Sunday, September 23, 2012

C4T Summary #1

David Truss teaches us about the quality of teaching and Inquiry Hub
For the C4T, I was assigned to Mr. David Truss, a Vice Principal with the Learning Innovations Network Coquitlam (in BC, Cananda) and with Coquitlam Open Learning & the new Inquiry Hub. His blog Pair-a-Dimes For your Thoughts is a place for many, many helpful advice and words of experience from him as an educator.

I commented on one of his post called "Pushing and Nudging with Andy Hargreaves"that consisted many, many great quotes about the quality of teaching and how we should teach our students! He was posting about a book called "The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change" by Andy Hargreaves and how that book made him rethink about our education. Within the post, he provided many quotes and phrases from Andy and twitter. It wasn't a very long or a detailed post but the quotes alone can make you think. One quote that made me think the most is one said by Andy Hargreaves. He says "the most significant in-school factor that affects student achievement is the quality of teaching." Like I told David Truss in my comments, many people misunderstand what "quality teaching" really is. A teacher has to teach effectively, support their students, be a guide and role model and etc. There has to be a structure. Without structure, everything is hectic and unorganized! A teacher has to be committed and understand that students will need your help!

Even so, I asked him what he kind of suggestions and advice he would give to a new teacher since we are all hoping to be teachers one day! He replied with a strong and powerful answer! It really sparked me and I never even thought of it that way. He chose the right words to relay his message. He says that he would suggest new teachers to be fearless and "model what it means to be a lifelong learner". By this, he means that we should teach our student to be daring, to accept failure and learn how failure can become the best teacher. With failure, you make new learning experiences, learn new ways to approach a problem and make you wiser. This isn't just to teach the students for a school environment but for their entire life. It's like what most people say. Mistakes are our best teachers. We learn the most when we make mistakes. David Truss is absolutely right on that! I'm quite surprised he actually replied!

On my second C4T assignment, I had the pleasure to read and comment on one of his most recent post, Digital Literacy and Inquiry Hub. He talks about a new system that they are running for their students. It's basically an online hub where students use technology to learn. Even though they are starting this, most students do not have the require skills to use it. During one of his lessons, he had to teach the students the basic essentials before using technology to communicate with the outer world. He taught them how to control themselves and respect. He also did a toothpaste activity and read a story called "The Bad Temper" to explain how the toothpaste project was related. Basically the students emptied the toothpaste tubes and had to put all of it back into the tube with provided resources. The students were broken up into groups of four and had to figure it out. This required team work and patience. It was very interesting. The activity is not so much about the toothpaste but how the students behave towards each other as they get frustrated with the activity. It's a life lesson. This is a good learning experience and it is helpful especially before using technology to communicate online.


  1. Greetings Anna,

    Thanks for taking the time to read a couple of my blog posts!

    With respect to the toothpaste activity, students had a lot of fun and there wasn't really much frustration in the room. Rather the lesson was more about the inability to get all of the toothpaste back into the tube, and how that connects to hurtful words that can never be fully taken back... especially when they are shared digitally and can be copied and shared extensively.

    Since you are a K-6 major, here is a short post with a little slogan I used in a Pre-K to Grade 9 school:

    And this is a collection of resources that you can share with Mr. Strange and/or your class:
    These are my bookmarks of blog posts that I think are useful for teachers beginning their careers.(There is a lot there... I've been collecting these for years now!)

    Best of luck with you course and your studies,

    1. Greetings Mr. Truss,

      Thank YOU for taking the time to reply my blog post, answer questions and giving me superb advice!

      Ah, I guess I slightly misunderstood the toothpaste activity. Now I fully understand! The toothpaste can be the amount of hurtful words that can never be taken back, or rather filled back into the tube. Like the nails, there will always be a scar that cannot be mended. It is important for students, even adults, to understand this concept especially sharing and working online. This is also useful and something to learn for our EDM310 class since we are communicating with children, educators and other people around the world via the internet.

      Just recently, we learned the important steps to doing a quality peer edit in order for us to help our fellow classmates with improving their blog posts. After discussing it with a few classmates, it seems like most of us refrain from posting honest comments because they may be "hurtful" or "rude". It is hard for us to tell each other what we are really doing wrong with our blogs whether it be grammatical mistakes or not following directions. With that, Dr. Strange provided us several resources in order to help us make a polite yet honest comment without being hurtful. It is important to help and support each other. This may be a little off from your toothpaste activity but it seems to be a similar concept. Instead of using hurtful words to relay an honest message, we can do it another way that don't leave a scar in a person.

      I've read the "A Culture of Caring" post and I loved it! It makes sense. I think it is important to "dare" and make mistakes. We can only benefit from that. Being daring and make mistakes only open a new path to new learning experiences, make us thinkers and stronger as an individual. We learn to strive and seek answers. With "care, share and dare" we also learn how to work with others, communicate effectively, be respectful, be fearless and be eager learners!

      Honestly and with experience as a student, many teachers I've come across don't really encourage mistakes. It brings me back to the video I watched on TED by Sir Ken Robinson "School Kills Creativity" ( ). I am sure not all schools or teachers do it. Because I believe being daring, fearless and that mistakes are a good thing, I find myself purposely making mistakes (without hurting my grades of course). I have always felt it was one of the best ways for us to learn as students and as a person. It's a life-learning experience. We learn to accept mistakes and improve on it. We build character. We discover new ways of thinking. It may be foolish of me do make mistakes on purpose but it has always helped me. I ask myself more questions and find new answers. It's like challenge for me. In my future classroom, I hope to encourage my students to be bold, caring, sharing, daring and be fearless. They should not be afraid to step into new boundaries or making discoveries of their own!

      Thank you for providing your collection of resources. In EDM310, we are suggested to us "Delicious" as it will help us expand our learning. This is a good opportunity for me to use that site more often!

      Looking forward for more of your thoughtful and intriguing posts,

      -Anna Zhuo