A quick blog post on the eve of “back to school”.
I thought I’d have a think about what I want to achieve in 2012.
I’m starting in an executive position this year, which is a little bit scary, but exciting and energising as well. I’m sure there will be lots of mistakes (and subsequently lots of learning) but I hope not to stuff it up too much. I know I have the vision, thirst for knowledge and dedication to do something half decent in this role, but well aware that it’ll take a little while to understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how things work (I hope my team is patient!). Besides simply surviving the very steep learning curve I’m about to experience, I have three things I really want to focus on in this role:
- Collaboratively reflect on current assessment practices and establish practical, evidence-based assessment practices that will inform programming and reporting.
- Work with the team to develop processes that ensure individual education plans are clear, meaningful, practical and are developed with parent and agency input.
- Hold meetings that people don’t yawn at. I want a team that’s engaged and has ownership of what we do.
At the classroom level, I’m also going to try a few new things.
- Blogging in special ed. I’m really looking forward to this. I haven’t seen any blogs produced by students with intellectual disabilities, so I’m not sure what to expect. But I’m going to give it a go. Kids with special needs can blow your mind with the appropriate accommodations and adjustments in place, so I’m ready for the challenge. There is so much assistive technology out there to allow these guys to be heard, that I know we can do it.
- Games-based learning and gamification. There are some real trailblazers within DEC doing some interesting stuff around these two ideas, and although I’m in the early stages of getting my head around the idea and reading the research on it, I can quite happily see how I could make strong and engaging links with syllabus outcomes with some of the Wii games I own, and can see plenty of benefits for kids with special needs, particularly kids with autism who have vestibular needs. So I’m dragging in the Wii that’s gathering dust in the spare room and we’re going to give GBL a go, and we’re going to be using Class Dojo to gamify learning tasks. We’ll see how it goes.
- Digital programming. Yep. My program is going to be out there, on display to the world. Makes me feel quite vulnerable, because like many teachers, I’m never close to 100% happy with how I program things and there will be a whole stack of things that people could quite easily wrinkle their noses at in disagreement. But the upside is that it will keep me on my toes, I’ll have access to it anywhere, parents can freely access it and if the nose-wrinklers can provide any constructive criticism, it may actually help me get some new ideas.
Anyway. It’s 11.35pm. The alarm is set for 6am. A brand new year in a brand new role in a brand new school awaits me tomorrow. I should probably go to bed.