I was driving to work last week (or the week before) and heard Karl Hyde (from the British electronic group Underworld) interviewed on the Triple J Breakfast show. He said something about creativity that made me sit up. The more I thought about it, what he had to say resonated with me on the way I view my teaching and using technology at school. I also started to reflect on my role as Head Teacher of a faculty and the people I supervise and help grow as professionals.
What do you think? Are you in charge of people in the “comfort zone”. How do you make them hungry?
2 thoughts on “Comfort Zone”
Most teachers I know are in their ‘comfort zone’, and I agree with Karl Hyde…. it’s not a good place to be (especially during the current DER).
I’m interested in your thoughts on how a head teacher can encourage and develop staff in the use of technology. In particular, how do you get teachers to move away from the idea that ‘the teacher is the holder of all wisdom, and students will be learning in a classroom that is quiet and teacher centered.
Within my department, I’ve been developing a few Moodle courses and encouraging staff to explore and realise the benefits that can come from online resources. Some staff have ventured out of their comfort zone as they can see the benefits for the kids, however a few aren’t even interested enough to have a look. Maybe it’s too far out of their comfort zone.
The next challenge is to move keen staff members from passive users to creating their own courses and resources. Not sure how to best do this?
One final observation, what is the comfort zone for our students? Sure they’re computer literate, but most are use to having the teacher ‘spoon feeding’ them. Students will also take some time to adjust to the use of technology in their learning.
Chris, Thanks for your comments.
I think there are a number of factors in developing staff, and I have to be careful not to be too general.
Firstly, I’ve observed that your job will be tougher if you come from one of the big 4 – Maths, Science, English or HSIE – because of the pressure to produce results in external exams. This seems to promote a traditional view of teaching (teacher centred “sage on the stage”) because the amount of content. Faculties with a practical orientation seem to have more latitude to explore technology, even though they still have value added data analysis to answer to.
Secondly, I can only speak from my own experiences at a Faculty and whole school perspective when I say that leadership and opportunity play a huge role. Leadership from the top down, through the fabric of the school. Senior executive recognising the value of using technology and planning for it; distributing technology leadership across the school to those who are capable and enthusiastic role models; Head Teachers thoughtfully applying technology in ways that complement, but not completely replace, existing learning programs. Included in this is support for those who want to learn when they need it, in practical ways.
As a Head Teacher, you can be Machiavellian and program tasks that only use technology as a way of ensuring a “buy in” for both staff and students. I’ve done that, with varying levels of success, but once everyone sees you’re serious about it, most will move with you. Equity of access will always be an issue, but there is always a workaround if you look hard enough.