Tag Archives: learning

Blog: Learning Opportunities

By Azba Rasheed

Kia ora whanau! Welcome to my very first blog. I promise to keep it short and sweet!
This is a chance for me to tell you all about myself…yep, this should be interesting.

It all began 21 years ago, a cry that could be heard from miles away. A beautiful, precious child was born to two proud parents. How will the world look at me? How would I see the world? Every parent dreams for their child to simply be happy, whatever happiness may mean to them. They want their child to engage in many rich opportunities and life experiences, to be safe and to be the best they can be. This too, can be said about teachers and their students. We want children to achieve and strive for excellence that will prepare them for a promising future.

Each day I step into a classroom made up of unique, gorgeous children with a sense of wonder and curiosity filled in their eyes, then bang! Out of nowhere comes Miss Rasheed singing and dancing like she doesn’t care (but you won’t catch me doing this!). Laughter fills the room with a few brave kids joining in. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Where am I going with this? I am so lucky to be in a profession where no day is the same. I really enjoy (believe it or not) each day with the kids. I make a conscious effort to remember how I would like each child to leave school at the end of the day. I still remember my school years vividly. I can’t tell you exactly what I learnt but I can tell you the teachers that made me feel good about myself, the ones that truly cared about me and my learning. I know what it’s like ‘learning’. How challenging it can be yet exciting, discovering things we never knew. I truly appreciate and value how hard it must be for kids to take on board so much learning each day. They are incredible learners, patient and confident. I love learning with the kids. We explore and discover things together. They tell me how ‘cool’ it is when Miss Rasheed ‘joins in with our learning’.

How often do we make mistakes? In my class we like to call them ‘learning opportunities’. It’s a chance for us to seize this opportunity to create new understanding and learning experiences. It’s very humbling hearing children say ‘hey Miss Rasheed I got this wrong but I can see where I went wrong’. The point that I’m trying to make is mistakes lead to discoveries. Encourage children that without mistakes how would we know what to work on?

On a final note, I want children to love learning, to have fun and appreciate the journey ahead and I’m happy to be a small part of that journey.

Looking closer into a ‘Generation Z’ learner in the classroom today

By Georgia Falvey

Take a few moments and think about classes you liked as a child and then answer the following questions:

What was a “good” lesson for you?

What made you enjoy the lesson?

What made you uninterested?

What were the qualities of your best teacher?

Now consider that you are answering these questions from the perspective of a child today. I trust that many of today’s children would mention a technology that wasn’t available to you.

Welcome to the digital age where the natives are known as ‘Generation Z’. Children today (aged 14 and younger)  are growing up as the first full generation that has never known a world without computers, the Internet, cell phones or social networking. With the way trends are heading, one might assume that close to 100 percent of Generation Z will be connected to social media, when these youngsters complete their formal educations. Generation Z certainly possess a range of technical skills already. I notice the competence children have acquired as a normal part of growing up in today’s world, they are often given an unusual status in their own homes, advising parents on the operation of the latest items of technology and even influencing family purchases of such items.

 

I have both the exciting and crucially important responsibility of teaching Generation Z. I must create learning opportunities built around quality relationships, quality teaching, and creative ways of learning and teaching – all assisted by the tools of the digital age. My role as teacher includes being a personal tutor, a mentor, and a fellow learner with my class as we explore the opportunities provided by the new technologies.

If the schooling we provide today is to be relevant to our Generation Z children, it must take full account of the opportunities and challenges that come with the digital age. Their world is very different to the one in which their parents and teachers were schooled. For a start, today’s children live and learn in a world of massive information-overload with Google at their fingertips. Rather than more information, they need to be educated in how to manage and make sense of it, in how to filter it intelligently and bring different pieces together in meaningful ways. I am happy to be at Matipo where we teach children how to sort through this mass information through the inquiry process.

A more important consideration may be not what is being taught to Generation Z, but just who is teaching these digital natives? Just last week I was looking at feedback given to a child that said “What does a PSP shop sell”. I could only laugh and know that if my nana or even my mum had read this piece of writing they would have wondered the same thing.

I have a 14-year-old brother who has grown up with teachers that have not been able to reach him. He is one of the main reasons that I became a teacher. I watched him struggle through the education system. I felt such pain seeing him feeling incompetent as he couldn’t do things that I was able to take for granted like reading and writing. He was only recognized as dyslexic when he entered into high school. I love that he is now able to exceed in the school system using the advancing technologies available to him. He also utilizes the new social technologies, such as iPods and mobile phones, MySpace and Facebook. I watch him use these to strengthen his friendships and his relationships that are both real and virtual. I am his sister classified as ‘Generation Y’. Our parents, of course are the ‘Baby Boomers’. I feel closer to understanding his learning and that of Generation Z having also grown up in the age of the computer. We have both taken on the opportunities provided by technology which has created the environment for our learning and development.

The future is lifelong learning for all – at any age, at any time and in any situation. This is the current challenge facing the world and the challenge I am looking forward to undertaking!

I, Georgia Falvey, am a Generation Y teacher who looks forward to learning alongside Generation Z.