Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reflection on Practice

My session went pretty well today. One of the challenges of this particular group is time. We met for two hours today, and we have just 5 more one-hour sessions scattered throughout the year. That makes it tough to build a community around writing, but it seems unthinkable to leave that piece out of a Writing Project continuation group. How can 12 teachers share our writing, talk about our practice, and read and respond to professional literature in an hour?

The only solution I could see to this dilemma was if we wrote about our practice and shared that. Even so, these could not be full-length drafts-- an hour wouldn't be enough time for three people to workshop their writing, and, let's be realistic, if you know you won't have to share, how likely is it that you will write? One of the things most people appreciate about being in a writing group is the accountability; it makes you write. So, I proposed that we all commit to keeping a teaching journal, recording and reflecting on our practice 2-3 times a week, and then choose an entry to share with a group of three each time we meet. Each teacher will give and receive feedback on three points: the craft of their writing, its content-- i.e. their practice, and their process.

"Where does the professional literature piece fit in?" you wonder. Why, I'm so glad you asked! Ultimately, in addition to the very worthwhile tasks of using writing to be more reflective practitioners and soliciting peer input on our practice, the objective of the teacher writers in this group might be to identify and develop an idea that could become a published piece. (Who knows? We might do this again next year.) So the other thing we're doing in the time we have together is to define what "publication" means to us. In the 21st century, publishing is undeniably an evolving concept, and we're going to share examples of teacher-written publications that may be outside the traditional. Who knows? Eleven new edu-bloggers may be born.

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