Monday, January 14, 2013

ETMOOC- Redfining Success...



Hello, my name is Sean Grainger. I'm in my 19th year of learning as a teacher having experienced a diverse range of assignments. I am currently a Humanities 7 teacher at Glendale Sciences and Technology School in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. I am also my school's vice principal, (a newly re-tooled K-8 inquiry-based, science and technology focused school.)

Before returning to Glendale this past fall, (I was Glendale School's counselor three years ago,) I was a vice principal in a K-5th grade school here in Red Deer, and before that I worked with kids from at-risk environments in Red Deer Public School District's Alternative Programs for eight years. My career started at Tall Cree Indian Reservation in the far north of Alberta at the end of a four hour drive on a gravel road once the pavement ended. I worked within three First Nations communities for a total of six years before moving to Red Deer. My time working with First Nation's people taught me so much about learning and living; it was a priceless way to begin my career.

I am a firm believer that, more often than not, the path chooses us. If somebody asked me how I thought my career would go when I left undergraduate school, I would not have predicted my story would be told the way it has evolved. I appreciate this. More than anything about teaching and learning, I appreciate the fluid, organic and unpredictable nature of my job... there is a new and different challenge everyday for which I am thankful. I consider it a giant privilege to be immersed in the learning process everyday, and I am blessed to be surrounded by kids who are inquisitive, intelligent and eager to learn with me.

Joining #etmooc is another opportunity for me to learn from others, and to share experiences with them. I have been blogging for three years, and I've been a fierce consumer of educational technology since leaving graduate school in 2006. My learning spirit was rejuvenated there when I was introduced to blended learning through my cohort-based experience at City University, Bellingham, WA. I went to grad school because I wanted to... I had no tangible goal other than to learn on a different plane. I participated on my terms, and it is the most engaging and enlightening formal learning experience I have had. My work at City U opened many doors, but even if it hadn't, I was successful because I was there on my terms. I think I will be successful as a member of #etmooc for the same reason.

Beyond #etmooc, the concept of massive open online courses in general is very intriguing to me. This is my first participatory experience, and I am seeking insight into how MOOC's can benefit learners who don't have the privilege of geographic location, financial means or time to participate in face to face, traditional learning institutions.

Looking forward to connecting!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The story behind the story...

A Chinese hanzi is often made up of multiple characters to create a unique meaning. The hanzi above is constructed of different characters that individually represent ears, eyes, undivided attention and heart. A beautiful alternative definition of the verb to listen is created... to listen means to hear with your heart; to be totally engaged and focused on understanding deeper meanings behind what we hear.

Every day I am reminded of how important it is to listen to student`s stories. I am fortunate to have time during the school day to hear with my heart as I listen to the real reasons why kids end up in the office talking to me. Like the young man in this clip, sometimes kids just need an opportunity to be honest and real so we can understand their struggle better.


In my school, we don`t think of a trip to the office as a punitive thing. We think of it as a resiliency building thing. An office referral is one of four resiliency pathways (as we call them) within our school that kids travel down depending on the nature of their challenge on any given day. An office visit more often than not means some adverse behavior would have been displayed.
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