What I’m wondering about is how to leverage this PLN on twitter into a true community of learners. You thought that’s what it was, right? Think about it – most of the tweets we make are about sharing something we know about, or at least have an opinion about. How often do we reach out and ask for help learning something we don’t understand?
We ask our students to be lifelong learners. We supposedly model that in the classroom, but do we – truly? How many of us are willing to admit we are not masters of our content, or at least some of the content we teach? No matter how much we know there is always more to learn and understand, but don’t you get stuck sometimes? I know I do.
My wish is to build a circle of content experts with whom I feel comfortable asking for help occasionally. I’m not really sure how to go about that. I feel like the student that is embarrassed about asking for help. The intellectual side of my brain whispers: “It’s ok, don’t be embarrassed. Everyone needs help. No one will think anything about it.” My pride is reluctant to admit to anyone publicly that there are areas in my content that I am not as knowledgeable as I would like to be. What if someone is appalled: “You mean you don’t know THAT! Eeeveryyyybody knows THAT!”
What about books, or MOOCS? Well, take a topic like The Calculus. I have books- several in fact. I am also not completely helpless intellectually :). Don’t we all reach an impasse occasionally when we are learning on our own? Sometimes we need a little human intervention. That’s why we became teachers isn’t it? To help others learn? So if I call on you for a little help sometime, be kind…
My second wish is still personal but a little more global. I wonder how to create a teacher exchange program with another country like Finland or Japan. If their educational models are supposedly better than ours, why not go visit for a bit and learn from them? I was thinking over the break that it would not be hard to accomplish. Let’s suppose a teacher at a school in Finland agreed to be a host family. What if there was a grant that paid for travel and a substitute during your absence? A teacher could take two weeks during the year – that’s a period of time that wouldn’t destroy a semester. The teacher could go and shadow at the host school with a teacher in their content area. That should be enough time to truly get a feel for how they teach and manage their classroom. Then you bring that knowledge home to your classroom, school, and district and share what you have learned. I think it might be a very good bargain for the money. It would certainly be better than the sort of professional development many of us are forced to sit through regularly. If anyone has any ideas, maybe we can start a discussion. Just include me in the travel plans :).
This is probably not the most well written post I have ever made. I just wanted to throw out a couple of ideas to my PLN and see what comments or thoughts you might have. Maybe you will share a wish list of your own.