For those of you that read the last two posts, you will be aware that the focus for this Staff Development Day was looking at the generational divide. How were our messages received? Did staff enjoy the day or did they see it as a waste of time?
The whole school attended the first session on Generation Y and the Paradigm Shift. I have to say that the presentation was really well received and Lynda (my co-presenter) and I were happy with staff’s engagement with the topic.
They loved splitting up into their generations to brainstorm what their collective values were and much of what they presented was spot on with what the research listed as their key characteristics. They made really good observations on how these differences would translate in the classroom and you could see the internal ticking over of what they could be (should be) doing differently to better engage Gen Y in the classroom.
Unfortunately, due to the engagement of staff, we didn’t get to finish everything we had planned to present. I was only able to briefly touch on Mark Treadwell’s new paradigm shift (see presentation in earlier post) but again this was explored by some teachers later in the day. The key message though was achieved – ICT, multimedia and conceptual learning are the ways of the future and we need to embrace the change so as to provide the best possible education for current and future student cohorts.
The comments at morning tea were really positive but it was also interesting to note that, true to their generation, they still though their values etc were the best (correct) ones! We might not have changed everything but we certainly got them talking and thinking and that has to be a good thing.
In my later session, Engaging Students of Today, the discussions continued as we looked at practical ways to engage and connect with Gen Y and Z. The main ones I focused on were building relationships, telling stories to connect their learning to the real world, and stepping back to be facilitators of learning and regular positive feedback. (see presentation in earlier post)
There was some lively discussion and some were looking dubious about focusing on relationship building at the expense of content and information. However, they acknowledged the need to try new things to better engage their students – after all that was why they had chosen my session.
My challenge to them for the term was to:
* Find out something new about as many students as possible and take an active interest in their lives outside of the classroom
* Actively plan where they can place stories into their units of work
* Think about the concepts they want them to achieve and the questions they will ned to pose to head them in the right direction
* Regularly, and appropriately praise the students
Teachers stopped and talked to me, and the other presenters, about how much they enjoyed the day (even if they didn’t get much individual planning time) and how relevant they though the sessions were. The discussions continued on over the rest of the week which was fantastic to observe and, as I wandered some of the corridors, I could actually hear teachers engaging their students with some of the suggestions we had made. The students and their teachers were engaged, laughing and focused. Nice.