On the second day of the conference, we were given balloons and JJ’s Plenary started. The aim of his plenary is teacher development. He wanted us to look inwards in an interactive way. He asked us to draw a perfect circle and completed the sentences in a circle. These sentences were:
- Teaching is like…
- The best way for a teacher is to develop ……….
- If I could change one thing about my career in teaching ……
Then he asked us to share the ideas in pairs. I can not forget one of the sentences. It is ‘ Teaching is like a roller coaster. Sometimes going up sometimes down!’After a while, JJ told us that there are some things to do to develop professionally. We listed them as follows:
- Read deeply and try to relate to what happened in classes.
- Always question your class. Ask lots of why’s about your class.
- Write your own materials.
- Collaboration-team teaching, talking to colleagues etc.
- Teach a new course.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Keep a teaching journal.
- Mentor, Use PLNs, go to conferences, learn another language.
He added that the deeper we go into, the more we realise the gaps.
Going back to our roots for teacher development
JJ used a picture of a leaf as a metaphor . He told us that the stem of the leaf is us and the veins are the people who influence us as teachers. He made us remember the person who influenced us to become a teacher.
He shared the activity called Stepping Stones: With this activity we wrote the names of the first important teacher, second important teacher, third important teacher who were the stepping Stones of our career. Then we were asked to discuss which were wrong and wrong models and why?He added that our background informed our persona.
I completely agree with JJ that great teachers are the ones who focus on students and improve themselves according to students’ needs. To measure our performance as teachers we can do observations, record our lessons, do self-assessment activities like the ones he shared with us.
Here is an other self-reflection activity he shared with us,which I really like. Here is the question.
Where am I as a teacher?
Stability —————– flux
Mastery —————– apprenticeship
Confidence —————– nervousness
You can mark your place between these two feelings. Which one are you closer? Then draw an arrow. He asked us to stand up and stand like a tree and bend toward the feeling you have as a teacher. The view in the Hall was amazing. People started to move as if the wind was blowing inside the hall. After that we discussed why we were like that.
As a final activity, he wanted us to write our nine-word message on the balloon and throw the balloons to each other. The Hall was filled with laughters and friendly atmosphere. Thanks to JJ for it.
Before the Plenary, I asked some teachers to share their expectations from the conference and many teachers told me to see some practical ideas and after the Plenary, Ergün Tonguç said he was so happy to get JJ’s ideas and he was planning to adapt them all into their lessons. We can use these activities to raise our students awareness and get reflections from them.
Fahrettin Önder fromYeditepe University, said the topics of the conference were well-chosen. They were directly helpful to the teachers. Teachers can easily find topics related to their interests.
Gülnur Şahin for the Roving Reporter Team