Last week I had the privilege of leading a science-flavoured TeachMeet with Matt Esterman at Taronga Zoo. With a great view of the monkeys at the zoo, over 70 educators from pre-service teachers, primary school teachers, high school teachers, university staff and other educational institutions, gathered to share ideas on ways to make learning more effective for our students. There were teachers from government schools, Catholic schools and independent schools sharing their classroom practice with each other with the aim of improving teaching and learning for all students.
We had presentations on differentiated learning, learning design, inquiry based learning, using iPads in the science classroom, mash ups, social media and many other ideas and strategies to enhance learning for our students. Mitch Squires and Jackie Slaviero captured the crowd with their talk about NASA space camp. We got to make a pocket solar system with Rob Hollow from CSIRO to experience a way to introduce students to the scale of the universe. We also got to pet a snake to learn about how Taronga Zoo’s education programs are addressing sustainability in the Australian Curriculum.
What I really like about TeachMeet is that it is a different kind of professional learning. You get to see real teachers sharing ideas and strategies they have implemented in their classrooms. You build cross-sector networks and have opportunities to share and learn from teachers from government, Catholic and independent schools. You are also exposed to many new ideas in a very short amount of time.
What I like most of all is that teachers volunteer to attend TeachMeets. Teachers attend out of their own time because they want to learn. Presenters are not paid (they might receive a chocolate koala for their efforts) and are sharing their practice because they want to. I think this really shows the collaborative and generous nature of teaching as a profession.
So if you haven’t been to a TeachMeet, it is very worthwhile to check one out. If you been to one, I’m sure you will go to another one very soon. To find out more about TeachMeets in Sydney visit this website and join the Facebook group.