Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Goodbye Comfort Zone

So, the first full week of the 2013 academic year is only 11 hours away. With a million ideas racing around in my head, I have tried to create a plan of attack for a new (well, new for me) teaching style. Common sense and sanity suggest to trial it with one class and stick with the "tried and true" with the others, but common sense and sanity have never been genuine strengths of mine. My Year 9 Science, Year 11 Extension Science, Year 12 Chemistry and Year 13 Chemistry are all about to experience my own little teaching style (r)evolution!

Blog It

Tomorrow, I will take all of my classes to a computer suite and get them signed up to Blogger. Then, I will make them all authors of their respective class blogs. Every week, I will allocate a "team" of bloggers for each class. Their job for the week will be to film my teaching, film experiments, record any relevant notes and activities (in whatever format they see fit) and to give their opinions about the week in Science/Chemistry.

Film It

I started with this last year. It proved excellent for my own professional reflections (I talk way too fast when I teach, for one!), but it also made me "rewindable" for my students. It was great to see the experiments filmed too. I still have ethical issues about the students being filmed. We managed this last year by me being the only person who could be filmed; experiments can be filmed without showing identifying parts of the students. This will just have to be my approach this year too until the school develops a policy to govern this.

"Flip" It

I know, I know...get with the times, Matt. "Flipping" is so last decade! However, I pledge to get away from the mundane act of writing notes in class. This can be done at home. Students can look up the basics at home too. Class time is for those issues and questions and activities they cannot find quickly on Google or YouTube, or which don't have a black-or-white answer. Let's THINK people; that's what class time is for.


I need to reflect on the progress and to be honest about the real learning happening in my class. Are my students learning more despite not having to write notes any more? Are they fully engaged knowing they are not always personally responsible for keeping a record of the lesson every day? In short, I am freaking out about this! I am well-planned, but I do not know if I have planned for the unpredictable nature of the teenage creature.... Goodbye comfort zone, it was nice knowing you!

1 comment:

  1. WARNING! Make sure you set aside at least half an hour to get a class set up as authors of the blog. Also, make sure you have a student-based task for them to get on with while you manage signing them up and making them authors. Timing consuming, but so far, so good...