On Friday, during a PD day to address language learning across the curriculum and delve deeper into SPELTAC, faculty from the International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) from primary and secondary came together to:
- develop a shared understanding about documentation for learning
- get familiar with the six SPELTAC practices that amplify language acquisition
- develop a group inquiry into one of these practices
We started by celebrating 100 SPELTAC members and 168 posts written since SPELTAC was launched a month ago, which is an amazing level of productivity! Participants have been blogging about Twitter, Connectivism, multilingualism in the classroom, extending students’ (academic) language and much more. We haven’t even really started on the courses yet, so this is a promising start.
Documenting learning through blogging
While peer observation is a powerful model of professional development for teachers, blogging can add a deeper dimension to teacher learning. Blogging can potentially make visible:
- thought processes teachers go through to make decisions and links to previous knowledge (metacognition and reflective practice)
- curation of resources and readings and links to professional development (revealing how they have used these to further their learning)
- how they have shared with other teachers and what they have learned from feedback and how based on this feedback they have made adjustments
- who they are connected to in the ‘global staffroom’, valuable networks
Blogging can also be a powerful way to take ownership of learning and serve as a memory aid for teachers. When teachers experience connected learning and blogging for learning, they will come to see the value of this important skill for student learning, too. Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano writes extensively about documenting4learning on her blog Langwitches, and her work was the inspiration for this part of the workshop. I recommend you visit her site and follow her on Twitter (
#documenting4learning #heutagogy #amplifiEDU), particularly if you are interested in blogging for learning for your students!
If blogging can make all these things visible, could we come up with a set of criteria to specify what blog posts should contain, what they should make visible and how they were responded to through feedback? Participants browsed through SPELTAC blogs, to see if they could make some generalizations about qualities of blogs for learning. Here are some responses:
Getting familiar with the six practices
Participants were then asked to choose one SPELTAC practice and make notes as to how they were addressing this in their classrooms. They were asked to move around the room and when the music stopped, find someone with a different practice and exchange information. They repeated this process five times so that all practices got covered. I forgot to mention to participants that this is a good EAL strategy under ‘talk and engagement’!
A moment of quiet reflection followed and participants were asked to choose a practice, and form an inquiry group.
Following this, participants came up with an inquiry statement and inquiry questions. It was inspiring to see the type of inquiries people came up with. The level of engagement was high; people collaborated and took ownership of their learning. The participants, as Kath Murdoch says, ‘did the heavy lifting’. I can’t wait to learn from these inquiry groups!
Inspired by Kath Murdoch’s idea, participants were asked to complete a first thinking about their inquiry, the second will be done in March. The idea is to document this growth in their final project, which can be any creative form of expression, from a video to a workshop. (Expectations for the staff-led PD day in March can be found under course requirements tab on the course pages). We viewed this stellar example by Nicky Hambleton, COETAIL graduate and teacher of art at UWCSEA.
The exit ticket
Participants were asked to complete a survey which asked them to rate themselves on the six practices and blogging for learning. It will be interesting to see what growth can be documented in March!
Thanks to everyone for a great morning of learning!