Ponderings

 

If new technology is used in the same way as old technology, the pedagogy ‘wineskin’ is likely to fail

Steve Wheeler – Learning with ‘e’s

 

In my last blog post I wrote a narrative of my day shadowing a Year 10 student. This was a real highlight of my first term as a senior leader. This post shares some of the questions that I have either been grappling with or am about to start grappling with in my role as DP. Some of these developed out of reflecting on my day shadowing, many of them emerged from other events throughout the term.

 

How might we build upon the great content learning to develop more autonomous learners?

What if students didn’t all move through lessons at the same pace?

How might student understanding be checked in ways that don’t stop progress with learning? Continue reading

Ungoogleable Questions Update

By far and away my most read post on this 2 year old blog is a post on Ungoogleable Questions from almost 2 years ago. I have been meaning to update this for quite some time and #28daysofwriting has finally given me the prompt to do so.

Since I ran the workshop with staff and generated the questions shared in my earlier post I have focused on helping students develop their ability to inquire into ungoogleable questions (major shout out here to Ewan McIntosh who set me on this journey). I have used a variety of prompts, provocations and question development frameworks over these last 2 years. I have continued to read blogs (Kath Murdoch and Bo Adams blogs have pushed me in this) and books (Can Computers Keep Secrets by Tom Barrett, The Falconer by Grant Lichtman and A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger being the most influential for me) to further my thinking and practice and it is about time I share my tips now. Continue reading

How Might We develop a culture of critique?

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I regularly try to develop my students’ ability to critique each other’s work. If collaborative learning is to work effectively, this ability to praise the right parts and challenge other ideas is critical for progress to be made. But, I am now wondering if we as adults are even modelling this for students?

Two tweets from people whose thinking I greatly admire have raised this point recently:

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I have written previously about how empowering the New Zealand Curriculum is. There is however, the flip side of this where as schools adapt the NZC to fit their needs, do not take the chance to think critically and just make it fix what they have always done. The Education Review Office add to this as they congratulate different schools on their interpretation of the NZC even as they have interpreted it wildly different – from Grammar style schools doing things very traditionally to Hobsonville Point Secondary School redesigning things and everything else in between.

This to me, says the critique of the New Zealand Curriculum must first happen by looking at how it has been implemented. This means that teachers and schools must develop a culture of critique towards each others’ practice and external visitors must be able to join in that critique to remove the blinkers. Is there a gap between the espoused approach and the reality in classrooms (or open learning spaces as the case may be?).

My approach with students to critique has been along the method of Rose, Bud, Thorn

And I really find this is a great method for starting critique: It encourages you to find praise points, opportunities and to be critical. If any of these are missing then I don’t believe you have set your bias aside to truly critique.

Now, how about we get started on really critiquing each other for the benefit of the education system and especially for the benefit of our students futures.

 

This post was Day 7 of my Question Quest.

What If school wasn’t compulsory but learning was?

How would schools need to change to stay a part of learning pathways?

What do we lose by not having compulsory curricula?

What do we gain by not having compulsory curricula?

Who else would start becoming a major part of peoples’ learning? Businesses? Churches? Community workers?

Would there be impacts on health and welfare?

How would learning be evidenced?

Why? (for all of the questions above!)

This question storm is Day 6 of my Question Quest.

What if we rewarded questions instead of answers?

While I have been interested in developing curiosity and creativity for a while, I have been very influenced lately by A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.

One of the things I have been pondering lately is that if the ability to question is an important skill for students to develop, how do we recognise those students leading the way? Schools regularly reward students who can provide great answers, how could we reward those who provide great questions?

Could this be how we unlock and develop the creativity and innovation in students? Provide something to strive towards.

I’m imagining school prizegivings where alongside the top sports people and top subject prize winners there are awards for the students who asked such amazing questions that it unlocked a whole new area of inquiry for them or fellow students.

School honour boards replaced (or to give people something to hold onto, perhaps alongside) by Question hall of fames. In fact these don’t have to be school-wide, you could implement this in your class straight away. It’s something I’m planning to do next term!

Or, go along the path that Meghan Cureton from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta has and create an honours programme for those questioners and innovators. Their Innovation Diploma is an incredibly inspiring programme that I am already bugging our Principal to consider how we could adapt this for our school (and we don’t even have final year students for 3 1/2 years yet!).

How else could we reward questions and questioners in our schools?

This post is Day 5 of my Questioning Quest.

I Wonder What Happens If…?

Day 3 of my Questioning Quest belongs to a question from 2 of my Robotics students this afternoon.

They had been developing their code, testing the robot and making adjustments to improve its performance. Next thing I see their Tank Robot from Mind Kits no longer has its tracks on it as they did their next round of testing.

Distracted from helping another group I walked over asking what was going on. Their reply stopped me in my tracks:

We were just wondering what would happen if we took off the tracks

I laughed and told them what a perfect reply it was, threw them a few more questions: What happened? Why do you think that happened? etc and then left them to their ponderings.

I have written before about valuing and developing curiosity (prompted by this awesome book by Tom Barrett) and it was awesome to see it truly occurring in action this afternoon.

It did make me think though, when was the last time I wondered out loud in front of students to model my curiosity?

When was the last time you wondered with/in front of students?