CTL 1608: Qui Docet, Discit

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He who teaches, learns.

As I was wandering the ROM gift store this weekend, a plaque jumped out: Qui Docet Discit. Ok I have to admit I have a thing for sayings, and being that my Latin is rusty the caption on the shelf helped: Qui Docet Discit-He who teaches, learns. As we have been exploring situated learning and consequently the transfer of knowledge between learning situations the last two weeks in CTL 1608, the plaque reminded me that I have had many situated learning experiences along my professional journey.

After two weeks of back and forth in the course environment I leave the conversation with an understanding that all learning is situated, influenced by the context, and that transfer can be encouraged through inquiry, deeper exploration, and time (those rich authentic tasks we always talk about). As I came to my own understanding of situated learning and the transfer of knowledge and skills one professional learning experience came to mind as what I would wish for in a situated learning experience.

It must have been the fall of 2006 or 2007 and an Additional Qualification course was being offered to explore Instructional Intelligence (based on Barrie Bennett’s work). It would be a three part series providing participants with their specialist in Primary or Junior education so I jumped at the learning opportunity. Looking back now I realize how much that year of learning together has influenced my practice as an educator, from the small instructional tactics I picked up to the understanding of the complexity of teaching. As I think back to my inquiry project on mind mapping and storytelling, I can see the transfer of knowledge from the course environment to my daily practice. Bringing that learning back to the community of adult learners allowed me to see how my transfer of knowledge and skills is not one way but rather an interconnected web that is always UNDER CONSTRUCTION. The greatest gift of the course though was the gift of time. The opportunity to explore, question and engage with people I knew personally and trusted. Most of all though, I don’t think I understood how much I learned from this experience till I facilitated AQs myself. That act of facilitating an adult learning experience allowed me to transfer my knowledge and skills in new ways.

Qui docet discit: As educators it is hard not to learn from the many situations we are immersed in daily. So much of my professional learning journey happened in my daily interactions with students. I taught, I learned. As I search for that ideal professional learning framework, I am reminded that perhaps the greatest learning opportunity is a great community of learners we trust, the time to engage deeply and a learning situation to test it all out in.

The Blue Sweater: Connections Unseen

I often have the privilege of beautiful scenic drives (not kidding here) between my school visits and they have become moments of reflection. Blue skies, fall leaves and top 40 hits seem to create the perfect environment for some contemplation.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 7.03.58 AMLast week after chatting with a colleague about the wonderful way an app like Word Swag can spread from one person to another I was driving along and reminded of a scene from the Devil Wears Prada. Unlikely place for an AHA moment about education but please bear with me. You can watch the scene here, but here is the messy quick summary. Anne Hathaway’s character is standing back observing the team composing outfits when what seems to be two identical coloured belts are presented. Anne Hathaway’s character snarks at the comment that they can be so different at which point Meryl Streep’s character schools her in the many connections that landed to the exact cerulean blue sweater she is wearing, naming the runway shows, designer choices and the path that lead to her department store purchase.

It made me think of education. I don’t know if we always notice the many connections alive in our schools. From the Pinterest idea that got passed along, to the great book recommendation, the youtube clip you just watched in PD or the app that a teacher got from a child. It may be an administrator that is bringing it back from a system event or a teacher that has hunted for that perfect prompt to engage her math class. Our daily actions have been influenced by the connections of our students, our colleagues, our leaders for years. They lurk behind every activity and task whether we are blissfully unaware like Anne Hathaway’s character or immersed like Meryl Streep.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 7.26.46 AMAs many this month are celebrating Connected Educators Month, I have been reading great posts about why we should connect, the woes of being too connected or the many different tools we now have available to connect. At times it can be overwhelming. It seems like we are tourists in a place where they all speak a different language. I was reminded that perhaps we need to demystify it a little. The starting lines have already been drawn for you. You are a connected educator. The question isn’t whether you will be connected or not, will you sit back like Anne Hathaway or create those connections like Meryl Streep. What lines will you draw? It doesn’t need to be high tech (although today’s tools make it so much easier), it doesn’t need to polished or grand. It may be a conversation with a colleague, a post on Instagram, or a new Twitter chat but remember you have been in this world for a long time. Time to dip in your toes a little, splash around and let the cerulean sweater be your reminder that you are already a connected educator.

P.S. I know what you are telling yourself: “But what could I share?” I ask myself the same thing all the time. A smart person once reminded me what is obvious to us may be just that spark for another. Click HERE!

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below.

CTL 1608: Patience

A reflection for my MEd Course on Constructivism and the Design of Online Learning Environments.

As we discuss social learning this week there is a concept presented last week that has had me reflecting on my own understanding.

I mentioned in my last post for the course that I found the biggest hurdle for me in implementing a truly constructivist approach was TIME. Running from task to task, meeting to meeting, I always feel like there isn’t enough time to delve deep. Madeline then brought up the concept of PATIENCE.

She shared the following quote from the article Building versus Borrowed:

 “But the most important issue, and the one that should concern all educators, is the lack of patience to build a personal understanding of the models they needed to make personal sense of complex phenomena (p.25)… Perhaps worse, they no longer had the patience to see through a problem even with the offer of time and support (p.26).”

I have been thinking ever since how my concept of time may not be complete. Am I patient enough to allow educators to construct their own understanding? Am I patient enough to construct my own instead of borrowing that of others? Yes more time would eliminate the busyness, let me focus on less expectations, provide a few less tasks to complete as quickly but patience will be the difference of jumping in too fast, of struggling through the hard concepts, of playing together.

Thank you for the reminder Madeline!