Learning Reflections on the New Pillars of Modern Teaching R10 book study

We are always welcome to the opportunities of continued learning. We’re never going to know it all, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to pursue knowledge and apply to our lives. More often than not, the way to stop learning is to get in your own way, and who wants to live like that? Not me! This fall I participated in the Region 10 New Pillars of Modern Teaching – Gayle Allen, book study. I’m so glad I made space for this education book. It was thought provoking, practical, at times funny, and very empowering. How often does a book do that for you? In this post I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the last few weeks of reading this book and applying it to my educational practices. I haven’t arrived yet, and may never, but that’s okay. The goal for me is to keep moving forward in applied learning, growth, and development – personal and professional. After all, Allen’s book is the kind that can have positive implications on one’s personal life as well as the professional life, and I like that. We grow in one area, and it can have a great impact on the other.

To put it to you briefly…

  1. Challenge your assumptions about technology and pedagogy. We have room to grow and make a deeper impact on students just by reframing the way we think about edtech tools. We won’t grow and be effective if we insist on holding on to old ways of teaching that no longer work.
  2. PEDAGOGY Shift. Staying the same is no longer an option. In this knowledge economy, we are all learning workers who need to think critically about how we learn and own it. As an educator, I have a responsibility to my students to show them how to practically be a lifelong, engaged learner.
  3. Instruction doesn’t belong to teachers alone, and we would do well to learn how to DESIGN learning and equip our students to do the same for themselves. Learners own their own learning. Look at the cell phone. It’s anytime, anywhere and without much aid for traditional teachers.
  4. CURATION of learning – scanning, sense making, and sharing are the 21st century skills educators and students need to not just survive but to thrive in the world. It also increases student engagement when they are curating their own learning, but that can’t happen well if teachers don’t curate their own learning as part of the modeling process.
  5. FEEDBACK is critical and so necessary. It’s not about hearing how good or bad a job you did. Feedback challenges us to be a better us, to refine our learning and process to reach our ultimate goals. We have to get used to hearing the feedback so we can live and work from an empowered place. See feedback as an invitation to improve your processes. See it as a source for learning.
  6. ITERATION and Failing Fast. Failure is not the end but the beginning of many beginnings. Failing faster means we waste less time improving learning and process or outcomes. It means more opportunity to apply our learning, grow complex skills, and learn by doing. This requires a shift in our mindsets to own our learning and to fail more often. It’s nothing to be afraid of, really it’s not.

That’s the short of it, and I didn’t want to give away too much because I believe this book is well worth reading and working through. Apply it to your work, your life, your practices. As a lifelong learner, I feel more equipped with specific and practical strategies to own my learning, apply it, and make a greater impact on teachers and students. That’s a good thing. 

Below you will find how I’ve been applying my learning of Allen’s Pillars. I’ve used multiple types of digital/ed-tech tools to share my learning. Some include old school pen and paper while others are completely digitized. I hope you’ll find something to take away from my learning reflections.

  • Intro/Chapter 1
    • Reflections created with Adobe Spark and uploaded to Youtube

  • Chapter 3 – Curation “skills” Learning Task
    • In which I share how I would support the “sense-making” skills in a Google Slide. You can see my contribution on teh Region 10 Google Slide show here: https://goo.gl/ubnNa8 
  • Chapter 4 – Feedback goals
  • Chapter 5 – Final reflections on Pillars of Modern Teaching

  •   Storify – reflections on Twitter
To learn is to grow. To apply that learning in creative ways is to deepen our ability to be effective, competent, and more efficient. The New Pillars of Modern Teaching reminds me that I own my own learning. It is my responsibility to model for myself and my students what is possible. Possibilities are endless because we live in an ever growing knowledge economy. I’ll keep learning, and so can you!


Share your thoughts.