🎼“Daisy, daisy,, give me your answer do…..”🎼
If you know your 2001:A Space Odyssey you will recognise that line from where HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) starts to power down….his time is over…..
….it’s over. But is it really?
One of the most interesting (read ‘annoying’) things I do with my students is asking them to tell me what the text they are reading/viewing is about. Then when they have finished their spiel, I ask them, “Ok, but what is it REALLY about?” This exasperates them, and the eye-rolling is on-point, but their responses are always very different to the plot summary they just spouted.
It’s the same for this course.
I can tell my colleagues what Mindlab was about week by week, but then when I think “what was that all REALLY about?”, it’s a different story…..it’s been about becoming a reflective teacher. It’s been challenging, it’s been a huge drain on my time, it’s been collaborative, and it’s been eye-opening.
Just like HAL in Space Odyssey, I feel as if I have become self-aware of my own teaching, and now I say (internally – otherwise it would just be weird) when I’m heading back to the safety of the traditional classroom lesson, “I’m sorry, [Greg]. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
To paraphrase HAL a bit more, “I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.” Mindlab has shifted my thinking. It’s forced me to look at my classroom, my practice, at all aspects of the profession I thought I knew inside and out. It’s been humbling, but it’s provided a flame and rekindled enthusiasm for new ways of looking at issues.
I’ve collaborated with colleagues from different schools, different disciplines, and different learning levels. I’ve ticked the PTC boxes on my yearly appraisal process with a real sense of purpose, not just racing around at the last moment trying to collect evidence. It’s been a worthwhile activity.
So where to from here? Unitec offers a “Masters in Applied Practice”, and I wonder how many people from this intake are actively considering that? I enjoyed the little video by Dr Hayo Reinders, (who I initially misread as Hay ho Reindeers), and I thought the bottle of Glenfidditch was a nice touch.
Another option for me is to get more involved in some innovative changes at my school and use the skills learned on the Mindlab course to help make those changes well-informed, and guided by best research.
To sign out of this journey I leave you with the hopeful commitment that HAL gave us: “I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California: Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.
Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001).Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.