As a high school student, I learned that in moments of unease or discomfort great learning happens. As an adult learner I have come to understand this as when we are challenged, critiqued, and taken out of our safe spaces, we learn the most about our values, assumptions, and selves. In critical reflective practice, this space is where new knowledge and understanding is developed.
Key Changes in my Practice
Criterion 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal professional practice (Te Kete Ipurangi, n.d.)
This course has encouraged me to push myself professionally, by being active in my learning and the development of my practice. This is presented in my participation in professional discussions with others in the Google + MindLab community, but also on Twitter by using #edchat. I feel now that I can confidently seek out other professionals online who are engaged with the same professional struggles as myself, to work together to find solutions.
Criterion 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice (Te Kete Ipurangi, n.d.)
Throughout this course I have been required to critically engage with evidence and professional literature, something that had not been made explicit in my previous year of teaching. The important advantage here for me was having access to a wide range of peer-reviewed articles and research that only comes with being a university student. This is something that I believe needs to change, as we are required as teachers to respond to research, but are only given very limited access to it. Another reason this is important to my practice, is that I could see how in my school we were using “data and evidence” collected within the school and departments, but missing the bigger picture by not linking them to professional literature.
My biggest struggles became my biggest achievements.
Completing my GradDip Teaching (Secondary) was when I first thought of attempting a masters degree. At the time though, I felt that I would benefit from actual teaching experience, and more life experience. This year I am PRT2 and I began my MindLab journey in March. I hadn’t considered doing more study at this point in my career, but the opportunity arose, I was encouraged by many colleagues who have gone through it, and being in a fixed term position meant it was now or never. As I had no expectations of this course, I was pleasantly surprised. My assumed strengths ended up being the parts I could still improve, and my biggest struggles became my biggest achievements – further proving my beliefs around learning. Next year I will be on a full teaching load and so I will be taking another break from studying. However, this year has confirmed for me my desire to challenge myself further and pursue a masters in the next five years.
Ēhara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini.