In this episode, we interview Peter Joshua who is the Director of Education in the Peel District School Board. Peter shares his passion for teaching and learning in a new age, and offers encouragement for teachers who are trying to empower their modern learners in their classes each and every day. He talks about how classrooms are constantly changing, and shares how he has been inspired by the work being done in Peel by our teachers, students, administrators, superintendents and trustees.
What’s New in the World of EML?
Jim shared an a-ha moment he had recently where he thought this is it – this is what empowered students do. Working with another teacher in a grade 5 class, Jim noticed and took note of, the quality of the interactions between the students and their teacher. In every case, when students approached the teacher, they did not have questions about what to do, how to do it, what should they be doing next, or saying that they were done.
Instead, the questions students were asking demonstrated they were driving their learning and their actions. Questions were more about asking to leave the room to go get a resource, or if they could borrow her phone for an experiment, or if they could bounce some ideas off her to receive some input, or ask when some supplies would be delivered because it was part of the project they were working on. Interactions that were initiated by her were open-ended, asking questions such as: How’s it going so far? What’s coming up? How did you solve that issue you had yesterday?
Jim’s reflection was that paying close attention to the kinds of questions and the quality of interactions between students, and between students and teachers, reveals crucial information about the level of empowerment of students.
Further reading: Empowering Students to Find Their Own Way
Amit shared the work that he was doing with the “Modern Family” Department at Mayfield Secondary School. He talked about how a conversation about Empowering Modern Learners led to conversations about assessment and then revamping major components of the course itself. He advocated for teachers to be given this time to be released together as there was so much they were able to accomplish in one day as they were offsite and together.
Links from the Interview with Peter Joshua
- Peter shared a book that he is reading entitled A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas & John Seely Brown
- He also shared a quotation from John Dewey “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”
- Peter can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shares for the Week
Jim shared an excellent video created by Education Alberta. It was created to serve as a brief but informative introduction to Universal Design for Learning principles. Jim also discusses UDL’s application to teaching practice and how the Empowering Modern Learners vision aligns with UDL principles.
Amit shared a video from the World Economic Forum about the innovative ways that India is working toward reusing plastics to make roads. He talked about how important it is for teachers to provide opportunities for their learners to be creative and innovative in their learning to prepare them to be creative, innovative thinkers when they leave school.
He also talked about the Call for Facilitators for Peel’s first Digital Toolbox Summit.
The Summit is just for educators in the Peel District School Board, so if you are looking to facilitate a workshop for the day, you can find the information here and/or you can apply here. You can email Amit at email@example.com if you have any questions.