Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How can we make our learners at the centre, give them more agency and include all learners

Learners at the centre

The Nature of Learning - OECD report
- I read this booklet at the end of last year and I started to think about
students I had taught .  The book highlights 7 key principles of learning.

  1. Learners at the centre - self directed learners
  2. The social nature of learning - co-operative/collaborative learning
  3. Emotions are integral to learning - positive beliefs of self as learner
  4. Recognizing individual differences -prior knowledge important, 
  5. Stretching all student- programmes that demand hard work and challenge
  6. Assessment for learning - clarity of expectations
  7. Building horizontal connections- community-global
The key take away is for me is to start thinking about the all  learners being at the centre, it's not about the teacher being the "sage on the stage".  And that as teachers we need to ensure that the 
conditions in our classes will help all learners achieve to their potential. The poster below says it 
all. We just can't expect to turn up and teach the same way we have for 20 years.

21st Century learners need 21st century teaching and  learning environments, "we need to redesign learning environments that harness the potential of digital technologies in a knowledge-based economy to develop 21st century learning competencies for our learners."  Nature of Learning 

Another concept that has made me reflect on what and how I teach is  UDL- Universal Design for Learning. Both colleagues Chrissie Butler and Lynne Silcock have presented workshops at team Hui and have shared ways we can use these principals in working with akonga. For me the image below
says it all. We need to teach to include those at the edges, not just the ones in the middle.  

This concept has changed my practice in two ways. I have changed how I prepare for my workshops-
I will send out a pre-workshop survey, send an outline of the day by email, participants are shared in to the presentation at the start of the day, videos are enabled to have subtitles, there are handouts for those who prefer a paper copy, seating is flexible.

When talking to teachers about their students,  I am aware of the impact of UDL and how making some small changes can make a difference to students and their learning. In a recent conversation with a teacher, she told me about a student who found verbal instructions a challenge. I suggested she print out a copy of the instructions so the student could have a paper copy to refer to. And why not print out another larger copy and put on the wall  for any other student that might find reading or re-reading the instructions useful.  While it seems obvious to me now, I know that many teachers do not
think about this aspect with regard to their students. This is one concept that we share in our work with schools

Link to Tātaiako : Manaakitanga

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