Monday, March 5, 2018

Week 4 Happenings & Learning

We keep getting busier as the term progresses and students have been actively engaged in the early stages of our Inquiry for the term. As we look closely at Learning we are finding out the kind of things we need to know about ourselves as learners. Where do I learn best? Under what conditions? With whom? And also, very importantly, what kind of things stop us learning and when do others "own' our learning and when should others "own" our learning?

Education, Teaching & Learning today is very different from when the adults (ie: the parents around) went to school. I often hear comments from my friends about how their kids aren't getting taught like they had been, what was going on? They were having what a good friend of mine calls a: If Not, Why Not? moment. I think it's important to understand why it's different. I think probably most adults know if truth be told :).

Two Fundamental reasons we don't teach in environments that encourage 20th century thinking & life skills:

1. It's NOT the 20th century

2. These are the skills our kids need for the world they will work in:
  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility
These are not the skills needed for an industrialised society. They are not the skills we were taught/are teaching still in many instances. To continue to do that would be failing my students in my opinion.   Image SOURCE - from Linkedin
We need to make a mindshift and instead of valuing content knowledge (sorry people by this I do mean reading, writing, math, science, etc when taught in isolation) and instead valuing behaviour and skill acquisition. This means teaching big concepts and ideas through content (oh, whew, reading, writing, math, science, etc. is still very much part of the timetable - it's just not the BIGGEST! Does that make sense?)

One of the biggest things you may notice about the difference in student learning is VOICE and CHOICE. This is highly regarded in M2 and as we discuss Learning to Learn, 'Learner' Licences, etc. the choices students make will become high stakes.

The OECD Report "The Nature of Learning" identifies 7 Principles of Learning and because I am a learner too, I would like to share each principle over the next 7 weeks. The first links nicely to Voice and Choice and understanding ourselves as learners. It is:
1. Learners at the Centre - The environment aims to develop "self-regulated learners", learners who make good choices in their learning, who set, monitor and reflect on goals with the aim of becoming a life-long, engaged learner.

In M2 some ways Learners are at the centre are:

  • There are times students get to choose how they will respond to their reading, wriTING and math goals using the CLASS-SITE
  • Students may be given a task but how they complete said task is left to their choice and creatiity like the "How to use my Drive" drawings they had to complete for CyberSmart. See some examples below"


Another cool experience we had last week was visiting the life education caravan. The focus for the two visits were: Day 1 - Identity & Influence, Day 2 - Big Problems, Little Problems & Managing problems with a Growth Mindset

Examples of keeping students at the centre of learning were:
  • Students got to design their own images around what their "Head Hasslers" & "Mind Master" looked like and how they were going to show their learning in their Inquiry books
  • Students are in charge of their learning - they show and reflect on learning in a way the will best remember the learning
  • Students actively explored concepts of learner profile maps 
  • Multi Modal planning is used (see Reading, Math, CyberSmart pages on the class-site) where the philosophy behind use is Choose your Learning, Create a Response, Share your Learning
Students engaged in Life Education:


Then in the second session we started talking about how the brain works and what stops us from solving problems efficiently. The technology was really awesome and we learnt strategies to cope with problems.
I call this developing resilience or building GRIT!

Learning about being a Learner has continued and will continue to be our focus as we move through this term. It is my learning as much as it is M2s learning and I am enjoying showing and sharing with my students as my learning unfolds as well. 

Learning is usually Complex, often Difficult, always Messy and something we must learn to do every day of our lives. When things get tough, the tough get going :). To finish this post I will share this clip we watched this morning to remind us how to be when facing challenge as we began our PAT testing week:

Catch you in a week to up-date and reflect on what happens this week in M2 

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