Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A learning posture--

Stand up straight; watch your posture. Do you remember that or is it a product of my generation? I heard it lots when I was young; even had to practice walking with a book on my head—my folks really stressed it and I never had good posture to their chagrin—

In the classroom, I did think about posture-- from a different perspective, always searching for a more accomplished practice. Initially, my posture was upright, in the front of the class, talking, giving information, and telling. My “teaching posture” evolved -- I was often sitting, in the back or with a group of students or a student, sometimes prodding, questioning, and listening. Yet I’ve noticed that my initial posture still is in vogue in many classrooms.

And as I’ve been involved in various learning communities more recently, I’ve noticed that teachers seem to be so comfortable in “teaching postures” which mirror my initial one, that it is translated into their professional learning too. I’m really feeling, and I could be wrong, that negatively impacts moving forward toward a global 21st century practice. So lately I’ve been spending time pondering on a learning posture-- what it looks like, what it sounds like, and how to help teachers adopt one.

I’m wondering, after reading and thinking, might a “learning posture” be characterized as:

Curious and Inquisitive

So I am curious- what do you think? Should we be focusing on a different conversation than the one we are having? Should we be re-envisioning education in ways that are radically different? And if so- How do we move from talking to doing? Or is that important? --Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

What does this new design look like? What are the big questions regarding learning, teaching and schooling that we need to begin to address? How will the roles of elementary schools and high schools begin to evolve? How will we address the divide issues that these opportunities outside of school create? And how do we personally plan for these changes as learners, parents and teachers? --Will Richardson

My focus for the next while will be an experiment as well as a creative outlet. I’ve created a space to publish fictional narratives where my true identity is intentionally obscured. I want to see what happens to the questions of digital identity, social structures and relationships, and network dynamics when the identity of the author is replaced with a fictional character – and the readers are aware that the "I" and "me" in the blog entries refer to someone who does not actually exist. –Mike Bogle

Tentative and Unfinished

Examples of “process as text” are recordings of classroom conversations, considered temporary and fleeting, that become something more than a passing conversation when they exist as video or audio recordings. These types of texts stay fixed – we can’t really go back and change the flow of a conversation – but our finished products, when published digitally, are easily and perhaps even secretly editable and revisable after publication. So we’re able to fix the temporary and fiddle with the permanent. That seems interesting and worthy of further exploration. –Bud theTeacher

That’s all I’ll say for now. I hope to revisit these ideas on occasion. I also hope you’ll help me think through them. – Jon Becker

Much to continue to mull over here: some ideas to tinker with, and some practices to encourage, but still very much a set of “conjectures and dilemmas” (Bruner) to keep exploring. – Gardner Campbell

Collaborative and Participatory

I was part of an interesting discussion on Twitter Friday night and I wanted to share it here, as well as add a few final thoughts. Participants that I reference are Bud Hunt, Brian Crosby, Dean Shareski, Anne Van Meter, Barbara Barreda, and Karen Fasimpaur. Thanks to all of you for helping me think through these ideas. – Karl Fisch


That’s one of those really concise shift statements that makes me bend my own frame a bit. I think too often I fall into looking at these tools and wonder what they can add to our classrooms and our teaching when the real question is how can our classrooms and teaching add capacity to the tools. – Will Richardson

When I began mulling this over I had not anticipated that I would be including a sense of unfinished business; yet I have begun to feel that is particularly important. I’m not yet satisfied that I’ve captured the essence of a “learning posture” yet am feeling pretty strongly that it’s worth pursuing, especially avenues for helping teachers with an awareness of their posture and how that may affect not only their own professional learning but also that of others.

Might it not be possible that such a focus may open doors for many to possibilities for learning not yet imagined?

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