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Reaching beyond myself

November 24, 2014
Leaders don't always look different.  Image in public domain at www.pixabay.com

Leaders don’t always look different.
Image in public domain at www.pixabay.com

Participating in COETAIL has been a fantastic way to meet educators around the world who share similar interests and passion for redefining education. Although significant portions of the material were review for me, it was always good to be reminded of how revolutionary some of these ideas are. It is easy to forget how new and valuable the changes taking place in education are when you practice your profession among other passionate educators who have access to an abundance of resources.

Because I am a naturally curious person and have been pursuing these topics for many years, I can easily see how far we have yet to go rather than just how far we have come.

I have been to some amazing conferences in the last few years including two Apple Distinguished Educators’ Institutes, a GAFE summit, Alan November’s Building Learning Communities 2013, a Buck Institute of Education Project Based Learning conference, EAROCS, KORCOS, and more. I sometimes find myself impatient to learn more…. and more… and more. I want every session to model the constructivist pedagogy that the speakers publicly espouse, but I find that rarely happens. I leave somewhat critical and frustrated.

This frustration of mine has had two results. Firstly, when I run sessions at my school, I do my best to model the best of the pedagogy that I have seen. Although it is always a tiny bit tempting to lecture, and actually far easier to play, I must trust the process of constructivist inquiry to build a deeper understanding than lecture ever could. So far, this has not let me down.

Secondly, if I accompany teachers from my own school to conferences in which I may find myself disappointingly unchallenged, I turn my attention toward challenging my colleagues. I try to keep in mind that not everyone finds reading The MIT Technology Review recreational and provide support where I can. In this way, I have reached outside of myself to my colleagues and the wider-community. I find that the more I am able to do this, the better I become at it (at least I hope.)

Participating in COETAIL and interacting with other educators in this venue has greatly helped in this process. Although Kim is our COETAIL leader, all who go through these courses are leaders in their own way. Thank you, COETAIL, for helping me to realize this.

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One Response to Reaching beyond myself

  1. Kim Cofino on December 1, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Thank you Robin, for your thoughtful reflection of your experiences. I always find it interesting to see how people respond when they are already familiar with the material – some people are like you, willing to see how much they can challenge themselves, how they can continue to push their own thinking or that of their colleagues, or just willing to share what they’ve already experienced. Others can decide that there’s nothing new for them to learn and just find ways to critique what’s being shared. For me, I feel like I always have an opportunity to learn – even if the topic being presented is something I’m very familiar with. It definitely makes learning a lot more fun than feeling like a know-it-all 🙂


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