Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Removing irritants and conflict

Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou annointest my head with oil.

Shepherd leaders transform conflict and remove irritants.  Working in the education sector, we are often faced with conflicts, with others, with ideas and with policy.  We can become bogged down and irritated by the seemingly endless information that we receive.  
Working though my ETAD program, I have come to a place of deeper understanding, where I know what I believe in my core as an educator.  Relying on the ideas and structures I have explored in my courses, I can stand firm in what I believe.  This sureness help me to listen and discern the information I come across in my practice.  Some of my beliefs have changed and some have been solidified by what I have learned.  An important aha moment that I had was surrounding technology in the classroom.  As I said, I had worked with several teachers trying to bring their teaching and learning in line with 21st century realities.  It was a struggle, for them and for myself as I went back into my own classroom. It was a place of discomfort, trying to match the old with the new.  Personally, I get really excited by the possibilities that new technologies afford in teaching and learning.  I can be a quick shooter when it comes to trying new things.  Sometimes the new ideas and activities would go off without a hitch.  Other times, it just didn’t work, and I couldn’t really pinpoint why things didn’t turn out.  In my Masters journey, I was really able to explore different epistemologies, ways of knowing and doing.  Many of us learn about learning theory, about behaviorist, cognitive and constructivist theory in our undergrad. I had a basic understanding, and in the Foundations of Educational Technology course I really dug into these understanding of how we learn.  I was able to draw clear parallels to how I, and my students operated in the classroom.  It helped clarify for me how my presentation and use of new technologies in the classroom wasn’t quite aligned with understanding how we learn.  Returning to the basics of learning theory, I was better able to outline my strategies innovating with technology.  Framing my lessons based on these theories explicitly led to cleaner and more effective teaching.  

Trying to find the sweet spot, and not quite getting there can be especially irritating.  I know moving forward, as a shepherd leader, I will refer back to the basic structures of education I explored though my program to better manage irritants and conflicts around me.  

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