Here's a mind map showing, approximately, where I think I am going, currently.
I am gonna write some more about being in the Arab Spring/summer/autumn/winter/spring/summer soon, was a pretty odd time.
Second batch of cherries (brought to in association with rent a cherry tree / Dal's cherry farm...)
I just stumbled across some straight to laptop notes from IATEFL. Just three more cherries and then I am done with this IATEFL reflecting / retelling / rehashing / rememberinglark:
Simon Borg: The impact of teacher education on in-service teachers’ beliefs
This session raised and answered some very important questions close to my heart. The key one:
To what extent does your work as a teacher educator make a difference in anyway to anyone at any time and what can you do to find out about it. An important question to regularly ask, and is particularly pertinent in light of my current research pathway.
When thinking about impact he asks us to consider impact on what and who.
Participation (teachers and learners – reach / participation)
When do we expect the impact to occur?
From a research perspective how we collect the data about the impact becomes an important questions and he offered three observations:
Limited impact research about INSET
Impact often not a design feature of projects
Simplistic notion of impact (i.e.: end of course questionnaire = happy sheets but how about in the medium to long term)
This project was to examine the impact of INSET on teacher’s beliefs:
Limited initial awareness of beliefs
Variable impact on beliefs: a real range, and some confusion about understanding, articulating, confirming, changing, and applying beliefs
Blurring of beliefs and practices
The word impact has krept into my research direction which is on improving / changing what I do, investigating my own practices / beliefs and how having these reflections impact on my work and lead to growth. I guess like Bailey (2001, p11) I am "simply keeping a close watch on my own teaching (training / work), to see what I could learn and how I cold improve". I am hoping to explore and inform my praxis. Next up,
Richard Kiely - The Furnished Imagination: What new teachers take to work
In this session there was a report of a study into thirty or so, trinity cert graduates about what they took to work from their courses. Kiely kept in touch with his grads and eventually set about using the conceptual framework of the furnished imagination to explain their experiences. Wenger coined the term the furnished imagination to talk about our changing ability to describe the our practice. Our practice is based on our shared historical and social resources, frameworks we have for understanding. When we interact with others (usually) we engage in situational; / socially oriented learning as part of a community of practice.
The emergent themes were that trinity TESOL cert holders left for work with:
Readiness and confidence
A platform for continued situated learning
the buds of a teacher identity forming
varying levels of support in place
a furnished imagination
Each graduate who goes into a school will be faced with a different reality. This will be based on:
The nature of the mentoring
The norms of the school
Their own language learning and schooling histories
The TESOL cert grad develops an awareness of their:
Knowledge what do you know, what do you not know
Procedural awareness and skills e.g. TTT is not good…not interrupting pair /grp work
Dispositions character is permanent / disposition can be shaped / attitudes can change
TESOL Identity – Block (2007) socially constructed, self-conscious, negotiated, ongoing narratives that individuals perform, interpret and project
A furnished imagination is a way of:
He rounds off with a general statement that learning teachers need support, mentoring and space to make mistakes.
James E Zull author of from Brain to Mind
He was somewhat controversial, in the sense that not everyone was sold on what he was saying, but I thought he was great. He talked about what we can learn from how brain biology about learning. I was impressed at having a HARD scientist rather than a social-scientist. He communicated his points clear enough for a novice of brain studies and made them relevant (ish) to us. He was an elderly looking frail man with a wicked sense of humour.
Stuff I didn't know:
I liked the ideas that:
He finished off with this very Kolb like experiential learning summary of how science explains learning:
I have been following the yahoo group for Research Special Interest Group (RESIG) over recent months with great interest. It’s a great chance to get in on conversations about research and research articles, and is organized nicely so over a week. They have great events including upcoming things with Dick Allwright, Anne Burns, and Zoltan Dornyrei.
So yesterday was RESIG day. The whole day was anchored to the theme of Teaching as Researching. The distinction between research that is non-pedagogic (i.e.: doesn’t necessarily fit in with our usual classroom work) and that uses regular classroom activities as data generation. The sessions three main speakers were Richard Smith, Sarah Mercer and Ema Ushioda was inspirational. I had pages of notes, most of which pertain to ideas for dissertation possibilities which is great. It was also great to hear from other post-graduate researchers Yasmin, Ana, and Paula who produced a mini-newsletter for the conference. Big ups! (and Nellie too!)
I was inspired (despite looking a bit asleep in the photo above) by the talk of new genres of writing, new ways of presenting research, and the emphasis on teaching as research, rather than researching teaching and learning. Smith talked in lay man’s terms about how teasing out learner feedback, and investigating it and intervening before measuring the impact of this. This teasing out of issues, and the process of problematizing the feedback was interesting and we had hands on experience of doing so.
He also problematized the student satisfaction / scorecard questionnaire that we are all so familiar with. This tool, that is so often used by schools / management to get insight into the training/class room, does lack depth. Smith engaged with issues in his own context at Warwick Uni.
Sarah Mercer talked about getting student narratives, and using these learning histories, in Graz, to inform planning and benefit the relationships we have with our learners. This example of ‘teaching as research’ uses students’ work, written at home about themselves to inform not only on language needs but also into a broader piece of research.
Rounding off was lovely Ema Ushioda who took us through the process of doing i-statement analysis, which contrasted with Mercer’s more holistic analysis to data. I-statements (not a new kind of designer sunglasses from apple) are a way of categorizing informant/student data. Again, it was good to have the change to have a go at doing this procedure. This would have been useful for systematizing my data analysis.
The noisy drama people next door, wow they sounded like they were having a hoot.
After a work meeting, and a nice meet, and remeet with lots of old faces from around the network. So many people whose names I knew but faces were unknown….bit embarrassing at times, but still very nice…. it was on to the North Star ELT Karaoke night with Nick Turner and briefly managed to shout buckfast at singer and pop start (and spy) Shell Terrell. We also got to see Jim Scriv, the Peach, Petya Pointer and many of the PLN / ELT Chat folk. Was fun but needed to eat…
Haggis for breakfast – yum!!