Saturday, May 18, 2013

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence ... Here's my Results!

I did a test! These are my results! And I'm not surprised at all :)

So, what would your results be?! Will you be surprised? Does your test also indicate where your skills lie in your workplace?

In my personal life as well as my work:  I love writing (if you havent noticed!) and photography, telling stories, being creative, gardening and growing veggies, animals, insects, nature and the like ...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Need to Embrace My Inner Ninja ...

And be wise and controlled and strong. When I'm really dumbfounded. Annoyed. Disappointed. Bit pissed off. And just over the shitty crappy horrible dreadful day that was today. That's where I'm at. If anyone wants me, I'm hiding under the covers.

(C) Teacher's Ink.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Postings on Observations

***  I am ranting right by your side! I can’t even remember exactly what I learned all those years ago at TAFE, nor can I remember what I even really learned at Uni and it wasn’t really that long ago, although time is certainly getting away from me. My rants are generally directed at the system and not the individual. I merely ask that the individuals ask WHY? WHAT? And WHERE? Three big questions.
I am currently working in a management role, and the amount of “he said, she said” is unbelievable. Even going back a year ago to when I was working for another mob, they were being told by someone higher up who heard it from somewhere else that they had to link all their observations to theory. So they held a training, and then the educators used the learning story which had the little box to write in the theorist’s names. They all said Vygotsky. Seriously, what purpose did that serve? Nothing really. The obs were still generic and poorly written anyway, adding Vygotsky on them in a box did not make them any more relevent to the child who’s name was written in pencil in the corner. Instructing a child in something isn’t even scaffolding. It was superficial.

I look back at my work from 2010 when we started working with the EYLF – very basic. I look back over 2011 and early 2012, and you can see improvements and growth. I continue to grow, each and every week, if not day by day. And that came with practice and reflection. I know that everyone will be different levels and understandings. You mentioned study, and I’m not even convinced that educational facilities are doing the best in supporting people in working with the EYLF and the NQS. AND consider that many people delivering the learning from the educational institutions haven’t necessarily worked directly with the EYLF as educators. Now I’m not saying they won’t understand, nor am I saying that they won’t be good tertiary educators or creator of ECE curriculum, but they will have a different perspective.
Program and planning is directed by the NQS as well as the EYLF – or whichever framework people are using depending upon their location and service. It’s become an incredibly complicated thing! And because of the way that the government chose to implement it – complicated beyond words.
My understanding is that the framework was written then distributed to services on a trial basis. These services then created some sample observations using the draft EYLF. The EYLF was published, then the educators guide, then the EYLF in practice book. They themselves may not even have had a specific idea of what it would look like in practice! I could be wrong. Seriously, I don’t know this from the inside, but I’m telling you what I witnessed as an educator on the outside.  And that is what it looked like. Even the change in the what is written in the NQS PLP newsletters is interesting. And I'm sure all the authors who write for the PLP will tell you that they have also grown and changed.

That's a large part of the NQS - growth through reflection. Not standing still and remaining the same.
I like that the framework is open ended because I like being creative and inventive. BUT in saying that, I think it leaves so many people lost. And I completely agree that they have the right to panic! Especially with the ratios they are working with!!!! I’d be panicking too! Believe me I would. That is why I’m saying that learning stories are NOT required as the only form of observation. And it’s also why I’m upset generally that there are so many companies popping up saying that they will solve everyone’s problems for them! And am frustrated by the “gossip” ... people panicking and changing things left right and centre. We don’t have to put everything (learning outcomes, principles, practices, being, belonging, becoming, theory, room reflections, group reflections, child reflections, personal reflections, philosophy, group goals, individual goals, NQS/QA reference numbers etc) into the observations of children’s individual learning. I just don’t want people pressured into the unnecessary – and this includes workload. Look at the image at the top of this page! Chaos!
If you have to do work at home, there is something wrong with the expectations of work and the system. And yes, I know a great many do this. I used to. A lot. The system is flawed. Or the perception of the system! Chicken or egg?  I think we need to be realistic about what we can do. I also question the focus on learning stories and portfolios vs the curriculum program. Which do we spend more time on?
And I question how much of this do we do to ourselves? Do we set an unrealistic expectation upon ourselves? Do we not stand up to our managers and owners etc and say that we can do this this and this in our work time, but we are not able to do that? So what should we be doing? What should it look like for our service as opposed to another's service? They don't all have to be the same!
Even when looking at a learning story or observation or whatever you call it holistically, and if you do two a month, or maybe one a month as I know some services are doing ... I don’t think you are going to get an adequate image and assessment of a child over the course of the year. I’ve spent more time thinking and writing about this than I can tell you here. Do more photos and jottings and write with outcome terminology eg (LO5) and stress less over the learning stories. Still do them, but be selective. All the while, reflect in your professional journals!
I’m simply suggesting the people look at QA1 for themselves and really read the EYLF. I know many who haven’t, or read it so long ago. My understanding of both those documents has changed and deepened over the last 12 months I can’t even articulate it!
Ok. I've said enough.

© Teacher's Ink. 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Some Postings on Observations

A question on facebook was asked on another page about observations with children aged 0-2 ... The question was around whether we were required to do group observations for these children. I of course weighed in. As I do.

My responses were as follows:

"We are all so obsessed over observations. Its not your fault, its just the current climate! ... There is no requirement that you have to do group obs. You just need to show the child in a social context that is appropriate to them. Sitting side by side in parallel play with a peer is appropriate. If you are able to show that you know the child as an individual and that you know where they are in terms of their development and growth in relation to the outcomes and being belonging and becoming, then you're doing a good job. They dont have to be learning stories. You can do jottings, photos, notes, photo stories, just observations any which way you want with a story - but it doesnt have to be done as a "learning story" ... If you can look at their observations and see a true picture of them as a person, albeit a little person, then you're doing the right thing!"

Other comments were made which I wont post here, which inspired this further response:

"A traditional learning story follows a specific format and comes from NZ where they follow Te WhaIcantspellitandnotlookingitupi ... Over here in Oz people are just slapping the title "learning story" on observations ... there is simply a shift in the semantics and the focus - they are simply still observations with a new fancy name. I have always done observations as a story and I have always looked at all the development visible within the story. I just didnt do it as holistically as I do now.

As for what we have to do and what we should do, there is just so much gossip flying about. People are panicking and simply trying to do everything and almost anything they are told which results in panic and fear and being overwhelmed. Yes, I was queen of group obs .. but a group ob can be two children or three or five or 10. BUT the more children you have, the more the individual focus gets diluted and lost. And the point is seeing what the child thinks, knows, can do etc. How you get an accurate picture of this when there are up to 23 other individuals included is beyond me.

I picked up portoflios from a service I was doing relief teaching at ... and they were all group obs of 24 children. There were no individuals and mostly groups of 5-10 and of course the 24 ... I couldnt tell the twins apart. I couldnt even tell the twins apart from the other children in the group.

I suggest everyone really read the NQS QA1 and look at what it says. I also suggest that you look at the Myths and Realities available on the PLP website. The full version not the newsletter one. Its alot more in depth.

If you want to reflect on routines or principles or practices, then I suggest people do that in their reflective books - either personal professional journals or daily reflections or whatever you call it ... If I were a parent, I'd want to read about my child not routines or the educators professional development.

Stepping down from my soap box now!"

I need to gather my thoughts and put together a proper article! with collected thoughts. But you get the idea.

Well. I'm going to toddle off now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Thoughts On A Hump Day Night

I had a few moments today ... I'm not even sure that I can put them into words ... I might just do random thoughts... I want to keep this fully anonymous and brief ... I'd like to get to bed before 11pm for once AND I can hear the dog taunting me with his snoring ... Even the TIQCO is curled up on a pillow ... tick tock tick tock the clock from the kitchen reminding me its time to get me to bed!

Today, about myself I learned:
I have vision and ideas and I am challenged, positively, by my work.
I feel like I'm teetering on the edge ... that its all just going to fall into place very soon and I can't wait! Because once that happens I can share it with you!
I am actually guiding my team in a positive and new direction.
I'm proud.
I am also having further impact upon others and I wish I could share my insights, but I fear they're too close to home or rather work!
I don't like being anonymouse! Anon E. Mouse! I don't do it because I don't stand by my thoughts and words.
I do it to keep my personal thoughts PERSONAL and separate to WORK ... because its a small small world out there in EYLFECELAND and I don't want, or can't have it blurred right now ... Later, I probably won't care so much!
I don't like it when others take credit for my ideas and work ... I paid for this education baby, I did the work and the study and the hard yards and everything that comes out of my brain, mouth, fingertips is the product of my braincells (that I grew myself) and education and experience and life choices. MINE. NOT YOURS.
I am easily annoyed today.
I am hormonal.
I am super aware of people's body language and expression and psychoanylising the stuffing out of them today.
I'm not a psychologist.
I'm common sensical.
But once you start seeing things about people, then its hard not to see them any more!
Damn my insightfulness!
I'm tired.
I'm going to bed.
I have 5 minutes to wee, brush my teeth, take the dog to the toilet and crawl into my unmade bed.
I didnt do the dishes.
Someone, remind me tomorrow, I need to do the dishes!
Over. And. Out. Brussel. Sprouts.

(C) Teacher's Ink. 2013

PS I did do the dishes!