Themes and thoughts from the third day of the International Conference on Learning (number 17!) (by the way should say that any photos in the blog posts are random and not really related to the presentations):
- Notion of leadership and ‘modelling the way’ came up again both implicitly and explicitly in a number of presentations
- An interesting take on this was two presentations that talked about how they had tried to use different techniques when teaching students to be teachers, that they hoped the students would then go onto use in their own practise. So seeing teaching and impact of teaching and learning through a slightly different lens. The presentations that looked at this was the one on persistence and the one on mobility. It was interesting that these sessions were talking about teacher education for school teachers but they were much more explicit than I have heard most academic/educational developers be about being aware of demonstrating techniques for their students to use. I like this as it relates back to my points from the day before about leadership and modelling, as well as what I have discussed with the team on how we should be exemplary in our activities so we can inspire other staff through doing. This is particularly important with our taught programmes and more formal professional development sessions with staff. How can we expect staff to undertake more innovative assessments with their students if all the assessments we set are 3,000 word essays? Or how can we talk to staff about feedback if we give poor quality feedback ourselves? I am not saying we do either of these things but they are examples of how we really do need to set a very high standard in relation to our delivery. If we see ourselves as leaders and educational experts that we need to demonstrate that in very high quality delivery and demonstrate our expertise through our actions. I am banging on about this here but this conference has really highlighted to me how important this is
- Generally the issue of modelling has been highlighted in a really positive way through some interesting and thought provoking presentations, however, sadly it has also been highlighted in some pretty dire presentations in terms of poor slides and modes of delivery. It still shocks me that at an education conference where the presenters are generally usually teachers you see people reading from their slides, not spending any time preparing high quality slides and not really engaging the audience. There have been some great presentations but the over-reliance on powerpoint (of which I am also guilty) sadly sometimes just destroys people’s ideas and does not do their research justice. On a positive point, it has got me thinking about making sure we give support to our staff at City for the presentations at our Learning Development Conference, which are generally pretty good, but I appreciate that presenting does not always come naturally and we would not be “modelling the way” if we did not give presenters some support and tips
- Talking of which I was aware in my reflections from day two that I forgot to mention that Pam and I presented! I was pretty pleased with the way that it went, we had a good audience who asked some interesting questions and looked like they were enjoying it! It also got Pam and I thinking about how to take the LD Fellows scheme forward and some of the challenges with trying to see it as a self selecting community and apply Wenger’s Community of Practice theory to this. I’ve uploaded the presentation to slideshare (see below)
Developing a community to disseminate good practice
so you can critique it after my rant about people’s slides etc above! No prezi this time as wasn’t sure we would have the internet!