Magazine article Practical Literacy

Who's Talking? We Are! Getting Together for Coffee and Discussing Teaching, Learning and Research Proved Most Beneficial for These Three Teachers from Very Different Backgrounds, Teaching Styles and Schools. Each Shared Their Experiences and Listened to Each Other's Interests, Passions and Challenges

Magazine article Practical Literacy

Who's Talking? We Are! Getting Together for Coffee and Discussing Teaching, Learning and Research Proved Most Beneficial for These Three Teachers from Very Different Backgrounds, Teaching Styles and Schools. Each Shared Their Experiences and Listened to Each Other's Interests, Passions and Challenges

Article excerpt

We sat--'The Cafe Book' and conversations on 'The 'Daily 5' held amongst the backdrop of rainforest and intermittent rain. We talked--Drawn together by an un-nameable inner drive, and a need to continue the attempt to quench an educational thirst with conversations and literacy ideals. We shared --Ourselves. Our books. Our Classrooms. Our practices. Our philosophies. Our experiences. Our concerns. Our hopes. Our futures. We left--With a determination to meet again and to document our talk. To share our newly broadened horizons.

We are ...

Coral: My passions are early literacy and children's literature. My goals are to help my Year Ones become competent readers and writers and confident, independent learners. My whole learning environment is based on my core beliefs that children learn what they are interested in and children learn through meaningful interactions with interested others. In essence, the children use their lives and interests as vehicles for learning. We constantly celebrate children's accomplishments and have exciting times reading, writing, viewing, creating--and expanding their literacy landscapes.

Debbie: I teach at a P-7 independent school in Far North Queensland. I am passionate about literacy teaching and learning. My biggest love is teaching young children to read and write. One of my 'nonnegotiables' is using quality high-interest children's literature to support my students' reading and writing journey. Not just books, but beautiful poems, rhythmic rhymes, cool kids magazines, laugh-out-loud joke websites, popular character comics and so on. Any sort of literature that invites children to use their imagination, feel different emotions, question characters' motives, dream up possible outcomes and most importantly, just smile.

Karen: I teach in a small, rural, state school. Our classroom is a multi-aged P-4, and my practice is based strongly around art, literacy and play. The classroom is inquiry based, co-generatively planned and focused on fat questions and individual programs. I share my days with 20 students.

We discussed ...

* professional conversations ...

STELLA Standard 3. Professional Engagement 3.2 Teachers continue to learn

Keyword: Reflection

How does the teacher maintain and further develop his/her personal and professional growth?

Coral: Professional discussions help us think about, reflect upon and articulate school and classroom happenings. In describing actions and interactions, we may realise strengths and/or weaknesses of practices. We broaden our horizons as we hear and visualise what others do in classrooms and how they do it.

Karen: Professional conversations play a huge role in ensuring I stay in touch with the education, teaching and learning that is going on around me. Being in a small school, it would be easy to become isolated and 'out of touch'. It's really helpful to talk to teachers about milestones and classroom practice, as it helps me to adjust my own ideas, not having other classrooms to share with. These conversations keep me grounded with what is happening in other schools, in terms of the broader education system and changes or approaches that are being taken.

Debbie: For me, reading quality teacher reference books is a very important part of my professional growth. I have learnt a lot from reading books written by Debbie Diller, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser and my absolute favourite author, Shelley Harwayne. When I read about something new, I feel excited and energised. I need to tell someone. This is why professional conversations with like-minded colleagues are the next logical step for me. Talking helps me clarify my thinking.

* reflecting on our practice ...

Coral: In my reflective journal, I think about the day and try to understand: what happened, how it happened and why it happened in a certain way.

STELLA Standard 3. …

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