Saturday, August 21, 2010

Countdown and countup

The reason for today's title is that week is my last in employment with this organisation, where I have spent many years of my teaching life, so count down on that and count up to the future. Just as this occurs I am rediscovering an enjoyment in teaching that has eluded me for some years.

I have also just enjoyed Greg Walker's presentation, asychronistically.

At the end of the discussion Greg touched on how as 'digital natives' join the area of online learning and facilitation they come with their generation's tools naturally embedded and therefore able to engage with their students readily.

One may also assume/hope they have been trained by the likes of Nancy, you Sarah and Greg so that their pedagogy for this medium is understood and applied. I wonder though how much might be missed by them if approaches, learning, understanding of earlier generations are assumed to be 'old hat'.

What is becoming very clear to me is that we must be super clear about our objectives and the WIIFM for the students BEFORE we start down the track of the online world, we then add the requirements and lastly the design. The well known adage of preparation, preparation, preparation, which is needed to produce an experience/product of quality.

Returning then to my earlier comment; challenging and engaging learning requires I think, not only professional tools but also a deepening personal professional pedagogy which is developed through reflective, evaluative opportunities, readings, discussions using as many tools as possible. What I think I am trying to say is we can use many of the tools of today and yesterday as we move inexorability forward, they worked! and can again provide the foundations from which new approaches can grow.

I have also reflected on who I have taught this week; Youth Guarantee Scheme students and Level 3 Foundation students, the former on wine service and the later on stress.

Our YGS are digitial natives yes; however increasingly we are challenging them to put away the laptops and engage in discussion, debate and simulated learning exercises where they work in a synchronistic environment. We are finding these 16 and 17 year olds are getting very rusty at setting up face to face relationships in the here and now, and the consequences of not attending to communication mores.

It is much easier to be in an asynchronistic setting, there are less consequences to deal with immediately. As usage decreases so does confidence, this is something we will need to stay connected to I think. It is my understanding that in many 'developed' [sic] countries very large numbers of 16 - 23 year olds without employment as a result of the biting recession are in similar positions and that also concerns me. It seems we, the educators and coaches may need to pay more attention to developing confidence in face to face communication in our DG's, they will easily slip into extending their abilities where on-line learning is concerned.

As far as the Foundation students were concerned some of the subject content could have be delivered in an on-line setting. I think however the crucial learning about the students' individual needs still needs a face to face component, online learning is more appropriate once engagement and a relationship has been established.

Back to Greg; I had not heard used the terminology of convergent questions, grounded and divergent, but actually use them naturally as with socratic and evaluative. Rubics was another term I have only known when connected to a cube, again I find this has been in in my kite of tools for some time, I have just not specifically encased the process in its own name.


  1. Jane, I found this quote by you interesting:
    "We are finding these 16 and 17 year olds are getting very rusty at setting up face to face relationships in the here and now, and the consequences of not attending to communication mores." Definitely those face-to-face interactions are important in life and explicitly focusing on the 'communication mores' so that our students are skilled in all forms of communication (f2f and online) seems like a good idea.

  2. Hi Jane, I have found your post to be full of ideas that I'd like to explore more but the one that is really resonating with me is the idea of having a personal other words, a persoal teaching philosophy...or for those of us who are not teachers, but are facilitators...a personal philosophy about facilitation. I wonder what your personal pedagogy is?