"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Friday, 8 March 2013

Building confidence, building resilience

Today I feel so excited to have made time to blog again. It has been far to long between blog posts.  The weeks are flying by and I haven't had a chance to blog which is very sad.

I have had a wonderful start to the term. My new role as coordinator has been really interesting and it has been great to get to know the students on a different level. I have found I have really enjoyed the mentoring part of this role as I encourage our students in their learning and keep them focused on the big goal they have set for themselves. Achieving the little goals can be so beneficial in order to reach the big goal.

Image by Presenter Media.com
This week one of my classes attempted to write an essay. For some they had either never written one or in the past they had failed badly. There were some real misgivings by some to even start. After some help and persuasion all students had a go at it with varying levels of success. The topic they were responding to was, what is a home? They had three texts they were using as a reference point. One was a text about what sort of places people associated with home (cities, suburbs, buildings, rooms in a house), the second was a visual text with a little boy just relaxing in a large box and the third was a poem by Bruce Dawe, Homo Suburbanesis. Over the last few weeks we have been writing responses to a variety of texts using full sentences and paragraphs and it was wonderful to see the students transferring those skills to essay writing and some of them are doing it really well. It was great to see them develop and build confidence on what they had already learnt. Many went home and worked on them, some shared them with me through Google docs. A rich and rewarding teaching experience when it all comes together.

For some students the fear of failure sometimes driven by perfection can be a real stumbling block and it is resilience to these failures that is so important in building. Some students are so crippled by the fact that it has to be perfect each time that the learning is missed and stifled by this lack of resilience. Try and try again might be a motto we learn in childhood but this is associated with disappointment and failure. Rebuilding the ability to try in a safe environment without fear is a battle for some students and one I hope to help them this term.

Image by Presenter Media.com
I have been really enjoying the challenge of teaching a Certificate IV course this term and have found the students yet again rising to the challenge. What must be said about Generation Y is that theydo show resilience and I have seen them develop perseverance in their writing. I love it when I see them asking the questions of themselves and analysing themselves without my prompting. They have come such a long way from their Cert III course last year.

I built a Moodle site for our section last year and this year we are trying to implement it. I have been recording my lectures after the lesson using Adobe Presenter in Power point and then uploading them at the end of the week to our class site. The students can watch the slides and hear my voice as I explain key aspects of the lesson. The feedback from students has been great. Some students may have been away for that lesson and they can listen and watch what they have missed and have access to the worksheets and class notes. Other students have been using it to consolidate what they have been learning in class when they were thinking about things later in the week. Whilst it does take time to create and upload everything I have found it very worthwhile and accessible for the students outside of class time. I don't have to chase up students who miss classes. They do. I don't have time to give each student a private lesson of what they have missed so I have found it has given me some time back during my day.

Image by Presenter Media.com
All in all a very positive start to the term. I have been working super hard and my students told me this week I need to get a life. Have been doing a lot of over time but I find that working extra in the early weeks and setting in place new wheels in motion pays off in the end. I took time to do the mowing and gardening this week and I really enjoyed being outdoors after so much rain. I went for a few swims at the pool this week too and have found that regular exercise has been a good way to manage stress and gives me time to absorb everything that is going on.

Hoping this blog will set in motion my regular desire to blog each week. I guess we'll wait and see. Have not been as active this year in social media and I miss my regular contact with my Twitter friends in particular. There are just so many hours in the day and I hope to make more time to build on my PLN this year.

Hope everyone has had a great week.

My favorite site for the week:

Story telling in elearning

Everloop- safe social media option for children

Trello- organisational app for projects

Until next week,