Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

February 26, 2011

Duffy’s last great escape!

 Our pet terrier Duffy was killed on Sunday evening as he tried to run across the road.

Duffy RIP

Those of you who have stayed here for a course will remember him as a cute little black and white dog sitting with his bottom against the Aga (cooker). He was friendly, always on the lookout for tidbits and just a bit of a scoundrel! He liked to play and was always ready to join in games indoors and out.

If you are one of those students who wanted to take him out for a walk you will also remember that we warned you that given the chance he would run away. Many people didn’t believe us and came back with an empty lead and the dog down a rabbit hole underground scuffling and barking – he would stay there for hours returning only when it started to get dark and he was dirty, hungry and tired. Duffy was, above all, a great adventurer!

 Although he enjoyed the warmth of the kitchen and the comfort of our home he was unable to resist the smell of rabbits and the call of wide open spaces. Many a time we’ve trampled the local fields looking for him or received phone calls from worried neighbours who have seen him trotting along the road in search of adventure!

Imogen sporting Duffy's rosettes

The first time he escaped he was just six months old! He didn’t go very far but did manage to find his way into someone’s house where he started an argument between the adults and the children as to whether they could keep him or not!  Duffy had a reputation in the village for squaring up to dogs much bigger than him and the most famous example of this was when he had a huge fight with a local sheep dog during the handsomest dog class at the local dog show in the village.

His vision of himself was far bigger than the sum of his parts and this was his charm! He never held back and was always ready for something new!

When we got a second dog he took charge and led this new and unsuspecting playmate into all kinds of  mischief.   He loved being around people, the chance of a snack or a game with one of us but he loved the lure of the outside world even more.

Duffy with our other dog Maguire

 It was his oyster and he took every opportunity to escape and explore. We would often be out listening for his bark down a rabbit hole, trying to entice him out with treats and having to wait until he was ready to emerge. On a couple of occasions he stayed out all night and we found him curled up under the car in the morning. Other times he would appear covered in mud and sand but contented – he was one of the most bathed dogs around!

He loved the coal shed, the wood shed, running around the tennis court after the ball but mostly breaking free and finding a new set of rabbit burrows or a new dog to play with. He loved us too. He enjoyed nothing more than a game of ball on the lawn in the summer,to chase around in the leaves we had just raked in the autumn and to bark loudly at snowmen the children had made in the winter.

Duffy and the cats Nip and Tuck

He loved everybody and we all loved him. We miss him terribly. He was part of our family, he was part of Fleetham Lodge and the experience people had when they stayed with us but he was also much bigger than all of this. When I think about his life – 6 years – it was one of pushing boundaries, taking chances and never settling for the status quo.

He looked at the wide open spaces and he couldn’t resist going out there to see what they might hold. He was truly a risk taker, an explorer, restless and curious. His 6 years were filled with adventure and that made him truly alive and fun to be with.

We worried about him, we got very annoyed with him but we also admired his spirit, I think we can all learn a lot from Duffy

His last great escape was spectacular – he tried to cross the A1 ( the major road running from London to Edinburgh). Sadly he failed this one time but he set his sights high. We too must set our sights high, we have to take risks, to fail in order to achieve.  We should be prepared to push the limits.

Saying Goodbye

We were lucky enough to be able to bring him home and place him in our garden in one of his favourite spots. We all feel very sad, we miss him but we are also inspired by him.

My daughter once said that he was a little dog with a big ambition. A ‘vaulting ambition’ which did o’erleap itself” sadly.

This is his epitaph but it also reminds us never to limit ourselves. We can all have great ambition and be so much more than we are.

February 7, 2011

Are Edcamps & TeachMeets viable alternatives to professional development

#Edchat 01-02–2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

We are thrilled to have our summary provided this week by Joe Jacquot @WackJacq who is no stranger to PD. He has caught the enthusiasm for edcamps and teachmeets very well and I’m sure you will find the summary both enjoyable and informative. For Joe’s bio see the end of the post.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  •  #edchat educators compared the ways in which Edcamps and Teachmeets differ from than traditional professional development.
  •  Many teachers agreed that the newer formats are more effective.
  •  Although admittedly not an exclusive list, most of the participants supported the idea of using elements of Edcamps and Teachmeets in PD:
  •  for educators who are interested in creative ways to meet the needs of their students. (@Marama)
  •  for more environments for collaboration (@tomwhitby)
  •  for collaboration and learning in mind, not pushing agenda (@ktenkely)
  •  for time and resources to focus on teaching and learning during the school day (@ian23505)
  •  for educators to connect , socialize & collaborate (@ShanaAtDS)
  •  for control over their own learning (@L_Hilt:)(@stumpteacher)
  •  for face to face interaction (@web20classroom)
  •  for passion — driven to be what you need it to be (@justintarte)
 Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@2footgiraffe: PD should not be a, “let’s all sit here for 6 hours and listen to someone.” Let people choose.

@aaronmueller: Edcamp can help create relationships and PLN that extends past the event, helping throughout entire career! #edchat #mentoring

@andycinek: The edu conference model needs to stop being a fraternity of common voices.

@becky7274:  How will we ever get kids to see mistakes as a way to grow if teachers refuse to take risks and make mistakes themselves? #edchat

@bhsprincipal: I have said it before that #edcamp is a signal from teachers that they can do PD better on their own.

@bjnichols: PD is useful when it is job-embedded, differentiated, connected, and followed-up on. #edchat

@blairteach: TeachMeet is an event planned & produced by participants to share & collaborate on topics they decide upon.

@cmcgee200: As an aspiring administrator, my number one goal will be allowing teachers to fail, and celebrating their risk.

@cybraryman1: Experience an edcamp/TeachMeet & you will see how great they are for sharing, collaborating and re-energizing yourselves

@davidwees: Traditional PD = I share. Edcamp = We share.

@ellclassroom:  I think advertising is a key component of getting more educators on board. Most I talk to have no idea what I’m talking about

@fliegs: I agree. Admin has to build collab time into the schedule if tchrs are going to get anywhere. #edchat

@geraldaungst: andycinek The “purposeful” part is important. Autonomy is not automatically relevant.

@hadleyjf: We need times for new ideas and then times when we get together and plan! Create a new curriculum – a week at a time!

JoAnnJ68: We are indeed all learners & the more we share the stronger ties we develop which results in better collaboration & teaching #edchat

jrichardson30: Radicals is what we are here! RT @shyj: Roots are so deep, need some “tornado like” educators to uproot and get things rolling

@justintarte: I love @cmcgee200 ‘s point…edcamps/teachmeets are like using Twitter – everyday you use Twitter U R attending an edcamp/teachmeet #edchat

@justwonderinY: @blairteach I think it’s more about Leade rshipMeets, doesn’t really matter if admin or teacher. Goals should be same? #edchat

@ktenkely: @wmchamberlain Yes! We need opportunities for in-depth collaborating and learning. #immersivePD #edchat #unpd

@KTVee: live in a world where I can learn more at home on a snow day from twitter than at some expensive conferences. $ does not = quality #edchat

@L_Hilt: We really need to include admin. Otherwise how can they plan these types of experiences for their teachers? #edchat

@lisalearner: great intro to #edcamp and unconferences article for those who want a little background http://bit.ly/bb0Eu2 #edchat

@malcolmbellamy: There’s no pay, it’s after school and everyone is enthusiastic…it sums it up #edchat

@shyj:  @Mrskmpeters Exactly! And in 21st c, there are so many ways that knowledge is available and learning never has to stop. #edchat

@michellek107: We have so many ppl in our own buildings that could share & are not experts, but have smthng worth sharing #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

If “Schools Kill Creativity,” what can we teachers do to help reverse or mitigate this apparent side effect?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

davidwees: See this article for a description of an #edcamp. Why teacher run professional development? http://is.gd/hHUJtP #edcampvan #edchat

ChrisVacek:  New Post: Do You Want a SpEdCamp? http://bit.ly/hdgel3  Please Comment & RT! #edchat

cybraryman1:  RT @cybraryman1: Example of chart of sessions at recent #TMGA11 http://yfrog.com/h8bhakj

lisalearner:  @unhmba @KTVee many diff formats, but main point is it’s free and attendees do the presenting–see this article http://bit.ly/bb0Eu2

cybraryman1:  My EdCamp/TeachMeet page (with calendar of upcoming ones): http://bit.ly/dg1Jsk  #edchat eg: Feb 5 – TeachMeet East 2 (Norwich, UK)

lisalearner: This TeachMeet followed a speed-dating model to share ideas–great way to see variety of teaching models! http://bit.ly/548OEH

cybraryman1:  #tmeast #ntcamp2011 #TMNJ #edcampOmaha #edcampVancouver #edcampbham #edcampBoston #edcampPlano http://bit.ly/dg1Jsk

geraldaungst:  @KTVee Basically, yes. See here: http://bit.ly/gcztOw #edcamp #edchat

geraldaungst: A brand new wiki for sharing unconventional PD ideas like today’s #edchat topic: http://unpd.pbworks.com. Join and contribute! #unpd

cybraryman1: Try a Smackdown (http://bit.ly/dWTawr) at a faculty conference to get them in the mood for edcamp/TeachMeet #edchat

ToddAHoffman: How mentoring is helping one district retain science teachers http://sbne.ws/r/6EhZ  #edtech #edchat

andycinek: i’m in contact with edu departments & preservice programs to bring in new teachers for #ntcamp http://bit.ly/c2Pr95  #edchat

EdCampOmaha:  Great #EdCamp conversation during #edchat today. Speaking of which, sign up to join us March 26th! http://t.co/VjWMasB

web20education: New #edtech20 post #ntchat #edchat #lrnchat , Worldwide educators you are invited to join my… http://goo.gl/fb/okYw2

trbaker: Five Great TED Talks for Educators http://ow.ly/3OcEA  #edchat #education #geo #scichat #edchat

L_Hilt: Yeah. Here it is. Then @phsprincipal & I got busy w/ unexpected new jobs & such over summer. http://j.mp/gLsd1s  #edchat #leadcamp

stevejmoore:  Witchita, KS. I’d go. http://bit.ly/hdgel3  #edcamp #edchat

WackJacq:  WOW- via @theschlechtycenter: http://bit.ly/3CreF  Watch the video. Working on the WORK is about creating work kids want to do. #edchat

stumpteacher:  @shyj @blairteach Kids learn more when you give up control…http://bit.ly/fJRxcu

WackJacq:  @surreallyno @ShellTerrell: Working on the Work http://amzn.to/fbcfo4 -His seminal book. He has many other now. Worth a read. #edchat

andycinek: NEW RULES: #ntcamp 2011: Find three new voices in your building and bring them to #ntcamp or an #edcamp #edchat http://bit.ly/c2Pr95

cybraryman1:  Hope to see y’all at #edcampbham See my Calendar: http://bit.ly/atUkDb #edchat

2footgiraffe: #edchat speaking of Teachmeets and educons – here is the participant form for TeachMeet TN/Memphis/Nashville http://bit.ly/eJ4Fk4

andycinek:  Good #edchat must be on my way, but please introduce a new voice to #ntcamp Burlington or Philly this year http://bit.ly/c2Pr95

davidwees:  Thanks all. Participate in your local #edcamp! See this page for details & some dates. http://is.gd/LpKV6G#edchat #unconference

I am a currently teaching Humanities and Latin to American high school students. Lately I have been blogging about my ideas on education, and my experiences acting on those ideas in the classroom. Current topics I am interested in are: classroom2.0, using free technology in the classroom to make learning more personalized and authentic. At the moment I am focusing on Schlechty, PBL, and the vodcasting and mastery learning approach begun by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams in Colorado.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

February 1, 2011

What is impact on education considering fact that many new leaders of #edreform are from business & not education?

#Edchat 24-01–2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to David Weston (@informed_edu) for the #edchat summary for last week’s chat. The discussion was certainly energetic and at times polarised. As a relative newcomer to #edchat, David has given us a fresh perspective! I’m sure you will agree that the summary captures the essence of another great #edchat session! Find out more about David at the end of the post.
This was a fast and furious #edchat and covered a huge range of topics. Initial conversation centred around the implications of business principles being applied in education, and whether the values of the two worlds were compatible, with a lot of focus on whether businesses could or should invest in education and/or expect a return. Many contributors were keenly aware that education reformers often cite business and management ideas as reasons to implement change – this had clearly touched a raw nerve with some – with some discussions reflecting the wider debate in the political sphere. Aside from this tension, which ran through whole chat, there were many suggestions about areas of education that could potentially benefit from a more business-like approach, and also some thoughts about strengths within education that could be learned by business.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • If schools promote learning and business promotes profit, can they work together?
  • Can businesspeople help foster innovation and efficiency?
  • Would a greater engagement with business end up pushing the ‘accountability’ agenda?
  • Examples of successful collaborations between business and education
  • What desired outcomes would we want from collaboration?
  • Would the risk-taking nature of business be acceptable in education?

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cybraryman1 – “What is the impact on education considering the fact that many new leaders of ed reform are from business & not education?”
@davidwees – “Businesses have shown themselves to be often uncaring, and lacking empathy b/c focus on bottom line. We want this for schools?”
@fliegs – “Children are not products” & “Schools are not businesses”
@rliberni – “I think the way we move children thru school sometimes makes them seem like products”
@mbaprogrms – “The methods businesses have may not work for the classroom– however, they are good leaders, so maybe we could focus on that?”
@informed_edu – “If you get business people focusing on long-term outcomes for students, it would drive better change.”
@CTuckerEnglish – “Performance and pay tend to go hand-in-hand in business world so incentive programs and merit pay are reminiscent of business model”
@slaleman – “even business doesn’t use the business model anymore…look at Google”
@jpsteltz – “Edu could learn from marketing techniques used in business. Our profession is NOT marketed well”
@SErwin – “Students pay private entities to take online classes. Why are school dist not offering them?”
@cybraryman1 – “Should businesses invest in schools financially?”
@JenVonid – “y shouldn’t schools partner w/ businesses. A large company partnered w/ a local charter skool, paid 4 all the technology, gym, etc”
@jonbergmann – “Example: Morgridge Family Foundation (Cisco) is partnering with us to share the flipped classroom model”
@ian23505 – “Local business in MA providing $10k per year for the next 5 years for tech implementation.”
@rliberni – “Does it have to be a them and us?”
@ericjuli – “Implication is bcse business leaders went to school, they are “education experts.” Must further professionalize teaching&leading”
@daveandcori – “Businesses have streamlined processes, become efficient, decreased meetings, integr tech, decrease paper – education is way behind”
@rdlln – “We had to spend $3,000 on software we didn’t need. It couldn’t be spent on anything else or saved. No business would do that.”
@Nunavut_Teacher – “Are schools letting government off the hook by getting business to fill a $ void? ”
@sram_socrates – “Education is more of a web-design while business is more linear with a defined end result”
@geraldaungst – “Business sees edu as a means of producing better employees. Our mission is larger than that.”
@wmchamberlain – “Teaching students how to learn makes them better employees than teaching them skills that get dated…”
@pete_rodrigues – “The misconception is the business want cogs – most don’t. They want thinkers”
@nsharoff – “I’m tired of everyone ‘fighting’ each other (parents-admin-teachers-students-business), let’s take the best of all & put it together”
@CTuckerEnglish “Defining “profit” is a crucial step in the process of deciding how to accurately assess that profit. What are we truly assessing?”

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

What long-term effects do we want to be having on our students?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

WSDTechInfo:  Participate in this week’s #edchat http://bit.ly/8LXuMB

cybraryman1:  Need more school business partnerships like Open Doors http://cybraryman.com/careerssubjects.html

sbenglin: Englin tells it like it is re: education funding and investing in human capital: http://ow.ly/3JX9X#edchat #educationnation

davidwees:  @informed_edu We don’t need a innovation in education. We need to start using what we know works. http://is.gd/GJKxy5

informed_edu: @davidwees Yes Long term impact is good. Education focuses on short-term. We need ’10-year survival rates’ http://ow.ly/3JXjN

edutopiahubert: I think ed and bus needs each other… “America’s high schools are obsolete,” Bill Gates. http://bit.ly/fMlM30

thechalkface:  What if we treated doctors the way we treated teachers? http://huff.to/hwRcSS

daveandcori: CBIA Externship program – http://j.mp/fLKAMe #edchat connecting business and education

informed_edu:  I learned a huge amount by reading about business and healthcare. Some lesson can transfer, and should #edchat http://ow.ly/3JXjN

edutopiahubert:  Businesses can also lend out their human resources. http://bit.ly/fJ2hIG #edchat

jbrogley:  I’m taking a tour this spring of this business. Their campus along is innovative and inspiring. http://bit.ly/c9dM15

cybraryman1:  My students gained a lot from our Health Careers program http://cybraryman.com/hcp.html

RobertSAllen1: #edchat everyone see #unbound right now if you are not already. Change is happening and business (non and for) are … http://bit.ly/heUINc

WorldofLearning: For more information on the Learning #Unbound summit, visit http://knowledgeworks.org/conversation

davidwees: RT @StepanVdovine: business and schools can’t be welded at the hip – http://bit.ly/a8BpP7

davidwees:  Want teachers to trust your business more? Fine: Help clean this up => http://is.gd/EYdjVo

ViSandford:  A great community effort to support literacy. “Canmore-based comic company telling Canadian stories.” http://ow.ly/3JZt7 

eSchoolNews:  Future murky for virtual classrooms http://ow.ly/3JPUF

cybraryman1: My iPad page http://cybraryman.com/ipad.html. Great device to use while on the road. Great chatting while my wife drives in Georgia #edchat

shankerblog: Yale ends teacher programs due 2 lack of interest yet 18%ofstudents apply to Teach for America http://bit.ly/hw3hgQ 

CoachInTheLab:  http://bit.ly/fOZS00 <– The new “plan” for education here. Read it and tell me what you think… most educators are up in arms. #edchat

web20classroom: All You Educational Chat Participants-We Have A Project For You: http://bit.ly/hqShZa   #edchat #ntchat #ELTChat #mathchat

 David Weston (@informed_edu) is a secondary school Maths and Physics teacher and data manager at Watford Grammar School for Boys in the UK, with a Masters in Engineering from Oxford University. He runs an education data consultancy where he is producing training and analysis tools for classroom practitioners and school leaders. David is an honorary associate researcher at Brunel University and is looking at effective use of data. He is an e-learning enthusiast, and has interests in learning and leadership, and has consulted for a number of education-related start-ups. David lives in north London with his civil partner, is a former professional latin-american dancer, and, in 2009, a grateful recipient of a liver transplant after some years fighting off a rare liver disease. Find out more and follow his blog at http://www.informededucation.com

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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