Shifting The Culture Of Teaching

Embracing digital culture: Shifting the culture of teaching
By Peta

Teachers have varying needs of professional development, influenced by experience and ability (Attinello, Lare, & Waters, 2006; Runhaar, Sanders, & Yang, 2010). Generally, the learning that individuals find most transformative occurs through active involvement in communities of practice, what they learn and what they are subsequently enabled to achieve reflects the modes of belonging available to community members (Gilrane, Roberts, & Russell, 2008). Opportunities to develop through collaboration are constrained for regional teachers who suffer barriers of distance, disconnection and reactive communities (Garcia, Arias, Harris Murri, & Serna, 2010; Klecka, Clift, & Cheng, 2005; Mills & Gale, 2003).

Incorporating technology richly within the curriculum, for many teachers, requires a dramatic change in their teaching practices. Administrative teams who support teachers as they adapt and change their current practice demonstrate the value of both their existing knowledge and their involvement in future changes to the delivery of the curriculum (Park, Oliver, Johnson, Graham, & Oppong, 2007). In order for teachers to interact with students in a real way requires them to be open to the knowledge that the future is genuinely unknown, unscripted and entirely foreign. Teachers are then able to embrace the journey with their students and guide their understandings and developing literacies for the future. Drawing parallels with the online world and those that students will experience in the real world remains the responsibility of the school. Encouraging teachers to straddle this divide is only part of the battle; teachers also need to feel some level of comfort.

Valuing the experienced teachers, currently an under-utilized resource in school settings will assist in rejuvenating their passion through the mandated changes to the education system (QCT) (AITSL). Engaging in professional conversations with their colleagues is a way to reduce the knowledge gap between the enthusiastic, beginning teacher, who has knowledge of the current theories, with the experienced teacher, who have considerable experience critically analyzing their teaching processes across their career (Comber, Kamler, Hood, Moreau, & Painter, 2004; Sheehy, 2009). Bringing these together in a valuable dynamic conversational situation will generate powerful, shared knowledge, which will benefit the participants, students, parents and the community by valuing their contributions to the professional learning that is occurring.

Encouraging teachers to access these conversations across various media platforms will support the development of their skills in a non-threatening environment. The participant is immersed within learning as they interact in online discussions with peers while also accessing the knowledge of their peers as they negotiate their understanding of technology.


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