Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Staff Meeting of the Year - so far!

Being a foundation teacher at a new school is an interesting process. The 'nerd' in me thrives on all the developmental 'stuff' that is happening. Out of all the staff meetings we've had this year, today's was one I enjoyed the most - and not just because it all started with a visit from Mr Whippy - although that was pretty cool! There are two reasons why today's meeting really impacted me. One was because I've been thinking a bit about collaboration in Modern Teaching Practice, and two, because it gave me a chance to reflect back on our Hermann Brain Modelling and what that means to me now.

I'm going to start with number two

The focus of today's meeting was to begin the nitty gritty development of our Capacities (Key Competencies) further. It had been decided that these were to be based around the HBDI model, in that our business is to develop 'whole' children who can reach into each of the represented quadrants (Blue - analyse, Green - organise, Red - personalise, Yellow - visualise). 

Using our own experience from primary school, we had to think about what made a teacher memorable. Interestingly, many of our memories ended up in the Red and Yellow quadrants. My theory on this would be that a child remembers emotion and experience and doesn't know about the behind-the-scenes work a teacher does. 

However, when we were asked to think about the qualities we would like a student to have by the time they left in year 8, many more started to show up on the Blue and Green quadrants. My theory here, would be that the Blue and Green quadrants are perhaps a little more skills based (but don't get me wrong, because I believe you can learn strategies to be more Red or Yellow - or any colour actually), whereas, the Red and Yellow quadrants are more emotions based and we recall emotions quite strongly. 

So where does this leave me with my thinking about my profile? I am equally Blue, Green and Yellow with a little bit less Red. I get this - and I'm a big picture thinker. I have to know the details, I have to ask the question and if I don't know, I don't understand. For me, not understanding come out as frustration (I may or may not actually show this). Interestingly, the point of frustration comes out as quite emotional for me. I can get so caught up in something, sometimes the smallest of things, but I simply cannot move on until I've done the Blue/Green thing. For some time now, my biggest challenge is how to deal with the emotional bit - the getting from frustration to problem solving. I've tried many things. Nothing works quickly enough..... yet!

All of my dominant quadrants are satisfied by a thought-provoking meeting and even more so when it perfectly balances independent thought and collaborative practice.

How's that for a segway into the next topic!

I've been thinking about collaboration as part of Modern Teaching Practice. Collaboration is defined by Google as: the action of working with someone to produce something. I'm starting to define a bit more about what I believe collaboration is. 

So far, I think there's two main types: 1) The team all work independently on something and bring it together to share with others and 2) A facilitator fosters independent thought and brings it together so everyone has equal voice. 

Both types, I believe, have their merits. Organisation of events, timetables etc. are suited well to Type 1 and are a good way to distribute workload. This type of collaboration is generally easier to manage, especially if team members have expertise in necessary areas. Type 2, seems to be a powerful tool for fostering a shared understanding of beliefs and terminology. It is more time-consuming and requires facilitation (not leading), but it is essential to get consistency amongst a team.

The 'nerd' in me, I'm sure, will continue to enjoy the process and thought behind the principles of Modern Teaching Practice, as I continue to develop my understanding of what it's all about.

Addition: July 4 2015
This interesting blog post just released by Core Education's Greg Carroll reminded me of my previous thoughts about Collaboration. It continues to be a hot topic and a very intriguing one too! I feel like there's more to come.

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