This Saturday is, I think, a landmark in Scottish education. Hyperbole you may say but I don’t think so. This is a group of educators who, off their own backs – or rather off the great Fearghal Kelly’s back mostly – are organising their own education event. Devoid of free pens and leaflets, corporate frippery, the big sell. We want teachers to talk about teaching and how we can make the new curriculum work for us.
If you’re there I can’t wait to say hello. If not, then please check in to Pedagoo over the next week or two for some Blog Posts which will fill you in on what happened. I’m generally ridiculously, irritatingly optimistic about what we can achieve in Scottish education if we begin to work together. And after next Saturday, I hope to be more so. Surely things can’t get any better. Oh yes they can.