Last week on Twitter, I had a conversation over a few hours with @IMsporticus, Dean Dudley, Doug Gleddie, Andy Vasily, Dr Ash Casey, MrsLieke, TimFletcher12 and Mark Williams came in at the end. Phew!
The central take-aways of our conversation for me was the interest in how we should not continually high-fiving ourselves or using social media for this platform, but about how we can use our PLNs for a much richer conversation that involves feedback and critique of our work as #physed teachers and learners of our craft.
There is a lot of information on twitter and the original people who put the hashtags up for PE people to use must be amazed at the sheer volume that goes up under those tags. Recently there have been new hashtags that make it easier to filter more content such as #PEblog which means it is easier now to find specific content which I appreciate as #physed and #pegeeks have become congested and I wonder whether people consider that their work is open to critique from the wider community.
The debate I feel I am wondering about now is: Do we say something if we see a post or idea that goes against what we believe or teach? How do we go about critiquing work or offering suggestions when we don’t know the person that is sharing? The context of their post may be perfectly explained for them, at their school, in their career with their students but may not hold any relevance for another person. Should we be sharing our views on twitter of other’s work? Would that be better done on their blog in more than 140 characters and how do we go about doing that if we are not in a working relationship with them? Should we be using a hashtag about wanting critique or a purpose to our post?
For me, I feel that I have a handful of people that I would name on my blog post or idea if I wanted their critique, and I hope that if I add you as a name to something I am sharing, you will know that this means I know you have a proven track record in being honest and sharing your feedback on something I am grappling with or sharing for input or ideas. I am also open to feedback from the wider community and hope that this will happen as a comment on my blog (if that is what was shared) so that more conversation can be added to ideas and we can grow and learn about that topic together.
I also know who to go to to ask specific questions or generate ideas. Do you have those in your network? Do you know who will consistently have high expectations of your work and hold you accountable to them? Or are you looking for the high-five approach?
Recently I have been dipping in and out of twitter and relying on conversations from people who I have had learning chats with or read their work or can see that their philosophy or vision and approach is somewhat similar to mine – and I know I am growing as a learner because of these interactions, but if I limit myself to these then I am missing out on the next person to add to my ‘go-to’ list and so I need to keep dipping back in to read the tags that interest me and find those people who are leading the charge in their domains. I wonder how others are using Twitter to grow their own brains.
So, this has led me to consider what I share on Twitter and own a failure rather than something I am more proud of.
This year I have had several Grade 8 students who I consider to be very talented athletic people. They are not just physically capable but they have the knowledge and they interact with their friends and others to grow as athletes in a major way. I have really tried to accommodate them in my planning but I have struggled to really push them beyond what they have already learnt and I know that this is a failure for me this year. I have set tasks that have incorporated a lot of interaction, sharing of knowledge and evaluating their learning and making their thinking visible, but it is clear that I now need to become a stronger advocate for how they are learning skills and strategies in sport/games and grow their ability to transfer their existing and emerging skills into new games and to learn more and extend them physically. I am going to need to seek out support as they move into High School as they are stronger and fitter than most kids I teach and they are so excited in PE to play and be active so I need to do less written work and give them the tools to be soar in PE at my school with my facilities and their peers. I will need to consider this for Grade 9 PE and also the units we teach. I will also need to find people to help me out and I will need to learn more about specific sports in this process. I will need to find experts in Net Games and Striking/Fielding games as these are not my speciality and I will need to take the time to do this with these kids firmly in mind. I have let them down, and I feel like I have let myself down in this process.
Sharing over. It is time to get planning for how to make this change and I know a few people to ask….