i-Biology | Reflections

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How Twitter shook my confidence as a teacher (and why that’s a good thing)

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I’ve been a Twitter user for about a year and a half. That’s late to the party, I know, but at first I was skeptical. It seemed a time-suck and a frivolity: what could be worth saying in 140 characters? Then I got on board and it was a bit of fun. I shared some resources, using it in much the same way as my i-Biology Facebook page (pretty one-way). I followed a few people, learned some things about science, picked up some nice little tech ideas. But…

…as the list of people I follow grew, as I cultivated my lists and as I developed my own online PLN, the one thing I really learned was that ignorance is bliss

Thats an interesting article. I’ll use that in class. 

There’s a cool tech tool. Maybe I can adapt that for class. 

I like that assessment idea. I wonder if that would work in my class? 

That’s a great way to give feedback. I totally need to try that in class. 

That school has an interesting approach to curriculum. Would that work in my class? 

Wow, that’s a really effective way to teach. I should incorporate that into my class. 

That’s really different to the way I’ve always done things. My way looks wrong now. What does the evidence say? OMG, what have I been doing? How can I really improve the learning in my class? 

………o0O0o………

With the stream of Twitter inspirations pumping ideas into my brain I realised that I had a lot left to learn about effective education. It is exciting, but it is exhausting and at times I feel like the Red Queen: the running to keep up never ends. I hold myself to high standards, and seeing that there are better, more effective ways to facilitate learning makes it hard to be satisfied with my practices.

I have learned that although I may have started out as a confident pseudoteacher, or a ‘good teacher‘ by Grant Wiggins’ definition, I had and will always have some way to go to be a ‘great’ teacher. I’m not the ‘cool young teacher’ any more! After almost ten years in education, this powerful and personalised professional development has been the kick up the bum I needed to keep moving forward and to stay excited about our craft.

So yes, Twitter has shaken my confidence, but it is also making me a stronger teacher – and I think that’s just fine.

……….00O0o………

Some inspirations, and real challenges to my thinking and teaching: 

  • Modeling instruction ideas, from Frank Noschese (@fnoschese) and Gary Abud (@MR_ABUD)
  • The Big Thinkers on curriculum, differentiation, homework, assessment and more
  • The endless stream of awesome ideas for tech integration (and being able to remotely keep up with tweets from conferences)

There is a lot to learn out there, and it is a great tool to develop PD. But it is probably a hard sell to tell teachers that it will make their lives harder!

……….o0O0o……….

Thanks to Liz Durkin (@LizDK)  for the discussions in Digital Bytes today and helping form the inspiration for this post! 

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Author: Stephen

MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher, HOD Science & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Japan. Moderator of #MYPChat (@IBiologyStephen). Author of i-Biology.net. MA International Education student, through the University of Bath. Married dad of two cross-culture kids (Indonesian & British).

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