Alice Keeler - need I say more! You won't regret taking the time to listen to her! An awesome session this week with Alice preaching to the choir, ranting about grades, homework and testing. She's hilarious to listen/ watch!
This week's chapters of the book focused on the characteristics of the innovators mindset:
My key takeaways this week - in education there's a lot of focus on problem based learning, solving problems etc. In the Innovator's Mindset, George quotes the awesome Ewan McIntosh (p49-50) who notes that FINDING the problem is an essential part of learning - one that students miss out on when we pose the problem to them first. "Currently the world's educational systems are crazy about problem based learning, but they're obsessed with the wrong bit of it. While everyone looks at how we could help young people become better problem solvers, we're not thinking how we could create a generation of problem solvers." I think this is something for us all to be conscious of. The key elements of inquiry learning, PBL, design thinking all focus on students identifying an AUTHENTIC problem. In my work with teachers currently authentic curriculum is a huge focus. However, it's easy in the busy-ness of teaching to skip this step. Much easier to find the problem ourselves. That doesn't mean it's not a real problem or that students wouldn't have come up with it themselves anyway, but if we miss that step of real engagement and authenticity, then we're not starting in the right way and are going to have to work that much harder to engage learners.
My other key takeaway was around reflection. Reflection is also very much a buzzword with teachers at the moment, but I have one word - BORING! Filling out endless sheets of paper or google docs with questions is not going to make most kids better learners. If anything, they're not going to want to learn so they don't have to fill out the reflection sheet. There must be better, more innovative ways of doing this! On p57, George comments; "Reflection is a practice to which we need to pay more attention. It is crucial to innovation as it ensures we're asking valuable questions such as What worked? What didn't? What would I/ we change? What questions do I have moving forward?" Absolutely! These are not the questions that I see teachers asking though! My challenge in my work with teachers is to support them to move past lists or questions that are possibly good, to engaging in real reflective practices with students. Are we asking students how they like/ want to reflect, showing them how it supports the learning process, using exciting ways to do this? Or are we just creating another substitution level google doc and saying "fill this out?". I plan to investigate this further over the next few terms - could make a good blog post in the future!
Further Reading/ Resources:
Documentation and Reflection Prompts
Teach Thought Questions
The Reflection Fad
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.