Monday, 28 July 2014

The Why and the Practice

Learning and teaching is often a balancing act. How do you continue to grow a students world and also honour their voice? Taking students into the 'world they don't know, they don't know,' (John Holt has great stuff on this) is an important part of our job.

This then comes down to the importance of, 'WHY.' Why do we do what we do? Have we ever sat back and reflected on this? Do we constantly question ourselves?

Having never been a big researcher, the question of why has led me to read a lot more. Jane Gilbert's work around skills for the 21st C (we are after all, 14 years into it) as well as revisiting the NZC and honouring the Key Competencies. Recently, a great read on the development of the KCs was posted here.

The 'Why' I find easy however when I was involved in the start up of Discovery 1 School in Christchurch it was far more problematic.  At that time,  the research wasn't there to back up open spaces so we focused a lot on constructivism. Now, we have plenty to support the notion of student negotiated learning.

So, with the pedagogy in place the focus shifts to the question 'What is the andragogy?' More importantly, what is the practice? I believe now we can all access all the 'why' for both students and teachers however the practice is more challenging.

The conversations around practice are key. How do we honour the negotiation of a learning pathway and also honour the NZC? How do we impact on learning as an educator without putting out the fire? How do we look for progress in our students in a differentiated model? What is powerful to learn?

Asking these questions are the key in growing understanding around how practice can be challenged and changed. However, if you haven't looked at what you value about learning, it may all be in vain. My next post will be around "Learning Values" and how they drive change.

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