At the time of publishing this post, there’s only just over 1 week remaining until the first Falkirk TeachMeet! This is a follow-up to the previous post I wrote about what has been involved in the organisation of the event. A few of us are meeting up at the venue this Thursday to have a think about practical issues such as plug point locations and seating arrangements and general agenda issues.
Thankfully, others had stepped in almost as soon as the wiki had been set up with offers of help:
Sinclair Mackenzie organised a Flashmeeting and posted on the wiki that an edit will be made available for replay immediately after the event. So far 8 people from far-flung areas of Scotland – and at least one other from the other side of the world – are going to be able to take part during the event – and many others will be able to easily access it later via the replay.
On the evening, the Flashmeeting will be run by David Noble
Katie Barrowman has organised a Glow Meet – I’m not sure if that’s the first time that this has happened during a TeachMeet event?
Because of all this technical stuff going on, I was asked to find out things. I popped along to the venue and here’s what they told me:
I think it all means that the flashmeeting and the Glow meet can go ahead?
Fingers crossed 🙂
But there were other decisions to make about our first Falkirk Teachmeet. For example, John Connell questioned the insistence that all presentations should be based firmly in classroom practice in this excellent blog post. Before reading this, I hadn’t actually thought too much about the rules and regulations involved when organising a local TeachMeet event. It was comforting to be able to call on the other helpers so that we could make collective decisions. We felt that we had to make our own rules to suit our unique circumstances. The majority of the Falkirk Teachmeet attendees are new to the concept and only heard of it via an email that I had permission to send out to all schools and various groups.
We decided to change the three of the normal rules:
- Those who wanted to attend the TeachMeet after reading about it in the email were asked to simply reply and I added their names to the wiki. We didn’t want them to feel they had to sign up directly to the wiki, in case they saw as it as a barrier to attending if they were not familiar with editing online spaces.
- When we noticed that some of the ‘new to Teachmeet’ attendees were signing up to give 7 or 2 minute presentations, we decided to limit the number of presenters. It’s great to see that these new people are volunteering to share their stories of what they’re doing in class and it didn’t seem right that they might leave their first TeachMeet without having had the opportunity to present.
- The third decision was to bend the presentation rule that states, “everything must be happening in a classroom now“. This rule appears on the TeachMeet wiki in the organise your own section and the page was last edited by Ewan McIntosh (one year ago according to the wiki history tab?). The rule appears to have been interpreted to mean that ‘YOUR TALK MUST BE ABOUT EXPERIENCES OF WORK IN CLASSROOMS.’ … well, that’s what was copied and pasted by someone on to the Falkirk TeachMeet page and very recently on to the new East Lothian page. On the face of it, therefore, it seems quite controvertial to allow people who are not currently in class to talk ……. and to talk about about things that are not actually happening right now. But in our defence, the decision was made by something Ewan said when he commented on John Connell’s post mentioned earlier:
“…….Perhaps what’s required additionally to the realists’ innovations of TeachMeet is that equally essential headspace to think what would happen if? Let’s call it DreamMeet. You must talk about things that are not happening in classrooms We could have some fun reversing some of the TeachMeet constraints, and it would give me an excuse to put my head back around this particular unconference’s door!”
So – I hope that what we manage to do with Falkirk Teachmeet ’09 is to have a mixture of things that are happening in real classrooms right now …. and a bit of that ‘DreamMeet’ proposition thrown in for good measure:-)
I think it should remain that you have to present something you have done or plan to do, after all that’s why I’m going to Teachmeet, to learn something that is actually usable in my practice rather than goto a Lecture or some Policy anouncement.
I agree that no-one wants to go to a TeachMeet to hear a lecture or some policy announcement, Nick.
What I meant, though, is that it doesn’t need to be those in the classrooms who have worthwhile things to share.
I’m really looking forward to hearing from Katie, Con and some others who are not actually at the ‘chalkface’ at the moment (I suppose that because I’m on secondment, I could be counted as one of those technically breaking the ‘has to be happening in classrooms right now’ rule, too?)