Sunday, 23 October 2016

Changes in my Practice

32 weeks ago I began my Mindlab journey, it was something I had seen several friends of mine complete, and I had been eager to join their ranks. To be honest, I saw it as an opportunity to get a formalised qualification to 'back up' all of the informal learning and experimenting I had been doing with regards to e-Learning since I first became a teacher back in 1993 and thought myself very innovative for running a Literacy unit based on the game "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" (Which to be fair, was a pretty cutting edge thing to be doing back then). I wasn't completely sure just how much value I'd get from my participation in the course, even my DP said, "Are you sure you won't be bored?". To be honest, no, I wasn't sure, but if nothing else, the promise of playing with robots (if I wasn't a teacher I think I'd love to be a robotics engineer) at some stage in the near future was a pretty big carrot.

PTC 4 " Fully registered teachers demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal professional practice." 

Well, I'm pleased to say I most certainly was not bored. Yes, there were some things I already knew about, or had been using for a while, but there were also many, many other things that were just as new to me as they were to everyone else. In the case of the former, this gave me an opportunity to help others grow their expertise - good practise for me in developing both my leadership and teaching skills as I had to help through asking the right questions instead of taking over and telling or just doing. When it came to the latter, however, then I have to say one of the biggest aspects was the theoretical and pedagogical knowledge that underpins effective teaching and leadership. Prior to Mindlab, I knew nothing about concepts such as Lean and Agile, beyond thinking maybe they were something related to a diet and exercise programme. These were just two of the many, many new ideas I was exposed to. To be fair, not all appealed, and there are some I need to continue to mull over, but my growth in both knowledge and professional practice has been immense.

PTC 1 "Fully registered teachers establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga."

My learners have benefitted from my Mindlab journey as well, at the simplest level they loved to see that Mrs McGhie also had homework, and it took a long time for one wee cherub to get his head around the fact that, "No, teachers don't actually know EVERYTHING, we are still learning and growing everyday, just like you." They have benefitted in other ways as well, whether it has been through me taking back some of the practical activities we did in class and letting them have an opportunity to explore "Mrs McGhie what did you learn this week?!"  - augmented reality being a particular hit - right down to the assignments, which through their very nature challenged me to change my practice and try new things within my classroom programme, and then ask the children for their thoughts on the impact of these changes. I think this reflects my commitment to and development of PTC 1 as I certainly used my new learning to engage with and collaborate with the learners in my class.

In terms of my future professional learning, I know that one of these days I want to complete my Masters, but that will be a dream that has to wait for a while, as I have some other things I need to conquer first. However, I know that I will certainly get there one day, and Mindlab has been an important step in achieving my goal.


Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from


  1. Congratulations Kirstin. It has certainly been a journey for us all. I really like how honest you are in your assessment of some of our learning. I agree that some of the applications and activities were less useful to me in my role than others, but it was certainly engaging to consider different ways of approaching things. I know I have changed my practices as a result of the new learning, and confirmed many of my beliefs about what is really important.

  2. Fantastic effort, well done Kirstin. It's great to hear that your students have been on board with your learning and also 'get' that you are a learner, just like them. I'm guessing that inspires them to try to new things because they can see that you are trying new things. When we can model positive learning behaviours, then students can see that it's okay to have a go, and sometimes fail, because we can't learn until we try. I can't imagine how anyone could have been bored during the course, there was way too much to think about. It was time consuming though and time away from our families and friends was a sacrifice that we had to make to complete these 32 weeks. Roll on summer, we have worked hard for it!

  3. What a great last blog Kirstin! Your reflections are very honest and I can really relate to your learning around leadership theories. This had the biggest impact on me in my practice and I too had little knowledge of "Lean" and "Agile" until the Mind Lab. I found that this part of the journey clarified what I did and did not like - it helped me understand myself as a practitioner and how my contributions affected others. I wish you luck with your "conquering" in the future :-)