As the door closes on 2014, it is time to take a look back at the year that I have had to reflect, learn and move forward. This year I want to use this blog post to reflect on my learning year and to do this I am going to use the fantastic work of Professor Guy Claxton and his Building Learning Power framework to assist. I first came across Claxton’s work when I worked at my previous school. Classes were multi-age, all students were on personal learning plans and learning how to learn was an integral part of making this work. What resonated with me about Claxton’s work was the marrying of learning “how to learn” with practical applications for any education setting. I also really liked that he had developed frameworks for learning AND for teaching. Learning how to learn is in my mind the heart of personalized learning. The learning framework is broken up into the four R’s; resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and resourcefulness. I am going to reflect on my learning year using these four areas as my guiding questions.
Resilience (the emotional aspects of learning)
Claxton lists the following capacities as the key elements of resilience; absorption, managing distractions, noticing and perseverance. In terms of resilience this year, I think back to a conversation with my good friend Scott Duncan (@sduncan0101) at last year’s end of the year #Beerpedagogy where I told him that I was going to challenge myself as much as possible in 2014. I presented at my first TeachMeet at the pub in Carlton and then again at the EduTech TeachMeet. I also have had the privilege of writing posts for the Learn-E-nabling blog with Nick Jackson, Matt Esterman, Ian Guest and Urvi Shah. I presented my first whole day workshop for Ivanhoe Professional Learning on transformative learning using technology as well as presenting with Aaron Davis (@mrkrndvs) at the inaugural DLTV conference. I was promoted in May from eLearning Coordinator to the Director of ICT and eLearning and this challenged me beyond belief. Moving out of the classroom and into a greater leadership/management role has stretched me more than I could have ever imagined. I have learnt so much about the back end infrastructure and architecture of the systems that power our schools but for a while there I have to say I was just swimming in jargon. I work with an amazing team (thank you guys) with my role being to provide the education lense and perspective to the team and vision. I have always been someone who listens and notices, it has allowed me to connect with learners who push teachers away and this strength has saved me over the past year. Managing distractions has been the hardest element of resilience that I have had to work on. There are so many elements to my new role and I have had to work on strategies to handle these. Blocking time in my calendar for emails/organization, using Trello or Evernote to assist with digital organization and effective delegating are some of the ways that I have worked to handle this. Throwing the following personal elements into the mix (my son was born, we sold our house and we bought a house) and I think that I have demonstrated a high level of resilience in my learning this year.
Resourcefulness (the cognitive aspects of learning)
The capacities of resourcefulness are questioning, making links, imagining, reasoning and capitalizing. Due to the time constraints of a heavy work/personal load, I have definitely worked on my capacity to capitalize on learning at any opportunity. Twitter, Google+ and podcasts continue to keep me connected and inspire my learning. I also started to capitalize on my journey to work by listening to audiobooks . That being said, I have to say that the volume of learning required this year meant (in my opinion) shallower learning in a few areas. I felt that I did enough to get by but this wasn’t by choice, but by necessity. I look forward to 2015 being the year of depth and consolidation.
Reflectiveness (the strategic aspects of learning)
Claxton lists planning, revising, distilling and meta-learning as the capacities of reflectiveness. With my new role, planning is an integral part and I love this part. Marrying big picture vision with change management is a passion of mine and I am so thankful that I get to do this as a job. The challenge has been creating the environment for this to happen. A clear headspace is needed and mine has often been too crowded!! Running always helps and I have been working on infusing more mindfulness techniques into my daily routine to combat this. I know myself as a learner and I have really leant on this during tough times this year. In terms of revising, my priorities have and will always be at home with my little guy (and beautiful 3 year old baby girl) but I am continuing to work on being in the moment. In a world with ubiquitous technology, turning off (especially when the pressure is on) was and will continue to be a challenge.
Reciprocity (the social aspects of learning)
Interdependence, collaboration, empathy and listening and imitation are listed as the key capacities of reciprocity. Collaborating with Aaron Davis on our session at DLTV titled “Listening to the Voices in and out of classroom” was a huge learning element in my 2014 year. Aaron and I only knew each other through Twitter and our meeting at the TeachMeet (in the pub of course) at the start of the year led to months of online collaboration, discussion and learning. Collaboration is all about the end product; action and Aaron and I worked long and hard to build a cohesive story to share and action at the DLTV conference. Aaron’s reflection found here is further proof that teacher/learners need to reach out more and connect….thank you Aaron! I have always believed that we are where we are because we stand on the shoulders of giants. I have had great mentorship this year and through many conversations have grown as a lead learner as a result.
I am proud that I have continued to challenge my learning in 2014. I look forward to a year of consolidation, growth and reconnection in 2015. Thanks for reading and I look forward to continuing the conversation.