A universal need for a change in classroom practices seems like a thread that unites Educators on the global scale. But this need for a change may be far less universal when it comes to developing programs and implementing them in classrooms. We work with students of different age groups, cultural environments, social backgrounds and in schools with different levels of tech equipment.
Do you make a difference if all the change you introduce lives only within the walls of your classroom?
It's in human nature to do something by force of habit. Kids learn from the teachers they love and connect with. Should we change the things that already work? Conversely, how can we tell if more can be accomplished unless we try something new?
Never before has the generation we teach been so different from us teachers in so many ways. The challenges and the responsibilities are greater, too. Our students are fast thinkers with short attention spans. They can multitask and bring fantastic results and at the same time have a false sense of knowledge because they mistake being exposed to information with "owning" that information.
Our students adapt fast and are excited to learn if we nourish that excitement and let them explore at their own pace. But how do we do that?
I am well aware I may be facing new questions on my path of professional growth:
What can I learn from my students? How do I do that without losing credibility?
What can I learn from colleagues in my team? What can I give in return?
What can I learn from my colleagues from around the world? What can I give in return?
How fast can I put something new in practice? How fast can I expect the results?
And the last and the most important question: Are my students happy when they come to school?
In order to find these answers I decided to leave my comfort zone a few years ago. I joined the global edu community through CEESA, EdChange Global and numerous online conferences, Twitter Chats, blogs... I exposed myself because, frankly, I needed a second opinion on my vision of education. I am responsible for a team of twenty teachers and about five hundred students. I needed to know if we were on the right path. What I got in return has surpassed all my expectations. In only three years we connected with students and teachers globally. My friend and partner in crime for 25 years prof. Anita Poljak and I created two series of ESL textbooks, involving our students and parents in the process. We introduced communication skills training in all of the programs at Butkovic Education Centre upgrading that with new ideas every year.
The journey continues. I am happy and honoured to be in the organising team of #CEduAD and host a session at Connected Educator Appreciation Day #CEduAD with the wonderful Ian Stuart. Our session: Encouraging Change in the Classroom: Planning and Practice is the first of 8 panel sessions on this remarkable event and starts at 3.00 pm GMT (10.00 am CST).
Leave your comfort zone and join the journey. This event is dedicated to teachers who dare question themselves and open up to a new, global experience. One thing is universal for sure - these virtual gatherings open new horizons for all of us.