Another fantastic event organised by the lovely Fiona Grant at Epsom Girls Grammar thanks to the other lovely Claire Amos.
There was a fantastic turnout of educators who were all generous in the sharing and learning of ideas. After a fast-paced SMACKDOWN, came three sessions where we grouped ourselves with like-minded others and took responsibility for our own learning.
This was an awesome chance for me and Florence Lyons to discuss F2F the issue of Minimally Invasive Education in a New Zealand context. Over the past two months Florence and I have been connecting via Skype (and Google+ hangouts) and Twitter to debate and discuss constructivism, the Khan Academy, and Minimally Invasive Education.
We were very fortunate to be joined by Margaret May, Chris Dillon, Helen King, Helen Squires,
and Stephanie Thompson. Meaningful conversations were had as to whether or not MIE can be achieved in a NZ context, much of which is documented here. The key message for me from this was:
Our role as teachers MUST change. We need to stop wasting our student's time by 'teaching' them banal content knowledge. This is quite simply because (as the late Arthur C Clarke said to Sugata Mitra):
If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, they should be...
We also discussed the 'barriers' to this paradigm shift in education. Such barriers were the expectations of what learning and education looks like to students, parents, management, and the government.
In the secondary school context, assessments such as NCEA and timetabling can work as a barrier to MIE.
As an aside we discussed the ways in which we teach writing in the primary school context. I was delighted to hear that there are primary schools in NZ that do not arbitrarily dictate certain writing genres each term. It is always good to have ones faith restored in the NZ education system!
We will continue to practise, record, and document the 'glimpses' of MIE we do in our classrooms in the hope that one day it will become the norm. If these educators are anything to go by we will achieve our vision