Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Promise of Excellence

This week I had the privilege of working with a group of Year 2 secondary teachers. I was heartened by the discussions related to learning; that of their students as well as their own ongoing learning. As we explored student-centred learning, a level of collegiality emerged with a willingness to exchange ideas and question current practices.

We began by uncovering  the ‘why’ behind a learner-centred classroom. We engaged with readings available from UNESCO and Enabling eLearning.  How could we develop the dispositions necessary for our students to become successful, contributing members of society? The student-centred approach encourages teachers to let go of the teacher as ‘all-knowing’ concept where a directive teaching style predominates and instead develop a relationship with students which is more ako-oriented.

As we developed our understanding of how student-centred approaches could work for our students, we also looked at the place of digital technologies in education. How could they help our students develop the 6 C’s of education for the future? Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, culture, creativity and connectivity?

We used a range of learning strategies ourselves, too. Think, pair, share, walk and talk, jigsaw exercises, linoit brainstorms and shared online notes to name but a few. Then, once the ‘front-loading’, exploration and discussion time ran its course, we moved into application of ideas. These amazing teachers came together in their learning areas to discuss and plan how they would apply this new learning to a unit of work. The buzz was palpable!

A final sharing of key ideas and ‘aha’ moments concluded our day together. If these teachers are an example of the educators in our schools, then we are in good hands. Lifelong, collaborative learners with highly developed communication skills and the ability to apply new learning into specific contexts. Awesome!

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