The more you’re learning is about discovering how to function in a dysfunctional situation, the more wedded your skillset is to those types of situations.
The more you focus on learning that is transferable and valuable, the better off you will be.
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?
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.
This post is the outgrowth of an (online) conversation I had yesterday after an event I’d attended. It was a conference I used to go to every year which, for some reason this year mostly left me cold.
1. Encourage participation
2. Provide clear scope
3. Ensure a diverse range of speakers/facilitators
4. Challenge the audience with different views
5. Have tracks and/or themes
6. Provide space for chatting
7. Recognise off-stage talent
8. Provide a mix of session formats and lengths
9. Get the food right
10. Build a community
This reminds me of, but with more depth.
I may not have all the answers, but I think I am good at capturing particular problems at hand and with that drawing on past practice to come up with possible solutions. I am going to assume this is why people come to me with such diverse questions and quandaries.
I often think that the real magic is finding the time to take the next step.
One of the bigger projects I’ve been working on during my internship at WAO was redesigning and rethinking our learnwith.wearopen.coop platform. Over the past years, We Are Open worked with a variety…
Learning Creates is a new alliance bringing together a range of stakeholders to focus on personalized, passion-based learning as the key to modernizing education and preparing young people for successful futures. There is now an Australian hub for the Mastery Transcript Consortium, an expanding network of schools who are introducing a digital high school transcript for students to have their unique strengths, abilities, interests, and histories nurtured and recognized. Big Picture Learning Australia is transforming education by retiring the traditional ‘appointment learning’ where everyone learns the same things according to a fixed timetable inside the walls of a school.
There is lots to know about the brilliantly complex act of teaching and learning. Here is my list of 10 things to know in the plainest terms possible
If you’re someone who designs learning experiences, I hope you’ll take Wordle as a challenge.
- Can you create a wealth of learning opportunities with only a simple prompt?
- Can you design the activity and support so that everyone learns as much from failure as success?
- Can you offer feedback that goes beyond “right” and “wrong,” that helps learners identify everything right about their wrong answers?
- Can you make room for multiple paths to correctness?
- Can you offer learners a representation of their learning they can share with other people?
- Failure is expected.
- Effective feedback.
- Different routes to the same answer.
- Your learning results in a product you can share.
- It’s social
For a different perspective, Daniel Victor provides a profile of Josh Wardle and the meteoric rise of the once-a-day game. While as an alternative, sajadmh has created a version of Wordle in Google Sheets.
As the three examples I’ve sketchily outlined here indicate, learning loss can’t be understood as a ‘whole’ without disaggregating it into its disparate elements and the various measurement practices they rely on. I’ve counted only three ways of measuring learning loss here—the original psychometric studies; testing companies’ assessments of reading and numeracy; and econometric calculations of ‘hysteresis effects’ in the economy—but even these are made of multiple parts, and are based on longer histories of measurement that are contested, incompatible with one another, sometimes contradictory, and incoherent when bundled together.
There is evidence that instruction, practice and repetition works, if the aim is to retain large amounts of information, although it’s less clear whether you can successfully impose this on other people without a very strict regime of control. The quibble is more about philosophy of education and whether retaining large amounts of particular types of information is the goal we should have for our children’s education. And there are some difficult questions about exactly what the purpose is of requiring children to learn a lot of information before they are allowed to engage in critical thinking or question what they are learning.
The cognitive model is only one of many. There is an extensive body of research which shows how, from a very early age, children are engaged as active agents in their learning and learn through play. They test hypotheses, problem solve and come up with creative solutions. Alison Gopnik, professor of developmental psychology at University of California, Berkeley, calls this the ‘child as scientist’ theory of learning, and anyone who has spent time with a young child will have seen it in action. They mix things together, they experiment with floating and sinking, they ask purposeful questions. My own daughter did a series of complex experiments aged about six when she would put various concoctions in the freezer, oven and in the bath under water, to see what would happen. The first I knew of it was when black smoke started emanating from the kitchen. Scientific enquiry was so alive in our home that every time I opened the fridge a new experiment fell out.
This reminds me of Gert Biesta’s three: qualification, socialization and subjectification
For me, what matters is not necessarily the content, but the conditions created that provide the possibility for personal problem solving. To reword Rushkoff’s question, is professional development meant to solve our riddles or pose new ones?
I was intrigued by your statement about being an ‘expert on learning’:
I really believe that people educating room full of experts on learning should be absolute masters of learning – otherwise they’re hardly qualified to be doing that job.
I wonder if all learning is the same and with that if all professional development is the same?
The difference between a theme method and a curriculum with an emerging focus is that that what children actually know about the subject or topic is as relevant as their interest in that content. The message being communicated through the use of themes is that there is a great deal of information to be consumed by children through a transmission model of learning. Themes related to the seasons, alphabet, numbers and geometric shapes are accepted as important concepts for children. What is missing is the empowering possibilities of co-constructing learning with children. Moving beyond themes to experiences that encourage deep thinking while making learning visible will give voice to children.
You need to be humiliated to learn
Accept that students can, and will, be present in multiple spaces if they have a screen with them and find ways to create presence overlaps. This is different from simply attempting to manage their attention between room to screen.
In short: For DeVries and Zan (channeling Piaget), the temptation to be avoided is sugarcoating control in the form of “positive reinforcement”; the alternative is to work with kids to support their social and moral development. For Dewey, the temptation to be avoided is sugarcoating lessons in a vain effort to disguise their lack of value; the alternative is learner-centered education that supports students’ intellectual development (and sustains their enthusiasm).