It’s a week before #ecoo13 and I’ve just finished the slides for my presentation and now I’m reflecting. When I submitted an application to present at #ecoo13, I was trying to think about aspects of education that I don’t think are discussed or considered enough, but also what I personally enjoy about the conference. I actually struggled for a good long time and submitted pretty much right at the deadline, but the idea of co-learning with students (not colleagues) is a topic that I think gets lip-service but isn’t practiced in many classrooms. I also love the face to face conversations that I have with people in my PLN and other attendees so that is what my presentation will contain.
I have to be honest, though, I am not an expert on this topic and there is actually very little research on learning with students. Most of the research centred on learning with colleagues or supporting students as they learned, but not learning alongside students. The lack of information got me thinking and reflecting on my own practice. Do I learn alongside my students? The answer I think is both yes and no. I’m not afraid to say “I don’t know” but there are many times where when I know I’m going to be discussing something with students that I’m not completely familiar with, I do some background research. What would class be like if I didn’t do the background research? Would I lose credibility with the students or gain it? Are we ready in education for this kind of model? Historically, teachers have been the keepers of the information and even though the internet has blown this idea out of the water, the antiquated model of “the teacher” still exists.
In essence, what I’m hoping is that a variety of people choose to attend my session and we engage in a deep dialogue about what co-learning can look like in all different kinds of classrooms. I’m a secondary English teacher and I have ideas about how the English curriculum allows us to learn with our students but I have no idea what it would look like in a Math or Science or elementary interdisciplinary classrooms, but I would love to learn.