There may never have been a better time to be a learner.
Listening to Will Richardson talk on TEDxWestVancouverED, reminds me of a post I wrote October 2012, “Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning“. I, of course, agree with Will, there may never have been a better time to be a learner in history. The questions teachers need to ask are; is this really true? Is it an amazing time to be a learner in your school, or in your class? Has teaching and learning changed in your school, let us say in the past 10 years? As Will points out in his talk, our challenge right now is how do we make schools amazing places of learning for kids? The good news about this challenge is that we know the answer if we think about it. We do know what learning should look like. The only question we should be asking is, are we doing this now? Do we have the commitment and courage to make this happen? To me it seems like it is mostly talk and less change, on most levels in Norway, not only school level, but also district and country! But I could be wrong. Please let me be!
I challenge you to watch the video, 16 minutes, and then answer these questions. Click on the picture below for the video. What is your school doing to change how teachers are teaching and students are learning? What are you doing? How is it to be a student in your school/class? Compare the two lists below. Where is your school/classroom in this picture? Where do you want to be? Can you model one or all of the bullet points below in your class? (my homework for teachers). And last but not least, if asked would your students say; This is the most amazing time to be a learner!
From master teacher to master learner
I recently read Will’s latest book “From master teachers to master learner” and here are my highlights from the book:
“Our job as educators is to understand deeply what it means to be a modern learner more so than a modern teacher. Our goal should not be to learn new technologies in order to become better teachers in the traditional sense. Our goal is to develop expertise in powerful new technologies to become better learners for ourselves and for our students, who may lack other learning models. Transformation is not about more technology, personalized learning, or flipped classrooms. It’s instead about rethinking our roles as teachers and the purposes of our classrooms. (Remember, curriculum is just a guess, nothing more, at what we think every single child needs to know and be able to do to succeed in his or her life.) Schools are primarily made up of cultures of teaching rather than cultures of learning.”
Homework for teachers!
- Make sure at least 25 percent of student work in your class finds an audience outside the classroom and has an authentic purpose that the students designed.
- Take some of the outcomes in your curriculum guide, and ask students how they would like to show that they have learned them.
- Give students time to learn something about your subject that’s not in the curriculum, something they choose, and then have them share with the class.
- Bring outside experts into your classroom on a regular basis via an online video chat program
In chapter 3 Will highlights areas called the qualities of modern teacher learners. In my reading I skipped the part called Teachers as Networkers and Connecters. As I reviewed it after listening to his TedTalk yesterday I discovered the page where he writes about the book I wrote with my class in 2013. Thanks for the mention Will!
“Ann Michaelsen’s classrooms at the Sandvika School outside of Oslo, Norway, have thin walls. That means that in the course of their work in the classroom, Michaelsen’s students get outside the physical walls all the time, constantly connecting with other teachers and students from around the world.”