The last few weeks have been really inspiring ones for me. I've already blogged about how uplifting I found the #MFLDevon Teachmeet down in Plymouth last Thursday. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn, something that you don't get to do all that often when you're sat writing materials or editing projects. I enjoyed being able to share ideas with people, and discussing how to improve what people are doing.
On Saturday I was also delighted to spend the day working with the newly appointed team of Route 39 Academy and Chris Wakefield from High tech High in San Diego- one of the world's most innovative and inspirational schools and, in Chris, a truly inspirational individual. A day spent discussing the logistics and pedagogy behind Project Based Learning, building on the must-read concepts developed by Ron Berger (honestly, please, please read his Ethic of Excellence, even if you have no interest in PBL), really got me thinking again about the nature of outstanding work and developing our students for "the real world" rather than just developing them for grades- a concept theat I am passionate about. The ideas that were being developed by the team were truly outstanding and I'm really excited to be involved in a very dynamic, modern and different approach to learning and education in the area.
Which got me thinking about how I'm spending my time at the moment and my own approaches to language teaching. Those of you who have worked and discussed language learning with me over the years know that one of the things that excites me most is redeveloping existing Schemes of Work and ensuring that both the content and delivery are right- that the content stimulates passion, understanding of the world and a deep desire to discuss and know more and that the delivery methods develop independence, creativity and a high level of linguistic skills. What we need to avoid is developing learners who expect the teacher to do the work- leaving staff members exhausted at the end of the day and learners without the capacity to think on their feet, either with language or with logic! Which is why I'm excited at the moment. Lots of departments are looking again at the way they do things- we're all in a process of change. If you are in that position and fancy a learning chat at any point, give me a yell, and hopefully during the course of the months ahead I'll be able to blog a bit about some of the changes taking place in schools I'm working with and reflections on our experiments and experiences!