Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Task Two: Reflections

By taking part in Mindlab as a learner has enabled me to reflect on what it means to learn, and how I can use this to better direct my teaching.


I am a visual learner and prefer to express myself through writing.  The options for assessments to be presented as videos or presentations did not, initially, interest me much. The first assessment being delivered as a video pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was rewarding though, and I found that the process of scripting and presenting my ideas allowed for a different approach to the tasks than I may have found with just text. I found myself making videos for four out of the six assessments in the first 16 weeks. I found that the time limits on a video compared to the word count for documents created a need for clarity of ideas and thought when presenting. 

Student work after a flipped learning session

This change in approach is something I have adopted in the classroom. After starting the course, I began offering assessments to my students in a variety of media. Students who have struggled with written methods of communication started showing real creativity and understanding of content and ideas in other formats. It's allowed me to assess the understanding, rather than the medium. 

"Guide on the side, not sage on the stage"

As part of my work for the DCL course, I investigated the use of flipped learning with my students. I trialled it and used it as the foundation for two of my assessments .

Students reviewing a flipped learning resource

The original model of flipping the classroom was not a great success, but the experience has been transformative. My school has an "80/20" policy where teachers are expected to only instruct for 20% of the lesson, the other 80% being spent on group or independent tasks. 

Flipping the classroom has challenged me to step aside and let the students lead the learning. Actively supervising during tasks, being available to support rather then feeling the need to be at the front of the class all the time, has been hugely rewarding and the work my students has done this term has been among the highest quality of any I've seen. By redefining my role within the lesson I'm helping my students expand theirs. 

Guiding from the side- commenting on a student's work using docs while they're working on it

Is this going to be in the test?

This question has to be the bane of any teacher's life. When I started Mindlab, I promised myself that I would throw myself into every task, whether it related to the assessments or not. 

Very quickly though, I realised that this was not going to be as feasible as I had hoped. . Assessments, NCEA, reports, planning and the need for some non-work time meant that against my better nature, I found myself having to prioritise the learning and among the various people I sat with I heard the same refrain: "Why are we learning this if it's not in the assessment?"

I've reflected on this as showing the need for learning to have value, and the importance of recognising that the priorities of teachers and learners will not always be the same. I found that since starting at Mindlab, I've become more attuned to the priorities of my learners, and accepted that a task they don't value doesn't mean that they are wrong, or I'm failing them, but that it might be a matter of meeting their more holistic needs. 


  1. Hi Roz,
    We like that your writing is clear and honest and the blog is carefully edited. It would be helpful to have name the illustrated photos in the post ( which you have done well in other posts). Also, would you consider trimming your posts a bit to make them more concise and meet the length requirements?

  2. Hi Mindlab! Thanks for the feedback. Have made the changes you suggested, should I resubmit my blogbook to the portal with the changes or is a draft OK?