Posted on October 5, 2014
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The art of teaching -- pedagogy -- suggests a view of teaching that goes beyond simply putting together the components of teaching, such as the standards addressed, objectives, materials, activities, and assessment. William Arthur Ward puts this notion of pedagogy in another way: "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." Thus, our efforts in the professional learning of our faculty is to continue to provide support so that they can inspire in our students "to long for the endless immensity" of learning. To this end, the entire preschool through high school faculty will be meeting next Friday, October 10, to focus on several topics, which I'll address in next week's blog. This attention to pedagogy is the sixth year wherein teachers across grade levels and disciplines meet to talk shop broadly and deeply.
One of our Mid-Pacific aspirations is to become a center of 21st century teaching and learning. I feel that we are already underway in achieving this goal. While we continue to aspire to great teaching, we also open our doors to teaching colleagues in the community interested in learning what we've been doing in the areas of technology integration and early learning practices.
This past Wednesday, a group of teachers, tech specialist, and administrator from Waikiki Elementary spent the morning in several elementary classrooms observing our students' use of iPads. (We've had other schools visiting us in the past on our tech integration.) Colleagues visited several grade levels and looked at how students were using iPads to document learning for their electronic portfolios (recording reflections, taking photos), explaining research on mini-inquiry topics (keynote slides, video), engaging in online discussion on a book (Today's Meet), drafting writing pieces, and showing problem-solving processes in math. We followed their observations with lunch to unpack their observations with our teachers. This was also an opportunity for our visitors to pose questions to our IT team about tech infrastructure.
Several University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa instructors of early learning education are sending their students to our preschool, kindergarten and multiage grades 1 and 2 to observe how the classroom environment supports studentsʻ learning and how teachers interact with their students. The college students are at the beginning of their two-year program.
Other students with an early learning focus will be coming to the preschool in the second semester to complete their teaching practicum, a period of several weeks when students implement a research question of practice -- they teach -- under the supervision and guidance of our Mid-Pacific pedagogista (yes,the term refers to my earlier discussion about pedagogy. We also have three UH-Manoa student teachers in the last year of their teacher education program in different classrooms for a year -- Jen Matsumotoʻs kindergarten classroom, Lucy Masaʻs multiage 3-4 class, and Pam Jenkinsʻ fifth grade class (co-taught with Sarah Field). Leslie, Jen, Pam, and Lucy assume the role as "cooperating teachers" or "mentors" for aspiring teachers. In the past few years, nearly every elementary faculty member has served as a mentor teacher for an aspiring teacher candidate.
We are honored to share our experiences and understandings with the community and hope to continue as we aspire to become a center of 21st century teaching and learning in Hawaiʻi.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.