Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Han SOLOed....Alleyne Chater

Han SOLOed

For the sake of the title, you have to pretend that my name is Han. Just humor me!
My inquiry was around trying to embed SOLO Taxonomy in my senior classes.
For those of you out there in cyber space that don’t yet know about SOLO, check this out www.pamhook.com and in particular, how it can link to the NZ curriculum http://pamhook.com/wiki/HOT_Wiki.
One area I focused on was trying to get my Advisory students to use the HOT alignment diagram http://pamhook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/HOT-Alignment-Diagram.pdf. I found this to be an amazing piece of equipment to help students approach their learning from multiple angles using a variety of structured techniques (De Bono’s thinking hats, Bloom’s etc.).

One thing I didn’t do is to gather some kind of baseline data, and that was my first mistake! How can I show any kind of student gains if I have nothing to compare it to? Now, if you know me, you know that you can’t believe half of what comes out of my mouth, so it is essential for me to be able to prove all my talk with evidence!
Anyway. I took my class through this rubric and also inquired into some of the content and what it means. We also looked at how we could use it. The fact that it links with NCEA achievement made a huge difference in terms of creating significance, or meaning for my students. Getting them to use it on their own however was an entirely different matter! On going coaching on how to use this rubric in different situations was the key and it seemed to be going well and then I also started working in the middle years (Yr. 5 to 10) and that's when the fun began. I have always thought that primary teacher had to have a broad knowledge base, but working with my principal enlightened me on a whole range of things I had not thought of. Even the basics of how to comprehensively teach reading and writing caught me out, and I found myself doing a lot of professional reading on all manor of topics and it all came back to the same basics of student/teacher relationships and classroom dynamics and expectations.
In a nutshell I found myself challenging my attitudes and identifying my ways of being and/or bad habits I had developed over the years. So I decided to SOLO myself creating a rubric for me and in some ways it is good for all! Here goes!

Every day is a new day. I am always looking for ways to improve my pedagogy, lesson content and delivery so it is relevant, inclusive and dynamic. This is done through PD, networking with other teacher, professional reading (including using blogs and twitter) and actively involving myself in online forums. My students come from a range of backgrounds (from supportive families to dysfunctional and abusive). Students have a broad range of learning needs. I will always show them respect and do my best to foster a positive, caring and safe classroom environment. My students trust and respect me. I love my job and understand the immense responsibility I hold in my hands.
I understand my attitude and depth of pedagogical knowledge have a huge bearing on how my lessons go. I try to do my best but I still have bad days. I engage in PD and professional reading (including some online forums), but don’t have the time to really implement things I learn. I think I get on well with the students and think they resect me. I know students come from a range of backgrounds, but sometime don’t understand why they don’t see how important it is for them to engage in their learning. I am not yet the teacher I want to be.
I do staff PD and professional reading when it is compulsory. I’m too busy to develop in-depth programs, but think my teaching is good. I get on well with the students, when they listen and do what they are told.
I do staff PD and professional reading when it is compulsory. Sometimes my planning is lacking, but the students still need to do what they are told.
My teaching is fine; it’s the students that are the problem.

If teachers really want to find out how the are as a teacher, we should all regularly survey the students to gather intel on what they think. Many teachers do, but many teachers don’t, and I think this is because they know in their hearts that they are not doing their clients justice. If we got paid on client satisfaction (and I don’t mean just letting kids cruise), I think many teachers would be skint!
I have enjoyed this journey and at times it has been confronting. I will continue to use and develop my knowledge of SOLO’s Taxonomy and will never give up in my quest to embed it in student self directed learning.
Just so you know, I am at a blend of Relational and Extended Abstract. Occasionally dipping downward to the Prestructual barrel, of which I am not proud.

PS. The hardest lesson I have learned is that I should never use sarcasm. I love it, but students don’t. It’s like holy water to a vampire! Here’s the clincher! Students can be as sarcastic as they want! I hate being the adult sometime! All those awesome come backs going to waste! But seriously, just by cutting sarcasm, I feel much more trusted and respected by my students. It may be just in my head, but it has made a big difference either way. Thank You.

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