Well, here we go. After 12 months of exploring, testing and learning, I'm finally ready to start my own blog!
I have been inspired to start blogging my reflections about education after being a regular follower of one of my colleague's blogs. She is a prolific writer and someone that I am very glad to have met through my new school, which I started at in August 2010. I've always found that writing my ideas and understandings helps me to organise my thoughts and I hope that will be the case with this blog.
I've learned a lot throughout my first year in Switzerland. My responsibilities as Team Leader for my grade have allowed me the opportunity to explore many facets of school life in greater detail than I ever have before. In many ways my learning has been fast-tracked as I am in an interesting position of being considered an experienced teacher of the Primary Years Program (PYP) despite it only being my sixth year teaching. I regularly take the opportunity to listen to more experienced practitioners than myself and decide which parts of their perspectives I agree or disagree with, and why.
I also see my position as a chance to set a positive example for my colleagues. One of the areas I have tried to raise the bar with in terms of my own practice is the effective use of ICT in the classroom. I have my own class blog, have organised on-line literature circle discussions with another school in Bejing and introduced my students (and myself!) to a variety of Web 2.0 tools for education.
I was reading a post tonight entitled 'Freedom vs Privacy'. One of the questions raised was that, with the availability of these types of publishing tools for the everyday user, are we becoming more accepting of mediocrity seeing as anyone can publish almost anything want, regardless of the quality?
This is something that has been a steep learning curve for me this year. In my excitement to introduce a new and exciting Web 2.0 tool I have sometimes lost sight of the processes involved with producing a piece of work that reflects the true ability of the author. I have sometimes accepted work from my students that may look great, but isn't an honest effort. It is a teacher's responsibility to continue to educate students on the importance and advantages of following the correct processes required to produce high quality pieces of work in any discipline. I do, however, believe that there has to be an intrinsic element to this, especially as the the nature of Web 2.0 means that a much greater majority of 'class work' can be published outside of the classroom. There should be no excuses for mediocrity.