What I Did On My Blogging Hiatus
It’s been a busy and fruitful year and a half since I last wrote. Teaching highlights:
- I finally got my teaching to play nice with the rest of my life — down from an abominable 80-100 hours of work per week to a manageable 60 (hint: standards-based grading was part of the solution, not the problem).
- I noticed that standards-based grading and inquiry-based learning (I aspire to something along these lines) were not just challenging my students understanding of “right and wrong answers” on tests, but also their understanding of “right and wrong” moral behaviour in the world. No, really. I saw a sharp uptick in classroom conflict (about course ideas), out-of-class conflict (about everything else), and tearful moral crises.
- I found a balance between inquiry-based learning and you-have-to-know-this-because-employers-say-so that lets me sleep at night.
- I urgently started learning and practicing ways to help students enter peacefully into disagreement. My classroom management got 100 times better, partly because I improved our beginning-of-year conversation about community agreements, partly because of these unusually useful online courses, partly because I got better at noticing and encouraging these “intellectual traits“.
- I took a semester off using my contract’s deferred salary plan, from January – June 2014
- I learned to camp solo in the backcountry, including some winter trips
- I successfully applied for a reduced instructional assignment for the current academic year — this means 50% work for 50% pay (so my workload is now a charming 30 hours per week)
- I studied community-based conflict mediation techniques at the Tatamagouche Centre, Pendle Hill, and a few other places
- I spent a lot of time hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, kayaking, and snorkelling
- I joined a band that plays Turkish and Balkan music for folk dance parties. No really…
Topics I May Write About Soon
- If you can’t get disagreement, does that mean it’s the wrong question?
- How can we “spread the no” — so one person isn’t left alone raising a point?
- Single-system thinking vs. multi-system thinking (and how to convert between them)
- Making the process of abstraction visible and student-directed
- Do students have trouble distinguishing between “there is none” (zero) and “we don’t know how much” (null)?
- Peak-to-peak amplitude “isn’t a subtraction… it’s just a difference.” What does this mean and where can we go with it?
- What are all the possible things that “DC” can mean?
Welcome back! I’ve missed your blog posts.
Thanks! I’m looking forward to catching up on the developments in your circuits course, among other things.
Hello Mylène, You really inspired me with your posts. Some blogs are still a reference for me. One of your posts that is coming back a lot of times when talking to colleagues is: https://shiftingphases.com/2011/09/13/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-misconceptions/ (as well as the posts about problem solving). Thank you for sharing the reasons for your silence. Please keep your balance! I’m looking forward to your new posts. Thanks Bernard.
Hi Bernard, thanks for the kind words, and glad to be of service. Looking forward to continuing the conversation.
Glad you’re blogging again. (Not just because I’m using the rss feed in a guide 🙂 ) Sounds as if you’ve had a wonderful year & that the year ahead will allow further growth & learning of all kinds. AND you, & Oro Orkestra ROCK!
Hah. Thanks Lana. I admit, knowing that you had put that feed into a resource guide was motivational…