I have included this artefact because it demonstrates my participation in the professional community TeachMeet, networking with other teachers and contributing towards my professional development.
This artefact links with the following teaching standards (NSW Institute of Teachers, 2005):
6.1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of the available professional development opportunities and the importance of personal planning to ongoing professional growth.
6.1.6 Prepare for and contribute to discussions about the teaching profession or subject/content.
The event described in my artefact was one that I attended at my practicum school. TeachMeet is a collective of teachers from across Sydney that meet together to discuss new ideas, network, catch up and debrief. The format for TeachMeet is a particular one: each TeachMeet is centred around a key idea or topic on which each talk or presentation is based. Some of the presenters select to give a 7 minute “pecha kucha” presentation (which consists of 20 slides of exactly 20 seconds each), whereas others give a 2 minute micro-presentation. This strict time limit prevents it from going over time and also ensures that the focus is on the core issue(s).
The theme for this particular TeachMeet was collaboration. Some of the topics were:
- Social media, collaboration and learning
- Using Edmodo to collaborate between classrooms
- Collaboration in the Visual Arts classroom
- Collaborating with NASA
I learned two main things as a result of attending TeachMeet. Firstly, teachers work best when actively engaged in community with one another, as it gives us a chance to network, share ideas and collaborate with one another (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995). As teachers we can learn a great deal from one another, whether this is face-to-face or online (via Twitter, using personal learning networks (PLN) or by blogging). Depending on the school community and staffroom culture, teaching can be a very isolating profession and so teachers need to support one another as fellow professionals (Hindin, Morocco, Mott, & Aguilar, 2007).
Secondly, teachers need to be lifelong learners – we need to keep learning and growing throughout our career. Often we as teachers develop a particular area of interest that others can learn and grow from, so opportunities to share and help others to learn are very valuable for us as a profession. I also saw how professional development that incorporates discussion and collaboration is a very effective model of student-centred learning. It almost goes without saying that if we are trying to learn how to encourage group work and collaboration, it would be hypocritical to learn it by sitting in a lecture-style format.
Attending TeachMeet was a valuable opportunity for me to begin developing my own personal learning network (PLN) of other Sydney teachers. I learned a great deal about the importance of collaboration and high-quality professional development in my career as a teaching professional.