TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Over the past 4 years, I have had the pleasure of working with Michele and Geoff on professional learning projects across two schools in Brisbane – St Ignatius, Toowong and St Agnes, Mt Gravatt. Over this time I have come to know them well on a personal and professional level.
Through the project, Evolving Pedagogies through Visual Literacies and Multimodal Texts conducted at both schools, teachers had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding around current theories of literacy in contemporary learning environments, in the light of current curriculum directions, but also their pedagogical practice.
These projects were not conducted in the usual manner of disseminating information and expecting teachers to make the connections in their classroom practice. The introductory workshops deepened knowledge and understanding about multimodal texts, the codes and conventions of the five semiotic systems and evolving pedagogies. Each teacher selected two pedagogical focus areas to underpin the development of an action learning plan. In using an action learning/research process as the vehicle to gather, analyse and interpret data, teachers had the opportunity to reflect upon the explicit pedagogical changes they needed to improve their literacy practice, with an emphasis upon visual literacy.
Teachers’ reflection on their current practice in the company of their peers provided the opportunity for growth and change. In defining their goal, there was then the expectation that they follow their action learning/research process in a negotiated time frame. Michele and Geoff were always available to provide support for teachers to achieve their goals.
There have been many benefits of working on these projects with Michele and Geoff. The most significant being the action learning/research process to initiate and embed pedagogical change. At St Agnes in particular, where the project was conducted with all teachers, this process will continue to be used to improve pedagogy, and hence improve learning at the school. This will drive the school’s goals and their vision for learning and teaching into the future.
If I could sum up the effect that Michele and Geoff have upon not only teachers, but also a school, I would describe them as ‘change agents’. I would recommend them to any school wanting to instigate deep and sustained change to teaching and learning.
Primary Curriculum Leader; Teacher – Librarian; ICLT Leader, St Agnes School, Mt Gravatt, Brisbane