This is a two-parter—organized as such solely to justify the needless atomic wordplay you see in the title.
I had the distinct thrill to be included in last month’s New Voices series at Scott McLeod’s Dangerously Irrelevant. I’ll admit to feeling dangerously close to irrelevant in such a high-octane crowd of educational leaders. But, hey, I’ll happily pass on Groucho’s advice to hang out with this club. Thanks, Scott, for the invitation.
Pick a party, any party: the best conversations always happen in the kitchen. The kitchen is where the process side of things reigns supreme, away from the formal productions taking place in living and dining rooms. In the kitchen, where the connections between form and function are clear, where design is apparent, people unbutton and relax, sit on a countertops, maybe even end up washing a few dishes.
[I spy a metaphor here, albeit a flimsy one—the blogosphere is the kitchen of educational research and writing, and traditional journals and publications are the living room. This may relate to the entertaining blogging-as-junk-food conversation anchored by Miguel and Doug. But I digress. Have to chew on that particular side order of fries in another post.]
My point is that I’ve been lingering in the kitchen listening to some of the other new voices, and enjoying what I’ve heard, particularly Scott Elias’ Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?, Kelly Christopher’s Educational Discourse, and Pete Reilly’s Ed Tech Journeys. I’ve enjoyed their insights on teachers’ professional growth; since my work at Hamline focuses on professional development, this overlapping of worlds is particularly valuable. Some examples:
Scott Elias on schools’ efficacy in aligning initiatives and results:
I think the missing piece in my organization will continue to be
professional development around student engagement and the effective
uses of technology in instruction.
Kelly Christopher on whether teaching and learning professionals should blog:
So, where do I sit on this issue? Well, as a PD tool, blogging is
awesome. The dialogue and discussion that one can have is true
professional development – especially when you must get your ideas
together because someone disagrees with you. There is no room for those
who use it as a venting and blaming space. If one is going to do that,
then at least sign your name – anonymous entries aren’t worth reading.
As a way to build professional contacts and grow professional networks,
I can’t think of a better format. My personal network now stretches
the globe from Susan Funk to missprofe, Sunny Williams to David Truss, Scott McLeod to mscofino to Carolyn Foote.
Some are teachers, some are professors and some are administrators. All
of them, plus the many more whose blogs I visit and who drop by to
comment, have expanded my network beyond where I ever thought it could
Pete Reilly on grounding his practice and teaching from the heart:
I had been working towards letting the “teacher” come alive in me for
many months. In my learning, that is translated into being in service
to those I teach and remembering that it is always “about them”. It is
embodying being student centered, always totally present to the
opportunities that the learners were presenting and moving instantly
into those openings when they appeared. It is “holding” the room with a
constant, grounded energy to create a bond of trust, and the conditions
for the group to relax and participate fully. Most importantly, every
word and action of “teacher” was to come directly from the heart. . . .
As I work to improve the practices of teachers, I will forever be more
compassionate, for it takes courage to change. It takes courage to
The snow has stopped. The streets have been plowed. The snowglobe has settled once again, and it’s back to our regularly scheduled lives. But if you’re not ready to leave this snow day behind, Doug Johnson reminds us what all the hoopla is—and isn’t—about.