Enhancing the relevance of new learning

It is not surprising to see relevance of learning in the effective pedagogy section of the New Zealand Curriculum. A lot of research was undertaken in the 1990’s in New Zealand on this and hence teachers in New Zealand have long discussed how relevant and meaningful learning will increase interest, engagement and motivation for learners. What is of interest here though, is that the NZC explanation expands from just relevant contexts for learning to include ideas such as curiosity and learner agency.

Effective teachers stimulate the curiosity of their students, require them to search for relevant information and ideas, and challenge them to use or apply what they discover in new contexts or in new ways.

Curiosity is a bit of an enigma in schools. Speak to any teacher and they will say they value it, but often it is not high in our priorities when designing learning experiences for our classes. Susan Engel’s research found that students’ curiosity decreased as they grew older. She does believe that adult influence is a factor in this. This paper by Engel suggests 4 ways that educators can help students become more curious again.

Sparking curiosity in Science

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A Spiral of Brain-Hurty Questions

Last week our Specialised Learning Leader team had a Planning Day together, gathering momentum on how learning design will occur in 2016. A big focus of this day was how things will look/act/be different for the Qualifications years (Yr 11 & 12) as compared to our Foundation curriculum (Yr 9 & 10). The part that has really stuck with me over the next few days though was a discussion on what our Theories of Knowledge are at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

Image courtesy of agsandrew

Image courtesy of agsandrew

As the main influence on our Learning Design at HPSS is the New Zealand Curriculum, my initial response was to start thinking what the theory of knowledge behind the NZC is. Quickly finding myself out of my depth to extract this information, I turned to some more learned colleagues asking them questions by various forms of messages. Continue reading

Guy Claxton

Today I am at Teaching for Intelligent Mindsets where we will hear from Carol Dweck, Guy Claxton and Jamie Fitzgerald. I will try to post blogs about each session so my next few posts will be far more bullet points rather than a flowing post of any sort (if any of my rambles ever achieve a flow!?).

This is my post on the talk by Guy Claxton.

Fixed Mindset is the biggest handbrake on intelligence

Old views of intelligence: fixed sized pot to be filled. Decided at birth, doesn’t get bigger, sets a ceiling on what you can achieve, is easily diagnosed by a test and based on a rational mind. This is the model of intelligence upon which schools were founded. It set up a hierarchy of subjects and allowed teachers to make judgements about students being intelligent, average etc. Contemporary research by Dweck and others has blown apart this preconception of fixed intelligence.

New View

Intelligence is:

  • composite,
  • attitudinal,
  • physical,
  • distributed,
  • social,
  • expandable

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