Bookmarked What Can Students Do? by Cameron PatersonCameron Paterson (

Teachers do too much of the learning and thinking for students. It does not have to be this way. When teachers work harder than students, young people become inculcated into coming to school to watch the adults work. If we want them to learn; if we want them to think, this is not something that can be outsourced. And if we want them to take responsibility for the culture and feel of the classroom and school, we need to invite them into the conversation, and even step away and let them take the lead. What do you complain about having to do that your students could do tomorrow?

Cameron Paterson reflects upon the question of what can students do in the classroom? He shares examples of where his students have co-constructed assessment criteria, self-assessed their work, written their own report comments and taught their own lessons. This reminds me of Bianca Hewes’ work with ‘meddles and missions’.

Personally, I have tried a few of these things when I was in the classroom, making the curriculum explicit and getting the students to work with me to design assessments. I even got my Year 8 Media Studies class to design their own excursion, including making inquiries with various places in preparation. In these situations I guess the focus of the teaching were the skills associated with how to learn.

The issue that I had was that I was only one part of the week for these students and that this was all vastly different to how other teachers and classes were operating. I guess the point then is how much can students do when we let them?

It is interesting thinking about all this outside of the classroom. In my role working with teachers and administration on some of the day-to-day technical trivialities, such as academic reporting and attendance. It is always so easy to just fix problems as they arise. However, I always endeavour to meet half-way, whether it be to provide a short summary or to actually walk through a problem. The challenges in these situations is the limits of time, I wonder if that too is sometimes the challenge in the classroom too.

Replied to Fit2Learn: Learning How to Learn | Silvia Tolisano- Langwitches Blog (

This is a potential roadmap (among many others)… a guide to getting fit to learn how to learn in (only a few weeks away from) the third decade of the 21st century and to teach and educate children who will live into the 22nd century!

This is a great provocation Silvia. I have been wondering about what changes when teachers leave the classroom and enter different roles. Clearly there are no longer children, but I think that sometimes the challenge can be to stay ‘Fit2Learn’ as you put it. I particularly like how you break learning down into the different aspects, including mental training, physical training, process, fuel, injury and events. It reminds me of Tom Whitby’s adage: “If we are to better educate our kids, we need first to better educate their educators.”
Bookmarked The Need for Transformational Learning is Long Overdue: (We need a “Greta Thunberg” for Education) by Val MargaritVal Margarit (Heutagogy Community of Practice)

Education should encourage students to explore, control and design their individual learning experience based on their own values, and interests. Educators can achieve this by creating heutagogical learning environments that support, motivate and empower students to trust their abilities, to take chances, and to learn from mistakes. The unpredictable world needs proactive, self-directed people with the skills to survive and thrive in diverse working environments.

Val Margarit discusses the six steps she uses for encouraging heutagogical learning environments:

  1. Awareness of teacher expectations and the Pygmalion effect.
  2. Making mindful choices for how to proceed.
  3. Help students focus on an intention.
  4. Repeat this process again and again.
  5. Support students with their emotions.
  6. Complete daily journals to plot the learning journey.

In some ways this reminds me of Joel Speranza’s entry and exit strategy.


Kathleen McClaskey provides a breakdown of agency and self-determined learning.
Replied to Expand Your Horizons (Daily-Ink & Pair-a-dimes un-post-ed)

We are so lucky to live in an era where learning something new is always within our reach. Not just home repair, but new skills and new approaches to the way we think, learn, work, and play.

What are you currently trying to do that you couldn’t do before? How are you expanding your horizons?

I remember when I was growing up I would prize the guitar tabs that my music teacher would write out for me. Now, I search for the chords/tabs or watch various tutorials on YouTube, such as Brian Martin’s Easy Guitar Tutorials. Although I do not get the feedback that comes with having a teacher, it means that I can keep on learning.

This all reminds me of anywhere, anytime learning, as well as Amy Burvall’s focus on the power of the mobile device as the ultimate learning tool. It makes me wonder about the move to ban devices.

I am also left wondering if this penchant for learning when I want impedes deeper learning over time that sometimes comes through frustration with the unknown or ‘productive struggle‘.

Anyway, enough from me for now.

P.S. Enjoying your daily blogs David

Bookmarked School Growth: Building on Strengths by Chris Wejr (

Considering the success of self-regulation as a focus, could we now try to maintain that self-reg culture while shifting the focus to growth in reading?  He agreed that there had been an awesome success with self-reg and that we had a strong platform of literacy (especially reading) that we could build on.  With Mark’s positive experience with reading instruction and self-regulation, along with his strong relationships with staff, he could help lead us to shift from a focus on self-reg to a focus on reading.

Chris Wejr discusses the way in which his staff have extended the focus of self-regulation and strength-based learning into the area of reading achievement. He discusses some of the strategies that they have used to support and encourage this, such as Strong staff collaboration and ongoing professional development. In some ways, this reminds me of the work that I was a part of using disciplined collaboration as the framework.
Bookmarked Why Feedback Rarely Does What It’s Meant To (Harvard Business Review)

We humans do not do well when someone whose intentions are unclear tells us where we stand, how good we “really” are, and what we must do to fix ourselves. We excel only when people who know us and care about us tell us what they experience and what they feel, and in particular when they see something within us that really works.

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall dive into the world of feedback. They argue that in many respects, it fails to achieve the intended outcome.

Focusing people on their shortcomings doesn’t enable learning; it impairs it.

Buckingham and Goodall highlight three theories that those who believe in feedback as often accepts as true:

  • That other people are more aware than you are of your weaknesses, and that the best way to help you, therefore, is for them to show you what you cannot see for yourself.
  • That the process of learning is like filling up an empty vessel: You lack certain abilities you need to acquire, so your colleagues should teach them to you.
  • That great performance is universal, analyzable, and describable, and that once defined, it can be transferred from one person to another, regardless of who each individual is.

In response, they propose a number of strategies to support the development of others, including:

  • Look for outcomes
  • Replay your instinctive reactions
  • Explore the present, past, and future

This is something I have written about too, discussing the problem of feedback.