Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I'm going to post again tomorrow about the Campus Session that took place today but I found something in my inbox just now that I thought I'd share.
It seems very relevant to where we all seem to be at the moment...

Reflective Practice in Higher Education Instruction by Nina Smith

I hope to expand this post in the future but tonight I'm too tired and it would just end up as a rambling mess of incoherent babble!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Journal writing experience

Today is a pretty eventful day! It's the start of a new week, the end of the first half of the school term, and the end of my trial of journal writing techniques. It seems, to me, to be the perfect day to look back over everything I have written in my journal and reflect on the experience so far.

As the reader suggested, I took the last few days to try out different ways of putting my thoughts into my journal. Having looked back at what I have written I can see three main things:
  1. Some ways of writing come more naturally to me than others.
  2. Some types of journal writing seem to lend themselves to particular types of entry than others.
  3. Some ways of writing help me to "dig" deeper into myself than others.
In order to discuss these points in a user-friendly way, I thought I would take some of the types of writing and discuss them in relation to the points above, whilst also referencing information from other sources outside of the Reader.

Description and List
I found these ways of writing very helpful when I needed to get a brief overview of the order of things that took place and what happened. I found that the resulting list, or log (Stevens and Cooper, 2009), was very helpful when I came back to reflect on a particular event, as it was dated, unblurred by a lot of emotion, and each aspect of the event was easy to locate.
I think that I will definitely use this form of journal writing for entries like, for example, things I need to do, notes taken at courses/ meetings, and ideas that come to me on a particular topic. I also feel that listing or describing things will allow me to identify the key issues or topics when I go on to further reflect.

Initial Reflection
As I mentioned in my blog (Radio Silence) I had already discovered, just by the process of continuing to make journal entries, that I moved very quickly from writing lists of things to writing more emotionally about what had occurred. I now realise that this is because it allows me to "let out" any feelings that I would be uncomfortable sharing with others and to validate to myself that 'to feel' is as valuable as 'to know' or 'to act', and part of what makes me the teacher that I am. I have also been able to identify through this way of writing that I am naturally predisposed to write about the negatives rather than the positives and, as I've mentioned in my previous blog, so I've taken steps to include at least one positive event per entry. I hope that this will give me a more balanced, and in turn, more honest journal to reflect on.

By evaluating events in the order of questions suggested in Reader 2 (p18), I was able to start my journal entry from a positive point of view and then look deeper into other aspects of the event. This meant that an idea or event that perhaps I would have dismissed straight into the "don't try that again" pile could be reflected on in a more objective way and compartmentalised into aspects that could be evaluated independantly for their successes or failings.
Not as easy for me to do but I think that this could be a good way of changing my perception when things go wrong, so that instead of "starting from scratch" with an idea that didn't work I can look at it more objectively and identify any valid ideas before rejecting the rest.

Graphs, charts and diagrams
Spider diagrams, mind mapping, concept mapping and brainstorming are all phrases that came to mind in this section. Stevens and Cooper (2009) suggest that sometimes the lines on a page can limit thought in a linear direction whereas blank or graph paper can allow writing to flow in many directions, and, I feel now that, even on lined paper, diagrams and charts can allow for a more multi-dimensional approach to writing.
Even if I am not setting out to make a diagram I have noticed that a lot of my entries turn into a kind of spider diagram. They allow me to expand ideas in several directions at once, take a new piece of information and see how parts of my professional practice relate to it, and see connections between what initially appear to be unrelated thoughts or knowledge. I definitely will use this method of writing if I need to get from a starting point down an, as yet, unknown path or to consider a way of dealing with a situation for which I have no template or exemplar. Or, perhaps, if I hit a dead end in another way of writing.

What if?
This style of writing initially felt to me like a pure flight of fantasy, with no real application to my professional practice - I'm sure we all feel able to idealise what we'd like to happen but then the reality of the situation comes in and limits where we can actually go. But having looked back at the entry where I tried to write "what if?" I noticed that it afforded me the ability to see where I might take steps, or make an action-plan, that could get me nearer to my "ideal world". Taken in a slightly less fantastical version, "time travel" (Stevens and Cooper, 2009) writing could also help me to project a long term view of what I hope to achieve.

Another view
I found writing from another perspective a difficult concept to understand as I felt that I would just end up putting words into other people's mouths from my own biased point of view. However, having read several other writers take on POV writing (Moon, Stevens and Cooper, Schon) I now realise that I can get into a dialogue with anything I may wish to reflect on; my own thoughts, other's reactions, issues that cause me problems, things that recurr in my writing or professional practice - the list is seemingly endless! In turn, allowing me to explore deeper into the situation than first anticipated. This is an aspect of journal writing that I am going to continue to try to develop, perhaps by writing each entry in a dual way - first person then another POV - or by trying to write a conversation with the experience - like the brilliant example Joanna E. Cooper (2009, p.143) gives when she enters into a dialogue with her use of the word "eek".

Having tried and reflected on all these forms of writing I can see that I shall probably be employing aspects of each style in future entries, depending on how relevant they feel and/or whether they help to expand my deeper critical thinking.

To end this blog, there are two other things that I have found particularly interesting from my reading into journal writing:
The two-column method, which I first read about in the book Journal Writing, by Stevens and Cooper (2009, p68-69), is where you divide each page into two columns. I have found that making notes in one column, from Readers and other course-related materials, and then writing my thoughts or how I apply, or could apply, this information into the second column has been great in allowing me to add what knowledge I have or use to what I have just read thereby forging stronger connections. I think it will also allow me the space to go back and reflect on ideas at a later date, perhaps when I have gained more knowledge or experience.

Highlighting involves going back and colour coding the journal into, for example, similar entries, entries that deal with a continuing problem, and recurring themes. I think that this will be a great thing to do at the end of a certain period of time, for example, at the end of a term or topic, to give me an overview of my progression, or lack of, and make it easier to find useful entries later on in my studies or professional practice.

From someone who has never written a diary or blog, or kept a journal before, I'm ending with a (mis)quote from the film Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) "I think I'm gonna need a bigger blog!"

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I’d just finished reading part of a chapter, in Donald Schon’s book, entitled How the Teaching and Learning Processes Can Go Wrong (Educating the Reflective Practitioner 1985, Chapter Six p119 - 156) and flicked on the television in time for the start of The Big Bang Theory (Season 4, Episode 14 “The Thespian Catalyst”). As I started watching it, all the stuff I’d just been reading popped back straight back into my head and I realised that I was reflecting on the behaviour on screen using the theory I had just been reading!
Let me explain...

In his book, Donald Schon talks about the relationship between the teacher and the student and the need for it to be one of trust and understanding. He suggests that a failure to communicate can lead to a “learning bind”, which restricts the process of reflection and of learning itself. Schon states that the “learning bind” can occur when student or teacher, usually both, fail to reflect on and thereby misunderstand each other’s statements - a reaction is made to another’s utterance, which has been misconstrued, this reaction is (mis)interpreted as defensive or aggressive and causes an equally unreflective, dismissive response and the two-way communication breaks down completely.

The opening sequence of The Big Bang Theory starts as follows:


                             Good evening. I’m your guest lecturer, Dr. Sheldon Cooper (PAUSES)
                             I was expecting applause but I suppose stunned silence is equally appropriate.

                             I agreed to speak to you this evening because I was told that you‘re the best and
                             brightest of this universities doctoral candidates. Of course, that's like saying
                             you're the most important electron in a hydrogen atom. (GIGGLES AND

                 SHELDON (CONT’D)

                             Cos you see there’s only one electron in a hydrogen atom (PAUSES
                             Best and brightest my sweet patootie! Alright, let’s begin. Show of hands who
                             here is familiar with the concept of topological insulators? 


              SHELDON (CONT’D)

                             Don’t kid yourselves!

As I was watching it the following thoughts occurred to me:
1.       The lecturer expects the student to be in deference to his knowledge (a round of applause for his name). The student is put off by the lecturers seeming arrogance and I’m-better-than-you attitude (Indifference to his introduction, blank expressionless faces)

2.       The lecturer comments on the students intellect and then makes a joke that belittles this intellect (the lecturer feels students are beneath him intellectually and therefore cannot possibly learn what he has to teach, students show no reaction suggesting both defensive behaviour and not finding the joke funny)

3.       The lecturer makes the assumption that the students do not get his joke (this reaffirms his perceived opinion of their intellect) and explains the joke (students still don’t laugh, defensive action is reinforced by lecturers belittlement of their abilities)

4.       The lecturer makes an aside (signifying that he feels he has had his assumptions confirmed) and carries on with the lecture by asking a question to which he automatically dismisses the students response (suggesting that even before the students raise their hands Sheldon has decided that they know nothing of what he is going to talk about).

5.       The classroom has turned into a battleground!

Later on in the episode, Amy, Sheldon’s girl friend (not a typo, just an in joke), talks to him about the experience:

                            Have you considered improving your socialisation skills, thus
                                 allowing you to communicate effectively with other people?


                               Isn’t that their burden? I’m the one with something interesting to say?


                                Fair enough. But in its essence, teaching is a performance art. In the
                                classroom paradigm the teacher has the responsibility to communicate as
                                well as entertain and engage.

In one short sentence Amy has been able to reflect on and verbalise to Sheldon the very crux of his problem, something that he had not been able to see for himself as he was not able to reflect on his actions nor see things from another perspective - just by engaging with them in a more sociable way the relationship between Sheldon and his students could have been very different!

Who says there’s nothing educational on the television these days...






Friday, 26 October 2012

Web 2.0 - helpful tips

I found this article by Natt Garun today, about the pro's (and con's) of using social media for self-promotion. I felt it linked in very nicely with the area of Web 2.0 that interested me the most, about how to make sure you appear as you want to and the importance of using writing/ design that sends out the right message to anyone visiting your blog/ Twitter feed/ website/ etc. I particularly found the following information interesting and something I will bear in mind when I post in future:
  • Maintain brand consistency across the different forms of media you are using to ensure that you are easily recognisible.
  • Interaction with fans/ clients makes each person feel valued and part of your brand/ company.
  • Don't just advertise and promote but offer interesting and relevant articles/ posts to generate content and engage followers.
  • Check spelling, grammar and content to ensure there are no errors, and check links are working correctly (something I am getting better at, I think!)
  • Understand your audience and what they are looking for so that you can provide relevant content that keeps followers coming back.
(Right - link checked *tick, grammar checked *tick, content assessed for relevance/ possible interest to followers *tick, brand consistency checked (N/A yet!)...)

I realise that some of the above is probably very obvious, and something that most people would do automatically, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the article, and/ or this post.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Reflective writing

I've been wandering around YouTube this morning and finding a variety of different clips on the subject of reflective practices. I've added several to my YouTube channel but thought I would post the link to one that I found really fascinating. The clip is Introduction to Reflective Writing - Henry Dixon and lasts for 11 minutes (worth every second in my humble opinion). I went into it from the perspective of wanting to learn more about how to produce reflective writing but ended up taking a much bigger journey.

As I was watching the first part I wrote down the following questions:
  • Is my reflection accurate or distorted?
  • Is my reflection honest?
  • In my journal entries am I thinking from different perspectives or just from my own viewpoint?
And it made me look back through and reflect on what I had previously written in my journal. I am going to defnitely vary how I write my next week's worth of entries, as the Reader suggests, to see if different style of writing lead me to write in more or less accurate/ honest/ open ways.

Henry Dixon then goes on to talk about how to write refectively (at 3.09) by breaking the process down into three parts:
  1. Description - what was the event?
  2. Interpretation - what is the crux of the matter? Does it fit/ not fit into theory or with prior experiences?
  3. Outcome - what have I learned? how can I use this in my future practice?
I think that I follow along these lines when, to use Donald Schon's terminology, I both reflect-in-action and reflect-on-action, but that I might not be as disciplined when it comes to writing down my reflective thoughts. The act of 'thinking about' has been, I realise, more important for me than the act of 'writing about' but I am now changing my perspective to see that by writing something down I have a more accurate point of reference, and will be able to see a more rational, or linear, train of thought in my reflections. This should then enable me to pinpoint such useful places as, for example, where an idea has gone off the rails or how I arrived at such a conclusion or action-plan.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the clip though, for me, was the example Henry Dixon gives about a personal experience, in a Spanish class, where he makes a mistake and receives a reaction from the teacher (4.29). By using the breakdown above he analyses the event in the form of reflective writing, clearly showing how he learned from the event.
It immediately linked in my head to something that I had previously read in Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit (2006), "Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation I cannot see it, retain it, and use it." (p.10)
This, in turn, lead me to think about my reflective practices and how it is not only my actions/ reactions that I should be reflecting on but anything and everything that occurs during my day. Something I might see as seemingly insignificant or unrelated may turn out, through analysis and reflection, to produce an idea or realisation that I will be able to use to further enhance my professional practice.
I know that when I write in my journal tonight it will be with this idea in mind...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Radio silence

It's been over a week since my last post as a combination of personal illness, my father's milestone birthday celebrations, and a crisis of confidence all combined to leave me drained and incapable of rational thought! However, I seem to be getting back on track today so I decided to post about thoughts and feelings I've had over the last 8 days.

I've been reading Reader 2 and finding that it has led me on to delving further into the topics it discusses and the authors it suggests. I did start to tackle Task 2c but I felt that, with all the information I had jostling around in my head, that I needed time to absorb, reflect, realise and relate it all within my subconscious, where I have noticed that I seem to do a lot of my reflection, and just make note of any thoughts or inspiration in my journal. I think that this way of working will, ultimately, give me a better understanding of the concepts of reflective learning, and where I fit into them, than launching straight into a written piece.

I started my journal back in September and have already noticed that my entries are becoming less factual lists - "what I did at school today" - and more personal and emotional outpourings about the experiences I have had. I have also realised that I place a lot of value on the emotional, or interpersonal (Gardner, 1985), aspects of my job and that I tend to not write about the positives and focus on the negatives or problematic aspects of my day. I've been reflecting on this and have come to think that I consider positives as 'just doing my job properly' and the negatives and problems that I encounter as a lack of knowledge/ understanding/ planning/ foresight on my part. I have consciously decided to enter up at least one positive experience into each journal entry and reflect on the why's and how's in a more inquiry-based process to see where this takes me...

Whether or not it is related to writing my journal, or not feeling particularly well, but my crisis of confidence at the beginning of the week was incredibly debilitating! I found that I was unable to make immediate sense of a lot of the things that I was reading and, in the resulting confusion, I lost all sense of being able to cope and began to feel that perhaps this was all a big mistake. It took over completely for about 3 days until three things helped me to gain perspective again and move forwards.
The first thing was a Facebook "chat" with a very good friend of mine, who is currently doing a PhD, who I really respect and look up to. She was very helpful by telling me that she felt/ feels that way sometimes and immediately the feeling that I am not alone, or stupid, or missing the point eased my anxiety.
Secondly, I was intrigued by the section on Twyla Tharp in the Reader, as I have been aware of her as a dance choreographer for many years but had never heard her speak or read her books. I immediately went to google books to search for The Creative Habit (Tharp and Reiter, 2006) and found YouTube clips of her talking about her professional practice. Her matter of fact speech really made me look inwardly at what I was feeling, and I made two entries into my journal in capitals:

"...let's just get ready and not expect that we know where we're going..."  (Conversations with Norma Kamali - Twyla Tharp, YouTube.com 5.56mins)
"No-one starts a creative endeavour without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you've begun. When I feel that sense of dread, I try make it as specific as possible. Let me tell you my five big fears:
  1. People will laugh at me
  2. Someone has done it before
  3. I will have nothing to say
  4. I will upset someone I love
  5. Once executed , the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind
These are mighty demons but they are hardly unique to me. You probably share some."(Tharp and Reiter, 2006 p.22)

The realisation that I was not on my own in feeling like this coupled with the support of friends and the knowledge that even people I deem as successful struggle with "demons" has helped me to reflect on my fears and put into action a plan to deal with them. I know I am not going to resolve them entirely but even that realisation is empowering. As Donald Schon says, in his book Educating the Reflective Practitioner, a student "must temporarily abandon much that he already values...In such a predicament he is more or less vulnerable to anxiety." (Schon, 1985 p.94-95).

I hadn't intended to put any of this in a public forum but, as part of my action-plan, I think that sharing it is a good way to rationalise and work through it. Thank-you for reading it.

With any luck, normal programming will resume shortly!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Task 1a revisited

When I put up my C.V. as part of this module I received a lovely comment from Rosemary McGuinness suggesting that perhaps I was selling myself short and that looking at my achievements within particular jobs could help me to show my unique skills. I decided that today was the time for action!

I looked at my current employment and thought it might be an idea to show what skills I use at each place of work. However, I've ended up with less information than I initially added as I felt that there was just too much writing and that it was difficult to read. 
I've also added memberships of committees/ teaching groups, along with C.R.B. and drivers license details.

I've changed the design too, as I wanted a fresher look, and hope to have created a more user-friendly format. I've still kept the education section before the employment section but I've condensed and rearranged to get each one on a seperate page so that anyone looking at it can skip to the page that is most relevant to them.

I've uploaded it here, although in doing so the layout seems to have altered slightly but I'll work on that (For example, it was only two pages on my laptop but now seems to be three pages!).Here's the link to my old C.V. so you can see what I have changed.
Please let me know your thoughts/ comments. Have I made things better? Worse? No different?

Web 2.0 - An intro in 5 minute

Today I thought I'd watch clips on YouTube about Web 2.0, having done a fair bit of reading and experimenting in the last couple of weeks, and ended up spending a huge amount of time just "Tubelooping"!

Some clips were very technical, others very wordy but the clip below really appealed to me so I thought I'd post it on my blog! I really enjoyed the visual connections it made between the technical language and what the terms actually refer to, and the cleverness of it kept my attention right to the end!

I also found that a line from a Tim O'Reilly clip entitled "State of the Internet Operating System" really stuck with me - "create more value than you capture" (O'Reilly 2010) - as it feels like a pretty good way of summing up the ethos of Web 2.0.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Who do you think I am...

Following on from yesterdays reflection on literacies, and their relevance to my practice, I have been looking back at my blog entries and wondering whether the perception I have of myself is in any way similar to how other people view me?

I can now articluate that the changes I've made to my blog have been instigated by my attempts to present myself in a certain way:
  • Design - how would someone coming to my blog for the first time perceive me? As Lankshear says "when we look at someone's weblog we might well find that much of the meaning to be made from the content has to do with who we think the blog writer is" (2007, 4)
  • Post headings - if you were to flick through my blog would you want to read past the first entry? Do they add to the meaning or the context? 
  • Entries (1) - do I limit the accessiblility of each post by the language/ literacies I use. Does variety (writing, pictures, videos) within a post increase it's intelligibility?
  • Entries (2) - does the post have the same meaning to others that it does to me? And in my articulation am I thinking about what meaning others will take from my posts; writing what I think others might want to read?
I  think that the changes that I have made are partly in response to what I have seen in other people's blogs, what I find positive and what I find negative, and partly in response to what I feel is the best way to present myself.

I do write and then read/ edit every blog before I post it although, on reflection, this is mainly to organise my thoughts in a more user-friendly way rather than to curb the "me" in order to present someone "different" or "better".

I can see that I am biased by my background/ knowledge and so colour my writing from a unique palette but if I do so is this a good thing, a bad thing, or the very nature of Discourse?

It would be interesting to hear what other people are thinking about the blog experience so far and to have feedback on my blog too...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Who do I think I am...

Sadly I was unable to attend the campus session on the 9th October due to my working hours but I was really pleased to see that Rosemary McGuinness had posted up a brilliantly informative blog about what went on.

I decided that as well as reading through the blog I'd also take part as I go along so that I could discover some of the ideas/ have some of the thoughts for myself before reading further.

So far, I've only got to the first paragraph as I found myself immersed in, and reflecting on, the first article by Lankshear (Sampling "the new" in new literacies, 2007), which is on the resource list on the libguides page:


Having read through just the first few pages I found that I have already had several thoughts about how it might relate to aspects of my practice:

  • I spend a lot of my time communicating with parents and employers via email and text message, which requires me to keep language succinct, straightforward and clear. But to whom? Am I just thinking about what I can understand from my communications, with my social background and knowledge-in-practice, or am I presenting the information in a way that is accessible to all the people I am trying to reach.
  • When reading articles, blogs, books, etc. am I blinkered/ limited in my understanding by my background and/ or personal world view? How able am I to take an objective viewpoint if something doesn't fit neatly into my knowledge-base, or calls what I "know" into question?
  • Do I gravitate towards discourse that I feel supports my point of view and shy away from or dismiss things that don't?
  • In dealing with communications from parents and students am I sometimes "mis-reading" the intention or only seeing it from my side of the fence?
All these questions I have asked myself and, in all honesty, I cannot, yet, answer them!

I like to think that I am open to, and understanding of, other people's differing backgrounds and take care, when writing letters or emails, that I consider the language that I use and the variety of people I am trying to communicate with. I know that for a lot of my parents, english is not their mother-tongue - do I communicate effectively or is a lot of what I write unintelligible? Is there a better way for me to communicate information? Perhaps I can find a way to present it in several different forms...

I'll definitely think more about literacies when writing in the future and will hopefully be able to answer a few more questions as I go along.

I'm really looking forward to carrying on with my post-campus-session session!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

This just in...

I've just got in from work and my inbox had a google alert that sent me to an article at georgiacomo.org.  The short article was about reference services and their relevancy to students in today's Web 2.0 generation but embedded within the text was a link to something called Zotero, which turns out to be a Web 2.0 application that might be very useful for doing this course...
It seems to be a research tool that sits in the browser itself and gives you a one click option to store articles, etc. in one place and then can bring them up for you, when you want them. How useful would that be when writing essays and you need to pull up information or a quote!! It might also be a great way to organise and collect articles by other professionals that are relevant to, and will help expand my knowledge for, my professional practice. I'm too tired to play with it tonight but I'm going to have a good look at it tomorrow and see if it's as useful as I think it might be!

(Apologies if this is a rambling mess but I'm tired and excited, which is never a winning combination!)

Monday, 8 October 2012

'Starting out on BAPP'

Ok, so I now know how to embed a video into my blog but I still can't seem to get it into my video sidebar! If at first you don't succeed...

A time for reflection...

I thought I'd spend this morning reflecting back on the tasks I've done so far, the other blogs I've seen and the reading I've done on Web 2.0:

My blog seems to be working properly and the links that I've added all seem to be easily accessible. I'd like to link my 'Starting out on BAPP' clip into my video section on the page but, as yet, I have been struggling to achieve this. My main reason for wanting to do it is so that, in the future, pictures and videos can be accessed easily without people having to wade through each individual blog post to find them - one of the main points about Web 2.0, as I understand it, is being able to access information easily and without having to invest huge amounts of time searching for information.

I'm happier with the second version of my profile, it's a little more indepth than the first draft and gives more information about where I am currently in my professional career. I'm going to keep looking at it over the next few days and making changes and improvements.
I have really enjoyed looking at all the other blogs I've accessed so far as it has given me ideas on how to improve my own, things to thing about and reflect on, and made me feel more connected to other students and advisors, and ultimately the course itself.

I've also looked again at the Reader for this set of tasks and have been trying to see where and how I can use Web 2.0 tools to benefit both my professional practice and my students/ parents more.
I've found a lot of youtube clips that demonstrate syllabus work and seen some videos that other teachers have posted where they demonstrate facing away from the camera how to do certain exercises, is this perhaps something that I can use to give my students the opportunity to reinforce exam settings outside of class?
I've also found that using Google Alerts (google.com/alerts) has been really helpful in sourcing other articles and information on the topics relevant to my study so far. In particular I have enjoyed this video clip - Flash Professional: Communicating Web 2.0 Through Design - Part 1 | lynda.com - on making Web 2.0 user-friendly:


I've found that it got me thinking about how best, and succinctly, to present things, something that I think is useful not only in web-based applications but also in other aspects of my professional practice, emails to parents, exam information, class timetables, etc.

With so much information at my fingertips I feel a little overwhelmed but I do think that by keeping informed, widening my outlook, and reflecting on the relevance and benefits of such information/ tools to my professional practice I can begin to make better choices/ have more options in how I can better connect with my students/ parents/ employers both now and in the future.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Task 1c

I've finally managed to do my video clip for 'Starting out on BAPP' so here it is:


It was such a lovely afternoon that I felt I had to sit in my garden to record it, although I think I got heckled by a pigeon at one point!

Please let me know what you think (about the clip not the pigeon!!)

I'm feeling full of energy and enthusiasm this morning and so have started the day by uploading two new pictures to flickr account. They were taken yesterday, by the very lovely Tania, whilst I was teaching my Grade 5's. It's quite odd seeing myself in action and gives me an insight into what my students get to see on a daily basis!

I have also been reading more blogs profiles and, being particularly inspired by Jane Capers blog, it made me realise how I want to show more about me in my profile. I've added a couple more lines to my original profile, but at the moment I can't seem to get it to show up on my blog (even though it is clearly there when I go to google+). I'll be looking into that later...

I listened to the podcast that Rosemary McGuinness posted on her blog and found it both reassuring, that a lot of students struggle to organise their time/ studies, and helpful, with all the ideas for structuring and planning. I found Tara Brabazon's last words very inspiring as she not only talks about the reflexive nature essential to being a good scholar, and how important it is to recognise the changes that take place but also of the importance of enjoying the process of study.

I'm off to fuel my brain now, as I'm meeting friends for lunch, but I'm looking forward to planning then, hopefully, tackling Task 1c this afternoon!

Friday, 5 October 2012

I've just been checking my emails and saw the I.S.T.D. e-news letter had arrived so I started scanning through it and saw this:


I thought it was presented in an interesting way, although I felt the pages flicked by a little too quick to really read the information sometimes. Nothing really knew, I realise, but I thought it might be of interest (and it's only 3.48 long!).

It seems that Web 2.0 is on everyone's mind this month!!

Task 1d - round one!

contact sheet 1contact sheet 2contact sheet 3black and white (large)

seraclops' photostream on Flickr.
Found these old pictures of me from back in my college days. They were taken by a friend of mine, Alan Mascall (who is now an awesome graphic designer), and were part of a photo session we did at my house to try and get some head shots/ portfolio pictures. I think they're (technically) the first ever pictures of me as a qualified teacher as they were taken just before graduation!
My flickr account is now all set up and I'll try and add a few more pics to my blog over the next few days. I hope I have linked them correctly, please let me know if there are any problems.

Task 1b

I've been reading Reader 1 this morning, which, having already looked at the 2006 Tim O'Reilly article - What is Web 2.0, has given me a lot more understanding of what Web 2.0 stands for, and the possibilities it opens up for networking and social/ professional interaction.
I'm also reading the second Donald Schon book - Educating the Reflective Practitioner - at the moment, and with both lots of information and ideas floating around in my head I had a moment of inspiration!
If the modern attitude toward professional practice has been undermined and given a bad press because of the secrecy that, in the past, has surrounded professional knowledge and the misuse of this professional standing by those seeking to line their own pockets or keep others down then could Web 2.0 not only be a useful tool for the professional (to network, swap ideas, solve problems, communicate to his audience, etc.) but help to make more transparent and accessible to the non-professional the knowledge and art of practice therefore reducing scepticism and rebuilding trust?

I think that in the last couple of years I have started to become aware of the need to build better relationships with both my students and the parents of my students, within the boundaries of professional/ client. I have found that keeping parents regularly updated with information and feedback brings a more supportive environment and helps to identify problems in their early stages rather things getting out of hand. I've moved into email and mobile communication, which gives most of my students and parents access to me outside of working hours, and I've started to use skype to communicate both with other teachers and my students. Perhaps by using more Web 2.0 applications (youtube, flickr, etc.) I can create an even better relationship with both students and parents...

I'm still struggling with the ethical side of putting videos/ photos of my students in the public domain and this is one of the reasons why I am having a bit of trouble with Task 1d. My work obviously involves my students but I am not going to be able to put any pictures of them up on my blog, however I think, as this is mainly a task to develop a skill rather than a showcase of work I have produced, then I can find a way to fulfill the task without compromising my current ethical standpoint.

So much to think about over the weekend!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


I've done the first draft of my blog profile. The writing of which has proved more difficult than I expected as initially it was far too long, more of an essay on who I am rather than a profile, but now I think it might be a bit ordinary and not read any better than a list of things. I think I need to get more of my personality into it but without making it too wordy or lengthy!

The questions I'm ask myself right now, if the blog profile is the initial meeting between myself and other professionals/ public, are:
Would I be interested enough to read on just from my profile?
If I were looking for a teacher to join my staff would I consider contacting me?...

Any feedback would be great!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I've spent this morning looking at some of the new blogs that have gone up on the  website and have found that I really wanted to read someone's blog if the design was light and fresh. With this in mind I have gone back to my own and totally changed the colour scheme/ design and added a photo under the title. Not sure it's quite what I want yet but I think that it's easier to read and less depressing to look at.

I've also added a couple of new sections to the page too. One for followers (although it's looking pretty sad and empty at the mo!) and the other so that I can link to videos and hopefully my youtube channel later on.

A busy couple of days has halted my progress on writing my profile but I'm hoping to get into a first draft tomorrow, that's if my work commitments allow it!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Personal statement

Today I thought I'd look back to see if there were any previous documents that might help me to create my profile and I found the personal statement that I submitted to Midd'x Uni. in January, when I first applied to get on the BAPP course.
I've read it through and, although I feel it's way too long and some bits lack relevance in this particular task, I think that some aspects of it could possibly be of use. I'm not sure the style of writing is quite right for a blog profile, as it seems a little too formal, and, from reading other people's blogs, I've found the more personal one's more engaging.

I've uploaded it here and would appreciate any thoughts/ comments:


(I can already see one thing that I have learnt from doing this course...that I should spell it practice!!)