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Hello IT Community

Welcome to the ERAC Commons Information Technology network!   We’re here to help build relationships in the IT community in BC so that you can connect directly with individuals from all districts  and member independent schools.

This site can help:

  • speed distribution of new ideas
  • support collective understandings of emerging technologies
  • share best practices and strategies
  • support professional development

This is your site and its success will depend on you.   Help give it purpose and value by contributing and sharing your expertise.  Let us know how we can improve the site so that we can  help make your own jobs easier.

Rethinking Classroom Teaching

“The aim of teaching is simple: it is to make student learning possible” 

While the aim may be simple, the process is not. The variety of teaching approaches shows the breadth and depth of the learning process and no one approach is suitable for all learning all the time. All approaches have their strengths and weaknesses.  So rather than pontificating on one teaching approach over another, we need to ask ourselves the following:

  • What do my students need to learn?
  • What is the best teaching-learning approach to make that learning possible?
  • How do I mediate the learning to ensure students are learning what they need to learn?

Sometimes direct instruction can be more effective than an inquiry based approach. Sometimes problem based learning  is exactly the approach we need to help students acquire certain skills like critical thinking.

Teachers need more time to think about what they do in classrooms and more time to collaborate with other teachers.  Real change in classrooms happens when teachers see value in change and have time to reflect upon their own practices.

Some interesting info on teacher time from:

•    In South Korea – much like Japan and Singapore – only about 35 percent of teachers’ working time is spent teaching pupils. Teachers work in a shared office space during out-of-class time, since the students stay in a fixed classroom while the teachers rotate to teach them different subjects. The shared office space facilitates sharing of instructional resources and ideas among teachers, which is especially helpful for new teachers. Teachers in many of these countries engage in intensive lesson study in which they develop and fine-tune lessons together and evaluate their results.

•    In Finland, teachers meet one afternoon each week to jointly plan and develop curriculum, and schools in the same municipality are encouraged to work together to share materials.

•    In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland more than 85% of schools provide time for professional development in teachers’ work day or week.

•    In Singapore, the government pays for 100 hours of professional development each year for all teachers in addition to the 20 hours a week they have to work with other teachers and visit each others’ classrooms to study teaching. With the help of the National Institute of Education, teachers engage in collective action research projects to evaluate and improve their teaching strategies.

Time To Say Good-Bye

I feel very privileged in my career to have been of service to all districts in BC.  I have gotten to know so many talented and dedicated educators and IT folks throughout the province that I shall miss working with so many.

When I started working in technology education at the Vancouver School Board back in 2000,  there was not much readiness for problem based learning, personalized learning and experimentation with technology in the classroom.  I’m heartened to see so many positive initiatives and conversation about transforming learning in our schools and across districts.  ERAC has an important role to play, to not only leverage better pricing for resources but to help ensure equity of access to resources  for all students and encourage sharing of knowledge and experience within the membership.

ERAC is a wonderful organization, founded on  a clear vision and mandate.  I have had the pleasure of working under Mac Petrie, ERAC’s first executive director who afforded much respect for the education community.  When I joined ERAC, I wasn’t sure about my fit with the organization but have since come to loudly and doggedly advocate for the education agenda at ERAC.

I have been on secondment from the Vancouver School District for 13 years.  Although I will be leaving the VSB and ERAC, I’m looking forward to life’s next adventures.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my work at ERAC and I wish all of you the best.