I’ve come to realise that my own promotion of “Creativity” in the classroom is born of two conflicting ideals due to me not clearly understanding the hidden agendas in well published thoughts…
I’ve recently trained some teachers in the rules I use for posters, infographics, and slides. Given that I produced a poster about my guidelines during the session, I thought I may as well share them here. We looked at ensuring slides etc have the most impact and the desired response. Studnets in all schools see so many slides and posters around the place that it can easily start blurring together. As the look of everything can be limited to a small number of default templates that appear first in the apps, teachers good intentions then get hampered by overlapping in the visual memory of the learners. I offered 4 decisions that keep each product more unique.
Ideas and connections made in just the first 6 months of our two-year journey include: timetable redesign ideas from staff and students; how to fit mentoring into the existing timetable until we change it; how we can develop project-based learning within the existing structures to prepare material for 2020. Teachers have made their own links with other integrated and project-based schools (without being asked to).
Proposal: Changing your high school structures to match the thinking of Finland, New Zealand, Ken Robinson, and many others will halve your class sizes and stress levels.
It’s easier implemented as a full school and not in a seperate programme.
Teachers design a menu of interdisciplinary projects based around themes or phenomenon that have a focus on key existing curriculum.
All non-teaching / personal time slots are simultaneous for all. This means all teachers, rooms and resources are timetabled for simultaneous use, meaning each teacher shares the load and you have smaller student numbers to monitor on either a project and mentor group.
Consider Zoning groups of classrooms into Project zones. The usual 5 teachers from 5 rooms are timetabled into the zone to each mentor their smaller number of students.
All teachers take on a general academic mentoring group to focus on learning and project progress.
Teachers share the planning and monitoring of projects which makes the measuring of progress more palatable than traditional standardised teaching and marking.
Projects can be designed generically enough around a theme or phenomenon that they can be simultaneously offered to different age groups with appropriate expectations for outcomes. This can save teacher workload.
“There is no such thing as a typical day. Every student’s day is different and no two students have the same timetable.”
I worked at a school that went with a choice based program a few years ago. The problem with it was that it was as old as I was.
Although the students had choice, it was choice over what teacher’s were willing to offer. I guess that would be the next step.
I like the work Greg Miller is doing in this area.
One of the interesting points that I found was that ‘why’ is not necessarily something that you just sit around and decide. It involves culture and therefore action. In some respect it reminds me of trust. You cannot necessarily create ‘trust’, instead you put in place the conditions for trust to prosper. I think that the challenge we face is creating the conditions for why to prosper. I think that your book goes some way to doing this. However, I imagine that it will always be based on context and involve idiosyncrasies.