Sunday, 7 July 2013

Eduspeak Part 3

Androgogy - this sounds like something that google phone freaks would like, with their androids in tow.  In fact, it is a term that I prefer to pedagogy because pedagogy somehow implies that the teacher is the expert in learning and looks down benignly on "those who must be educated."
Androgogy is the science or art of teaching adults or your peers.  It has been used extensively in adult education.  Today, there is a paradigm shift happening and teachers are being urged to think of themselves as the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage.  So you are no longer the font of all knowledge.  You are fellow travelers in the learning journey.
Androgogy implies that you are teaching and learning alongside your peers.  This is why I like this word in preference to pedagogy when applied in the classroom.  Of course, the teacher is often the well seasoned traveller but as all travelling buddies know, you don't exclude going to one destination because you havent been there before.  Try it, you may like it!

Eduspeak Part 2

In response to prompts from my colleagues, a little bit more on the topic of Eduspeak.  You know, those awful words that teachers use.
Nathaniel Louwrens, whose blogs can be found here  and here, has asked me about pedagogy.  Actually this is one of my favourite words.  I use it all the time and so I forget how it is not an everyday word except in the realm of education.
Pedagogy - you would expect it to be something do do with feet or children (pod or ped) and the connection is of course with children.  Pedagogy is the way you teach.  Some people think it is an art and some people think it is a science.   If you think it is an art then you are more inclined to think that it is some magical charismatic miracle of osmosis that some people have the gift of performing and some people don't.
I tend to think it is more of a science because I believe there are certain methodologies and like a good science experiment you need to know the aim, the method, record what the result is and make a conclusion based on that result and then, like any good scientist, you have to go back and do another experiment, which is designed better.  If this sounds slightly familiar, then look into the New Zealand Curriculum on page 35  at "Teaching As Inquiry."
The difference between those who have the "gift" and those who don't is often just a lack of experience, but sometimes those who seem to be able to teach effortlessly from the beginning, are those who carry out a good experiment from the first time.  And then build on their skills.
So if you are one of those who hasn't been able to make a go of teaching, go ahead, try another experiment, but don't expect improvements unless you change the recipe.
Watch out for my next Eduspeak blog, coming soon, courtesy of late night musings.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


   Deep understanding, rich understanding, unpack a concept, what that looks like in your school, resonates, dispositions, teaching as inquiry, digging deeper, scaffolding, synthesis, best practice

It all becomes clear to me now.

These are some of the words I hear a lot, and probably use a lot more than I want to. They are the eduspeak of the day. What educators say when they talk about teaching and learning. The trouble is that our audiences are not always educators. So I had this thought that maybe I should try to find some other terminology to explain these eduspeak words what someone might think they are and then perhaps what I think they are. Open the doors a little and let others comment on what they might be.
So here goes

Deep understanding      - you know more than the average Joe? - really means having extensive knowledge about the detail
Rich understanding - costs a lot? - really means you have deep understanding and you know how it fits into the big picture of the world
Unpack a concept - take it out of the suitcase? - really means take a look at the detail of how ideas are put together into a whole package
What that looks like in your school - where is the visual evidence? - really means if you say it happens in your school, what will I see happening in the school to reflect that it is happening?
Resonates - echos a lot? - really means it makes a lot of sense to me
Dispositions - natures? really means attitudes to certain things
Teaching as Inquiry - no-one knows what they heck they are doing? - really means you should always ask yourself why you are doing things a certain way and check the data to see if it really works and if it doesn't then change it
Digging deeper - being nosy? - really means you are looking for that deep understanding (see above)
Scaffolding - supporting something that is weak?  - really means making a safe environment for students to build their knowledge
Synthesis - making something up? - really means a bringing together of elements of a whole thing that is useful
Best practice - the rehearsal that was awesome? - really means a strategy that is proven to have the best outcomes for students
So that is the list I have come up with this morning.  There are more!  Please, feel free to send me more words, add your own. 
 I really would like to have a deeper, richer understanding of this unpacked concept, so I can see what it looks like in your school, how it resonates with me and changes my disposition to teaching as inquiry, because when we dig deeper and scaffold learning we are able to present a synthesis of best practice available for all educators.