How Fear Chokes Creativity and What to Do About It

How Fear Chokes Creativity and What to Do About It.

I had the absolute joy of attending the Creativity Workshop with Shelley and Alejandro in Barcelona 2011.  A beautiful city and a truly life-changing experience.  Something I would very much like to experience again.  However, fear is a constant barrier to success, not only for me but I see it in students who have come through an education system where they have become risk-averse.  I have great hopes that when they have finished with us in the course that they are more cognizant of what this might mean for them as educators.


Building effective school-university partnerships for a quality teacher workforce : a Victorian led initiative – Deakin Research Online

Building effective school-university partnerships for a quality teacher workforce : a Victorian led initiative – Deakin Research Online.

‘Building effective school-university partnerships for a quality teacher workforce: A Victorian led initiative’ project, (‘BESUP’), funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development from 2010 – 2011, was conducted by the research team from the School of Education, Deakin University in collaboration with key personnel in two ‘clusters’ of schools located in the Maroondah Education Coalition and in Keysborough/Noble Park.

The overall aim of this project was to examine a pilot model of effective school-university partnership that engages pre-service and in-service teachers and researchers in the co-production of professional knowledge and practice. The model of a university-school partnership that was investigated in the research project was developed as part of the Master of Teaching, a 16 credit pre-service postgraduate course in the School of Education that had the first intake of pre-service teachers in March, 2010. In the design and implementation of the Master of Teaching course, the School of Education set out to create a new relationship between key stakeholders in the preparation of the next generation of teachers. A commitment to doing the professional experience component differently was central to the conceptualization of the new course. To this end, three new professional experience curriculum units were designed with the placements ‘embedded’ into the units themselves.

The research questions that shaped the BESUP research project are:
• What are the design features of an effective school-university partnership model?
• What are the features of cross-generational (pre-service, in-service) models of quality supervision, mentoring and support in a school-university partnership model?
• What are the conditions for an effective professional development program for teachers and academic staff to support professional experience within school-university partnerships?

That the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development funded this research is evidence of the system’s awareness of and concern for investigating ways forward that will provide the next generation of teachers with strong links between the learning experiences undertaken in the university component of their pre-service teacher education and the professional experience component located in schools. The report suggests the significance of ongoing professional conversations and new ways of engaging in professional learning among all of the partners.

10 Tips for New Teachers

A wonderful top ten list for all teachers – yes, even those of us in the hallowed halls of academia. I am still balancing the ‘cheaply acquired resources’ with the need to have ‘stuff’. People laugh (or perhaps run screaming) when they see me crossing the campus with my big rolling art cart (if you’re interested check out scrapbooking and sewing stores – they have the most amazing selections of rolling storage).

I met a remarkable young teacher (male) who wanted to run a developmental play-based program in his prep room and had to do so on a limited budget. It was amazing what he pulled together over a few weekends of garage sales and by haunting op shops and $2 stores. In my previous life as a music educator, I used to run a great unit of work on making musical instruments.  The point is that great teaching can be done on a very limited budget.  His delightful group of 5 year olds loved him for it – you should have seen their philosophy class!

As to learning from others. I cannot speak highly enough about having the opportunity to watch other teachers in action, the great and the not so great, to really understand and refine my own practices. I would advocate for any situation where you can team teach or team plan. No teacher should try to go it alone. I learned that the hard way.

These are not strategies, they are merely some good pieces of advice gathered over a life time of teaching. And I would also advocate for preparation with a glass of wine in hand. Many of us are so much more creative and interesting that way.

Squarehead Teachers

10 tips for new teachersI absolutely LOVED this article by  Valerie Strauss. I totally wish I had read this before I started teaching! Ha!

1) Listen to advice (your mentor, teachers in the lounge, books for new teachers) — but trust your gut. Your goal is becoming an authentic teacher, one with autonomy, mastery and purpose. You will inevitably build a practice by stealing ideas from hundreds of people. The concepts you retain and embed into daily work are those that align and resonate with your core beliefs about education, which will change over time. Learn to trust the little interior voice that tells you what “works” for your colleague — her behavior rewards system based on Jolly Ranchers, say — may be totally wrong for you, in spite of the fact that her class walks quietly in a straight line and your kids are straggling and blabbing.

2) Don’t…

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writing with ‘I’ is subjective – and that’s OK

Every year, with each new cohort of Masters of Teaching students, I get asked this question. To my mind the practice of critically reflective practice in teaching cannot be engaged with from an objective distance. Using Mason’s notion of noticing theory, my identity, experience, philosophy and perspective are all present in every pedagogical moment so the ‘I’ is unavoidable. Teaching and learning is a human endeavour, regardless of whether your default pedagogies are inherently behaviourist, constructivist or humanist (most commonly a combination of all three). The purpose of good critical reflection is to help us to reshape and refine our pedagogical practice in ways that strengthen the relationship between the learner and the learning. That is our role as teachers. So, to my teacher education students, yes, you must present in your reflective work. The ‘I’ is not only appropriate but necessary.


This is a response to the posts that have recently appeared on patter about writing in the first person (here and here). It comes from Alex Seal. Alex is a first year PhD student and graduate tutor at the University of Surrey in the Sociology department. His research interests centre on the choices students make in regard to their higher education and his PhD explores why UK students choose to study abroad. Alex is also deeply interested in research methodology, particularly the objective/subjective divide.

Reading Pat’s recent post on writing in the first person with ‘I’ brought back personal experiences writing undergraduate essays, postgraduate essays, and currently my PhD. I have always been fascinated with the views of others when it comes to writing in the first person. In my (albeit limited) experience of the academy I have already come across those in my own discipline (Sociology) who…

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Hello world!

Welcome to my quest for a sustainable pedagogy through the notion of joyfulness!  I would love to hear and share your ideas with readers who are interested in education, schooling, teaching and learning.  The world is a better place for the sharing and acknowledgement of different perspectives so all views are welcome here.  I hope that in the spirit of helping others to grow that you will be prepared to engage with the ideas of others and to actively defend your position through some rigorous debate!

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