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One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

It's good to talk!

This morning I moderated a twitter chat for #globalclassroom, something I participate in as often as I am able. The topic and questions are shared beforehand and I always try to collect some resources and reflect prior to the session to make it easier to keep up. When the time comes we have just one hour, lots of new people to meet and engage with and you never quite know how it will play out. 

Today's session was a subject close to my heart: how do we ensure that our learners have opportunities to develop attitudes to learning (or "habits of mind") that prepare them for the future as best we can. This is part of the role of an educator that I think is more complex than any other - the opportunity to support the acquisition of skills for life compared with simple transmission of information to pass exams. I'm not saying we don't have to do the latter, we do but it should not be at the expense of the development of the whole person. The amazing truth is we can do both well if we capitalise on the affordances of our technologies and our human creativity. 

I need to take a short digression on this topic. I didn't have time to share these during the chat. Take a look at these recent examples of discussions around this in the UK:
Tom Bennett @tombennett71 wrote this in the Guardian. I agree with his conclusion but I wish it were not framed in the usual dichotomy of facts vs skills, this is not a helpful distinction, I have blogged about before. Also this week, shared via twitter was a fabulous letter written to young learners at the end of their Primary school years showing how we can help to frame our need (parents?employers? politicians?) for measurable short term results in a wider context, that of becoming rather than being. (Interesting eh?)

Anyway, back to our #globalclassroom chat this morning. We wanted to draw out a set of global habits of mind, qualities that are necessary to interact effectively (whether as a young person or an adult) with others across national boundaries and contexts. The 16 identified here (p11) are all relevant but I would say from my experience of virtual exchanges and international telecollaboration that when languages, other cultures and technology are involved you have to take each of these to greater depths to succeed. Believe me, this is extreme HoM and deserves recognition and time to achieve within our existing educational frameworks. I await the #globalclassroom archives to see if we identify or describe others that are not simply other ways of saying what has been said already. Meanwhile I remain grateful to my international PLN and the #cmc that supports my learning for my ever expanding, rhizomatic learning happening in my home over a cup of tea and tweet deck :)


  1. Julia Skinner (@theheadsoffice)19 July 2014 at 15:28

    I thoroughly enjoyed this morning Teresa. I must take a leaf from your book & do some research before hand. The link I was sent only had the times so I didn't have the questions!! I thought it went well. Don't forget to let me know about possible links for 100WC with HE!

    1. many thanks Julia, it was lovely working with you, just shows how team work and collaboration can overcome anything :) I will investigate those who train teachers for language teaching, I am sure they could contribute to 100WC and english teachers working abroad - the stories are a great resource for keeping up to date with real use of English.

  2. Hi Teresa,
    Thanks for sharing thoughts and insights with all of us who missed the chat.

    I couldn't agree more with you as to how grateful I am for my international PLN. Sharing this group with quite a few of my "extended educators' family" and collaborating in international projects I have come to realise how precious such a network can be for personal development as well as for the in our students of an international identity and communication skills which will be an invaluable asset for their lives in the multi-cultural society of the future.

    I just loved the Habits of Mind you shared. We are currently running a Character development programme in our language school, aiming at helping students reinforce character "strengthts" such as grit, zest, gratitude, optimism, self-control and so on. The list in Habits of Mind actually breaks down or describes the effect of some of these.

    I definetely want to have a look at the book. Do you happen to know it comes in e-book edition?

    Love from Athens, Greece
    Effie Kyrikakis

    1. hi Effie thanks so much for taking the time to comment on the blog, lovely to know that you are also connected educators. The Habits of Mind work was new to me but you may find this interesting: http://www.mindfulbydesign.com/sites/default/files/HOM-Sampler.pdf . I must say it is a great starting point to designing for lifelong learning.
      love from the UK,

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and resources, Teresa. I thoroughly enjoyed chat #2. It played out a little differently than the first chat, and I am sure chat #3 will take on a life of its own too. This is a really great, thought-provoking topic.