Last week I had my first opportunity to both attend and present at a Teachmeet event. For those of you outside the education sector I shall endeavour to explain the idea. Teachers and trainees may want to skip to section 2.
Teachmeets began around 2006 in Scotland as a way for teachers and educators to get together and ‘share good practice’ Over the last 10 years they have grown and are now held regularly around the world and vary in size and stature from small local events to international conferences attracting renowned key-note speakers.
As part of our training there is an expectation that we present at least once during the year and having missed the last event in the autumn I was persuaded to put together a presentation this time around. Having been to numerous industry conferences in my former life and spending many an hour listening to less than interesting talks I must admit to being a touch skeptical about the impact and usefulness of Teachmeets as a concept. However I can categorically say from the outset that they are invaluable, engaging and time well spent.
I was asked to speak about using problem-solving in lessons to bring subjects such as science to life having used just such a concept in an observation lesson earlier in the term. I decided to adapt this slightly to talk about getting students to take risks and develop their investigative skills through problem solving tasks and using their creativity to help them understand concepts and ideas. I discussed the idea that in the early stages of a science education at least the process of learning and trying out ideas is way more important than the product or the end result. Getting the right answer is not always about getting the right result. I was also able to share some of the creative ways that my students has chosen to ‘write-up’ their experiments through modelling, video and song. Not perfect science but perfect process.
One of the most popular things at Teachmeets is the use of Twitter to provide a running commentary not only to those unable to be there but also to participants and the audience in the room at the event. Here are a selection of the tweets that my talk generated.