Two weeks ago I finished an on-line IB History workshop. The workshop lasted six weeks and dozens of countries were represented. The aim of the workshop was to help teachers new to IB History learn how to put a course together. Throughout the six weeks, collaboration among participants was encouraged, and often required. Regrettably, those of us who collaborated so intensely for six weeks, dissipated into the aether after the workshop was finished. I never had the chance to share thoughts, positive or otherwise, with my peers. So I have invited you all here to see what I thought of our workshop, to share your own thoughts with me, and to hopefully remain in contact as our careers evolve.
On the positive front, I learned a lot from you all, in terms of course materials and creative teaching strategies. I also found the essay marking exercises very useful. As there are no higher History authorities at my school, it was a relief to see my own marks were in the range of those who actually do the final marking. It was also nice to read and take part in discussions, whether parsing out the meaning of “analyze,” or grappling with the essence of the ‘Learner Profile.’ On the flip side, my biggest gripe has to do with the uneven pacing of the workshop. Some of us clearly have more free time on our hands, and were thus able to mow through the various stages. The regrettable upshot of this is that I often found myself having discussions with the same few people. However enlightening these discussions may have been, I would have liked more exposure to the other eighty percent of our cohort. In a perfect world I would have the time to casually peruse the posts made on previous stages, but I lacked the time to do so. I also would have liked to engage more closely with our facilitator. I realize the very title “facilitator” suggests the role will be sort of behind the scenes, encouraging and provoking when required. But I know our particular facilitator knows a ton of useful stuff about IB History, and if we were in a classroom based workshop, it would have been much easier to learn from her expertise. On balance, then, I did learn from the workshop more about “how to put a course together” than I knew before going in, and for this I’m thankful. In the future, however, I will avoid the on-line platform, as the three days of face-to-face is richer, quicker, and much more fun… Please take a minute to comment, and please also check back here from time to time. I promise to keep this blog crackling with fresh materials, useful links, and sappy reflections on life in Hong Kong, and teaching at an International School… HO HO HO!!