This phrase came up time and again during the discussions I was part of at the Pedagoo TeachMeet and it’s the phrase that best sums up the experience for me – most importantly because the day reinforced strongly for me how I learn and, in my opinion at least, how we as profession should be learning to learn. Give me a one off twilight course or in-service input and I’ll engage at the time but it’s hit and miss as to whether I’ll manage to draw the great ideas into my classroom or if they’ll just stay filed in my CPD folder for a less busy time. Give me some educational research or reading and I’ll be challenged and inspired, understanding what I could do better but at the same time I’ll often feel overwhelmed by how to get the great ideas off the page and into practice by myself. Give me a group of other teachers sharing what’s happening in their own classrooms and enthusiastically opening up the floor for others to discuss, share experiences and work out what it could all mean for them and I feel energised and determined to improve and develop my teaching.
This is not to say that I (or others) don’t learn from one off courses or professional reading or indeed to argue that we don’t need them. Both have been important in introducing me to AiFL strategies, the growth mindset, co-operative learning…so many ideas which make me excited to be a teacher. However, just as we aspire for our learners to be able to collaborate, share, root new concepts in their own experiences and prior understanding and be able to take ownership of their learning, I think we as teachers need to make sure that we do the same. My time at the Pedagoo TeachMeet allowed me to bring my own teaching experiences and ideas to the day, link them into the work being done in other classrooms and engage critically in discussions with other teachers to work out how I can change what I’m doing for the better.
Best of all I left a day of interesting, challenging, inspiring conversations confident that through #pedagoofriday, the pedagoo blog, the online community of teachers I’m tentatively joining and hopefully plenty more teachmeets to come, these conversations will continue. After Saturday I’m confident that I’ll be able to keep learning from my peers, keep learning by taking risks and keep learning new ways to get my learners learning.
So, when we were asked in our final session to identify what we’d be able to use from this day on Monday my first answer was to talk more to the people I teach with everyday about their learning and teaching so that I can keep learning from what’s happening in other people’s classrooms in my own school. I’m also going to be changing my S3’s upcoming end of unit homework task thanks to Neil Winton’s workshop, drawing on more resources and ideas to encourage a growth mindset in my learners thanks to Jenni Ewan and, in the longer term, trying out SOLO taxonomy as a way to help my young people how to progress their learning thanks to Lisa Jane Ashes’s clear explanation of how it all works. The content of the day was fabulous but it was the process that mattered most to me.
I want my department and my school (and maybe even my local authority) to learn from Pedagoo. I truly believe that we teachers, as learners, need to learn through dialogue, sharing and collaboration and Pedagoo is making this happen – in style.