The New Zealand Education Review Office releases publications that support effective teaching and learning on a regular basis. Their recent release is an interesting look at strategies that schools are using that have led to increased achievement outcomes for learners in Years 5-8.
The report identifies some key aspects of schools where effective approaches and strategies were implemented across the school. These included:
Of particular interest to me was the information about engagement and motivation:
"Engagement and motivation were both crucial for supporting the learning and achievement of senior primary school children. Many schools were successfully giving students greater opportunities to work in multilevel groups and to make choices about their learning. Teachers grouped children for the purpose of learning about a particular concept, acquiring a specific skill, or exploring a context that interested them. They no longer grouped children by achievement level or reading age. In some cases, children were able to select which workshop to attend or which context to explore. Children were taught how to work well together, contribute, listen to others, and take responsibility for completing something successfully. Some children who had been working in a bottom group or even independently with a teacher made considerable gains when put into a multilevel group – they no longer felt designated as failures and enjoyed being supported by, and learning from their peers."
Many of the approaches that the report is discussing have gone from strength to strength with the introduction of collaborative teaching. When teachers and students work together, the possibilities for different types of grouping and teachers being able to offer different options to for students to learn material have dramatically increased.
Some examples I have seen in practice recently include:
There are some really interesting case studies that are worth reading through. Below is the summary of approaches used. Could be worth taking a look at some solid, evidence based practice if your school is working through any of these strategies.
“If there has been one lesson learnt about innovating education, it is that teachers, schools and local administrators should not just be involved in the implementation of educational change but they should have a central role in its design.” Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills.
Love this quote! If we want real change in our schools, it's vital that the people who are passionate about excellence and transformation are at the heart of planning for this.
The OECD has recently issued a new publication - The OECD Handbook for Innovative Learning Environments. This follows on from their awesome ILE publications that have been released over the past few years. There are practical tools and ideas to support schools to further develop and enhance teaching and learning.
Here's the blurb:
You can access the handbook online here.
And a great summary blog post introducing the key ideas from the OECD blog.
Loving this new resource from the fabulous team who run the inclusive education site as part of TKI. They have created an amazing resource to support the development of innovative learning environments that work for ALL learners.
The resource highlights that "Sensitivity to individual differences and learner variability must be a driver for decisions relating to pedagogy, practice, and design of flexible spaces. The guide emphasises the need to plan in partnership with students, teachers, parents, and experts. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles underpin the approach, recognising and supporting the learning and wellbeing of all students."
Take some time to explore the different aspects. There is just a wealth of resources, links, videos etc. Content curation at it's best!
You can also download the summary of the content site - could be a good resource to refer to to help plan out areas you wish to explore further.
Used with acknowledgement and cited below:
Introduction/ Executive Summary
The future that we face today is unknown. Often we are surprised! Mistakes and failures will happen and it is important that we fully understand these to create a context for learning and growth.
The world no longer rewards people for what they know. Being able to extrapolate from what we know and apply learning to new and novel situations is key. Creativity and Innovation are required.
Education is now more about ways of thinking,communicating and collaborating, using technology well and the development of social and emotional skills.
It will be more important to be a VERSATILIST - able to apply a depth of skill to a wide range of situations, capable of changing and adapting at a rapid pace and being able to reposition oneself in fast paced environments.
The focus is shifting from individual achievements, to acknowledging the power of collaboration to support innovation and development.
The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey found that 2/3 of teachers said their schools were "hostile to innovation." Innovative Learning Environments still remain the exception, not the rule.
Drivers for change include the penetration of technology, employer's interest in education, global connections and new learning providers.
Page 12, 13 of Executive Summary - A Learning System that that has a thoroughly integrated ILE framework will have:
Education has become more and more important world wide. Driver of this is economic and based around education's role in maintaining competitiveness in the world. Global interdependence has fuelled comparative measures. These have led to pressures to reform education.
Key issues - engagement of students, especially teenagers, perceived role of teachers in society and the value placed on the profession, slow pace of change in education, systemic change needed rather than isolated innovation.
Learning systems extend well beyond schools and to enact change, we must look beyond the traditional partners and structures.
Page 18/19 - Framework for ILE: The 7+3 model.
Page 20 - The C's! Common features of ILE strategies and Initiatives
Time - system change takes TIME. Time for relationship building, connections and interaction.
A system transformation - there will have been a matching shift in educator's views, knowledge and practice. Widespread use of social media and technology. Culture of evaluative thinking and self-review. Distributed leadership. Evidence based decisions.
What kinds of broader changes and conditions are needed in order for the "7+3" to become commonplace features of learning systems?
What will the indicators be?
1)Reduce Standardisation, Foster Innovation, Broaden Institutions.
Standard rules and procedures should not be barriers to innovation.
Allow for non-formal learning opportunities, both face to face and in online communities.
2) Accountability and Metrics for 21st century learning.
Page 25/26 - ALL these messages are key!
3)Promoting leadership, trust and learner agency.
Effective, distributed leadership is critical.
Learners must be active partners in their learning establishment's design, curriculum and decision making.
High trust environments and connectedness with all stake holders.
4)Widespread collaborative expert professionalism.
5) Ubiquitous Professional Learning.
Professional development opportunities in evaluation and evaluative thinking.
The real and virtual environments inhabited by teachers should be conducive to professional exchange and dialogue.
6) Connectivity and extensive digital infrastructure.
7) Flourishing cultures of networks and partnerships.
Horizontal connection and collaboration.
8) Powerful knowledge systems and cultures of evaluation.
There needs to be a culture of diagnostic expertise and evaluation.
Indicators of the widespread adoption of the ILE framework:
Chapter 3: Promising Strategies for spreading ILE's
From studies of 26 countries:
Culture change: more important than surface change, but much more difficult to realise.
Clarifying Focus: Don't have too many things going on at once. Innovate, but remain focused. Doing the "same old" has not improved student achievement and quality.
Capacity Creation: Knowledge and Professional Learning. Generate knowledge about student learning and how that knowledge will be acted upon.
Collaboration and Co-operation: Collaborative professionalism is necessary for innovation.Professional Learning Networks are key.
Communication and Technology Platforms - supporting the development of an ILE.
Change Agents: people who are able to provide influence on the ground and provide the expertise and drive to maintain innovation.
Chapter 4: Growing Innovative Learning through Meso - Level networking.
Chapter 5: Transformation and Leadership in Complex Learning Systems.
Recently I have talked with many different teachers about developing their learning environments, teaching collaboratively and making changes to the ways in which they personalise learning in their classrooms. I have to say, that I believe many teachers are feeling confused by the vast amount of information that they are seeing, the pace of change, the demands for change and they just want to yell, "STOP!"
Everyone, just take a breath! Slow down! Why are we all here? It doesn't matter if we are saying MLE, MLP, ILE - we are here to do the best job that we can to teach our kids. We want them to be happy. We want them to be motivated. We want them to love school.
Now I happen to believe that working in a collaborative, responsive environment that integrates e-learning is the best place for our kids to be. They need teachers who are empowering their agency, who listen to their voices and who inspire them to reach for their "not yet". But I am one of the converted and I realise that you have to come to this place on your own. And so, I am trying to gather ideas into one place for those who are searching. Check out some great research, thinkers and bloggers who have inspired me on my own learning journey. I'll keep adding to this, but it's a start.
Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of seeing "Story Hui" in action. Story Hui is a tool developed by Liz Stevenson of Core Education for her PhD work. I have always loved story telling. I think it is an amazing way for all of us to make sense of the world, reflect, ponder and discover. In story hui, I heard two educators tell completely different stories about successful happenings in their classrooms. The story telling, discussion and questioning was extremely powerful.
This is the description of Story Hui:
Story Hui - a group process to envision success through storytelling and visual images.
More than just talking together, Story Hui involves working through a creative brief.
You take part in discovering and collectively building new ideas.
As a group, you uncover themes and patterns of success.
Story Hui is a unique way to evaluate learning. It builds on interpersonal relationships, collaboration and celebrates learning in many different forms.
Everyone has a story.
Questions led to a deeper understanding of the story and reflections from the storyteller.
Thinking aloud can lead you to an "a ha" moment.
What is next for the story teller?
How could this tool be used by students in the classroom?
What ways could this tool be used to promote reflective practice?
How can story hui be shared with others?
In the next few weeks, I'll be learning more about the story hui process. I can't wait to learn more and see it in action. Meanwhile, you can download the free story hui pdf book from the website.
Reports are done (mostly), a long weekend and some TIME to catch up on a few things on my reading list!
Really liked this article from idealog!
Some really interesting findings, including that
"three quarters of respondents said that they are more likely to stay at their current company if it has an inspiring office space and sixty percent said that the office interior layout has a substantial impact on their decision to work for the company." I wonder if new schools find it easier to attract staff than older schools and how much this is a factor for teachers seeking new positions?
And wow - check out this blog post about Dr Cheryl Doig's upcoming book on collaboration. Some awesome stuff here and the infographic is great!
I am currently reading Carol Dweck's book about Growth Mindset and it is great to see it being used in context here. I love the idea how three types of mindset are needed for collaboration.
Follow "Think Beyond" on facebook to stay up to date with this blog. https://www.facebook.com/thinkbeyondnz?fref=ts
An interesting article on student lead learning and curriculum from our Education Gazette:
And I think this is the next book I shall be ordering - maybe in time for the school holidays when my feet might touch the ground again! Enjoy the rest of Term 2 everyone!
Image credit: www.thinkbeyond.co.nz Dr Cheryl Doig Retrieved June 1, 2015.
I came across these two articles recently, which I've really enjoyed. Nothing like a bit of light reading for the holidays.....
This article featuring Jane Gilbert in Idealog is excellent:
"Equipping kids with iPads in the classroom is nice, but Gilbert advocates a fundamental shift. She urges us to think beyond surface features such as technology in schools and to consider how our learning environments are structured to create inquiring minds. Without these skills, future generations can never hope to solve significant issues such as climate change, social inequality and the impact of globalisation.
I love that phrase - " how our learning environments are structured to create inquiring minds."
It made me wonder:
How do we ensure that the environment is the third teacher?
How do we as teachers who have been educated in a traditional way make a REAL shift to be future focused?
How can we fight against the crowded curriculum, the traditional curriculum and let the kids drive the learning?
Not just as Jane says: "We’re still working within the same twentieth-century framework. The thinking hasn’t changed. "It’s just couching what we’ve already done in much fancier production values. It looks cooler and more digitised, but the underlying educational objectives have not changed."
If you don't follow idealog on facebook, make sure you do! Excellent articles on a range of cutting edge topics!
Also, loving this blog post from Karen Boyes:
Sensible, practical and on the money! Could be a great starting point for those beginning their MLP journey. Also, a great way for those of use implementing and developing MLP to check point how we're doing - successes, failures, things that have fallen by the wayside.
Enjoy while you munch on those chocolate bunnies!
This month I was lucky enough to attend this awesome conference, along with other members of our Clearview staff and Board of Trustees. There were some excellent keynote speakers and workshops held over the three days. I would say, that as a kiwi teacher, what was missing for me was a focus on Modern Learning Practices. The Australian curriculum is quite different to ours and the focus for many of the workshops was on their national testing programme. Still, you always learn something!
I very much enjoyed Christine Haynes presentation about Coaching Teachers as Lead Learners. An excellent model for developing e-learning practices throughout a school and one that I am hoping to use parts of in my school in 2015.
Alec Couros is an inspiring speaker. His keynote discussed how we participate in the world using technology. That aquaintances can often be our biggest source of new ideas. He encouraged the audience to embrace and model connected communities and asked, "How are you contributing to the learning of others?"
Greg Butler asked, "How might we transform learning?" He urged the audience to "get comfortable with situations where you don't know the answer." Check out the excellent website http://newpedagogies.org for some excellent downloads from Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy.
Simon Breakspear was one of the best keynote speakers I have seen. A real entertainer. He discussed learning agility as the key skill for the future, to cope with the agile career pathways that will develop. He asked, "How can we sustainably redesign learning behaviours?" He believes that learners need agency, relevance and connection. You can see some of his past EdTalks and his presentations.
There were of course a lot of cool workshops. I went to Augmented Reality, Itunes U, 3d printing, Cybersafety and a few other good ones.
Probably my key wonderings focused on the New Zealand education system and where we are in our journey towards MLP as a country. Obviously every school is different, but I came back from Australia feeling proud of where we are. It was great to get an international perspective and to chat with Australian teachers who were amazed to hear about our collaborative teaching and elearning opportunities. I felt like their use of technology in the class seemed more focused on creating content and the purpose was often to help with the NAPLAN. Yet another reason to keep standardised testing out of our education system!
Next year's conference will also be in Melbourne. Definitely worth a look when planning your 2015 professional development.
I quite liked this slide share presentation from Wayne Barry.
Discusses physical, virtual, social, biological and cognitive spaces. Some interesting ideas about future research. The more I read, it seems there is much scope for research into modern learning spaces, collaborative teaching practices, technology integration and curriculum design. However, it becomes difficult in terms of research, to isolate these from each other. My teaching instincts tell me that these four aspects are vital to achieve educational transformation, and that none of them can stand alone.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.