Saturday, March 14, 2015

I don't want to come back down from this cloud (Bush)

As you read in my previous post: I'm convinced that a peculiar hybrid of UDL/inquiry/ blended/ personalised learning is right for senior English classes right now! My next few posts will be using that premise as a basis. Hang in there - it might get bumpy!
  • I'm always interested in what people think makes 'a good teacher'. This may appear to be a detour from that first sentence but bear with me.
  • Recently I came across some University of Birmingham research that set out to specifically explore the most important character strengths, or virtues, needed for good teaching, and what character strengths, or virtues, were held by today’s teachers.
  • It would be good to compare the findings with the views of New Zealand teachers. I suspect there would be a high correlation.
  • Anyway, let's cut to the chase! What did they find out?
  • There was widespread agreement on the personal qualities that are needed to be a good teacher.
  • The six most important character strengths for good teachers were:
  1. Fairness (78% of teachers )
  2. Creativity (68%)
  3. A love of learning (61%)
  4. Humour (53%)
  5. Perseverance (45%)
  6. Leadership (40%)

  • Sidebar #1: However, in describing their own character strengths they reported kindness (49%) and honesty (50%) in place of leadership and perseverance in those top six.
Sidebar #2: 37% of experienced teachers claimed that they do not feel that they have sufficient time to do their job to a standard they believe is right.

So what's this got to do with my UDL/ inquiry/ blended/ personalised learning hybrid?

In a word - compatability!

Think back twenty, ten, or even five years - would that list be different? I think so. Then, the teacher was the knowledge holder so students wanted  teachers to teach to the exam, have good subject knowledge, and ensure students understood things before advancing (yes this is stuff from an actual list from 20 years ago).

Check that Birmingham list again. That's right! It's different.  If good teaching now involves those things, and I believe it does, then it's imperative we embrace systems that are more compatible to those good teacher attributes and allow students to work to their individual strengths in their own time.  

To be continued...

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