Last night I participated in the first ever #teachdifferent Twitter chat, ably facilitated by @kaysoclearn.
Although the technology took a little while to navigate (perhaps due to the large glass of wine at my elbow), I quickly got into the flow of sharing my thinking with “like minded friends” (as @lesleywhiting refers to us). Not just the #teamnorthern usual suspects either; we were joined by graduates and colleagues from elsewhere, who share our Social Purpose mission. Great to see WEA colleagues looking in too, we share so many profoundly held values.
I found the live chat exciting and challenging – easier to navigate once I moved from my laptop to my phone too. This is technology which is designed to be used on the move. Although at times it felt a bit chaotic, Kay’s skill was to keep us on task and some clear themes emerged:
– our shared and explicated values, which contribute to the social capital of our Community of Praxis and bind us together
– the difficulty of articulating what #teachdifferent is, to colleagues unfamiliar with the concept
– the revolutionary nature of our work
– how tough it is to begin to think for ourselves
I continued to reflect on this last as I went about my evening. It’s not so long ago that I learned to think for myself, through studying the Thinking Environment with Nancy Kline. Those components and applications have become so embedded in my life that I sometimes forget to give them credit for helping me to be the person I am, as well as the teacher I am. Nancy describes the Thinking Environment as a “way of being in the world” and I’m glad to be able to honour that privilege once again today.
This first #teachdifferent Twitter chat (reproduced by Kay on Storify, follow the link below) coincides with an intense period of assessing Cert Ed/PGCE portfolios and the same themes are emerging as I have the honour of glimpsing the teaching philosophies which have been developed by each student on the course. Again, I am reflecting the importance of the Community of Praxis in providing fertile ground for people to find out for themselves who they are, as educators.