The complication of a badly broken wrist and an operation to fix it has certainly contributed to my lack of weekly #YourEdustory posts over the last few weeks. I have, however, been reflecting on my responses to these questions from the last three weeks, just not in writing.
Put together a design brief for a new learning space
How do you infect students with a passion for learning
How do you empower student voice in your classroom or school
As stated on the #YourEdustory home page “Reflection makes us stronger, wiser, and more precise. In our journey to understand ourselves as educators, we should continually reflect about what we believe in, what has worked well, and also what has failed miserably in our classrooms.”
My reflections on these three questions kept leading me back to one point, actually one person – who I shall refer to as SMC. Therefore this week I have chosen to reflect on SMC and what I have learnt from her.
Every now and then in life, someone crosses your path who makes a difference, challenges your thinking and leaves a lasting impression. For me, SMC was and is one of those people.
The length of time she worked with us was far too short, however the impact of her work will go on for sometime. She expanded our horizons and introduced us to what is possible when ………
- you are fearless,
- ask how we can make it work, rather than say why it won’t
- and have a natural instinct for focusing on heutagogy.
SMC is one of the world’s special people. I am a better educator for the oportunity to work with her. Not because she taught me things I didn’t know (though she did some of that) , rather because she just seemed to know the right time and place to drop in a pearl of wisdom, an idea, a challenge, something that took me down a new path, exploring a new concept or trialling a different way. And she shared in the excitement, the fun and the opportunity to get ‘nerdy’ that this learning involved. That’s how you infect people with your passion for learning.
SMC has an innate belief in the capacity of others to achieve. All learning, whether it was students, staff or parents was approached from that belief – ‘you can do it, of course you can.’ She would just know which piece of advice to deliver, or drop in the next idea, tool or way of doing something at just the right moment. She provided the scaffold that empowered others to take ownership, move forward and find their own paths to achievement.
Working with SMC, extended my thinking around learning environments. She had an instinctive understanding of the links between physical and virtual environments and the interdependency between them. She knew that in this day and age you can’t have one without the other and when designing learning environments, both physical and virtual spaces have to be included in the process, not considered as add-ons or extras.
SMC did all this with grace, humour, a passion for life, and persistence in an educational environment that doesn’t always manage change well, cope with difference or having their way of doing things challenged.
For many years to come when faced with a challenge, a difficult question, a new situation or the next educational breakthrough, I suspect I will find myself asking ‘What would SMC say, do or think?’
And of course I will ask her! She is now an integral part of my PLN (Professional and Personal Learning Network).