Having seen a few versions of the 11 questions idea floating about, I have had the pleasure of a brief insight into people beyond their tweets and their bio, so when Mr Woodman (www.andrewwoodman.com), put me on the spot I thought why not. Here are the questions he set me and my attempt at honest answers. I hope you find them as interesting a read as I have with others:
11 Answers to 11 Questions
1. What moment in your life has shaped you as an educator more than any other?
This is a tough question, arguably the toughest I could be asked as there have been many defining moments in my development as an educator thus far and to pick one seems at the expense of so many more. Yet, in true desert island disc style, I will make a choice:
Standing at the side of the stage in a London hotel where later in the day we were to be live in front of royalty, politicians and educational leaders reflecting on the work we had done, I saw the beauty and power of what Digital Leaders can produce. I was there with young people who felt empowered, passionate, responsible, young people who showed maturity beyond their years, who stepped up to the plate, who showed the true essence of what authentic education experiences can bring to young peoples’ lives. And I was able to briefly step back, admire what I was seeing and how far we had come as a group of Digital Leaders. This was such a special moment because I realised a burning passion I have had since I was a youth worker, to empower young people. This was a way to realise that passion as a teacher.
2. What are you most looking forward to in 2014 and why?
As I start a new position back in secondary school, I am really looking forward to making an impact in my new school to affect pedagogy and tech integration to improve the education of students in the school. On a wider level, I am really looking forward to connecting, being involved with and promoting the high quality work going on with some real high quality educators I know in SA and in the rest of Australia. I want Digital Leaders to come out into the open in Australia and tell everyone what they have been doing, connect and share through www.ozdls.com. I am hoping to see an extensive, thriving Digital Leaders community show itself in 2014. Lastly, I am looking forward to making a larger dent in the PhD I started.
3. Is the idea of a four day working week for all educators and students a pipe-dream or a real possibility? Why?
It is not a pipe dream but we have consider some fundamental issues around the working day for both teachers and students. We have to look at such areas as the idea of what ‘lessons’ or ‘learning sessions’, should they be uniform in length?Are they in effect a way to divide up learning efficiently or indeed are they the best way to efficiently use time in schools? We also to have consider what we are offering in terms of education. Is sitting in largely separate and specialist, independent ‘subject’ disciplines a good way for effective teaching and learning to happen. Only if we first address these fundamentals principles can we consider a system which will ultimately mean more cramming of teaching and learning into a shorter or more condensed block of time which, in turn, puts pressure on concentration, focus, etc.
4. What are some of your favourite pastimes?
I like to think that I have a quite diverse range of pastimes and have always been aware of a tendency to addictive behaviours which I see as being stuck in a rut.
To me, watching TV night after night is the epitome of this and while I enjoy the odd night or two of vegging out this way, I try to avoid doing it too much. So, what do I do instead? I range from playing games (phone games such as Words to Fifa footy on a console), to reading (all sorts of fiction, biographies), to catching up with social media connections, reading blog posts and commentary on educational developments.
On the weekend and days off, I like to spend time on the beach, walking with my bare feet in the sea, swimming in the sea, eating and a wee drop of good plonk but I will regularly take the family on adventures, to different places such as a national park. I love to surprise people close to me and I crave adventure.
What have I missed off?…I love to listen to music (anything from 90′s indie bands to Johnny Cash to old skool hip-hop to early 90′s house music); I like eating (Or should I say I really like eating ); I have always been into sport, like to play squash and football badly and will always love Leeds Utd even if most of the time, that hurts.
5. What are two things on your bucket list?
Two things…….!!…. for an adventurer, there are two thousand!!
Take my kids travelling round India when they are old enough and drive around in a classic VW Beetle everyday.
6. What is your favourite film and why?
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (original). Gene Wilder is epic as Willy Wonka and I would say it is one of the only times that a film and book stand side-by-side as brilliant pieces of work. Oh and it features lots of chocolate. That’s got to be good hasn’t it?
7. Favourite place and why?
That’s impossible to answer. It’s about time and place, purpose and company, never about just place.
Amazing places to me have been a quiet spot in Angkor Wat sat on the temple stones watching sunset or sunrise with my wife, stood on the balcony of my house watching the sunset over the sea or the fork lightning crashing around, sat around anywhere but with friends and loved ones just chewing the fat and laughing til the wee hours.
However, there is one place that always has a massive place in my heart (apart from Elland Road), stood on top of Cow and Calf just outside Ilkley when the cold wind is blowing.
8. Do you view Australia as the best country in the world? Why or why not?
I have traveled to many countries and have been asked which is my favourite many times. I refuse to commit to that. Again, its about time and place, purpose and company. For me, Australia offers much of what I want out of like as I bring up a young family and try to balance work and play for all of us. Where I live just outside Adelaide is beautiful and offers me a great lifestyle which I never dreamed I could have. Whether that is the same for someone else is not for me to say. Australia as a country has some really great things to be proud of but also has issues like anywhere else. It all depends on what you see as important in your life.
9. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to every learner in the world, what would it be?
Find the things that interest you, that you feel a passion to do to death and when you do, dive deep into them, uncover what they are really about and why they excite you. Do not be afraid of the avenues they send you down including the dead ends. Unpack everything you find. Ask why and why again.
10. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to every educator in the world, what would it be?
You’re in the business of teaching AND learning. Don’t ever forget the learning part of the business you’re in.
11. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to everyone in the world, what would it be?
Try and open as many doors as possible in your life. Some you will find already wide open, others you will have to turn the handle and some you will have kick-in.
So, in the spirit of this, now that I have given my all to the questions set, here are my 11 questions I would like to ask:
- Why are you a teacher?
- How do you/would you answer people when they ask to prove that much of education needs to change?
- If you had the power to make one rule in your school that every teacher would follow, what would you your rule be and why?
- What is the important thing you do as a teacher with your students and why is it important?
- If you could set up a dream team of people in charge of education in your state, country, district, etc, who would they be?
- What do you think the value of ‘celebrity’ keynote speakers at educational conference is?
- What do you think should we taught to young people to make them digitally literate?
- What do you think would happen if students in your school were given power over technology integration in your school for the next five years with only advice from adults and a budget to work with?
- Do you think young people have changed since you were a child?
- How best can we address the disconnect between different levels of education (primary to secondary, secondary to university)
- What is the most influential book/article/post you have ever read on education?
And I will be asking the following peeps to answer these: