While many of my colleagues are enjoying the first two weeks of summer, in what one would explain as being an beautiful summer with amazing weather. I am in an air conditioned room, with thirty nine other colleagues learning about learning. Learning about the best methodologies and strategies to assist students and teachers in their learning.
As a learning team, as individuals and as cohorts we have been looking at the many elements and aspects that effect, influence and increase learning and how as educators we would increase learning. We have looked at guided questions, socratic questioning, cognitive structures, voluntary change, modeling lessons and even reflective practice.
Aside from the overall theme of the conference which is:
Learning is created by the Learner
There is an underlying theme, a theme that can at times be put on to the back burner, with all of the curriculum, information, objectives, projects, teams and other items that can overwhelm an educator. A theme that is essential not only in learning, but it necessary for leadership, business and for any other form of interactive element of life . . . but before I reveal this I will explain the last exercise that our group participated in which should have solidified what I consider the key need to teaching.
Sceneario: You are teaching in a remote location. You and your students speak the same language and can experience the same culture. You have no set curriculum, no supervisors, no resources, no materials and no method of accessing them. Can you still teach, would and what is the most essential element that would be needed to be effective… and the answer is………………….
For me this is simply an affirmation of something that I already believe and consider vital not only for teachers, but even more so for administrators. Relationships are pivotal pieces to effectively operating a school. Just think about it, your most engaging and passionate conversations are those you have with someone you have a good relationship with. You need to know whom you are working with and you can only do this when you build relationships.