Rethinking Professional Learning

Exciting seminar from Dr Patrick Hazelwood, head teacher of St Johns School Malborough. Patrick is one if the UK’s pioneering heads – developing the RSA’s Opening Minds curriculum and the International Baccalaureate, to create a learning-centred school. He talked about how teacher professional learning is key to radical change. He has published two books ‘How to nurture indpendent thinkers’ and ‘Leading the Leaders for the Future‘.

Reinventing the Curriculum

Rosemary Hipkins uses dynamic complexity theory to explain teacher professional learning and leadership.

Rosemary Hipkins

Rose is chief researcher at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research.   Here we present her paper in which she draws on dynamic complexity theory to describe how teachers learned collaborativey and pioneered new approaches to curriculum which stimulate deep learning and engagement.

Schools in the Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies (CIES) project evolved effective ways for teachers to learn together as they gave effect to The New Zealand Curriculum. Some common patterns were found in the ways learning networks formed within schools and evolved over time as curriculum understanding deepened and learning needs shifted. Ideas about dynamic complexity suggest specific factors to keep in mind as networks of learners are strategically shaped and guided to maximise the chances of learning “in the spaces between” the individuals involved. Awareness of what these complex learning dynamics looked like as they played out in the CIES schools could help other school leaders leverage the impact that can be gained when professionals learn as a collective.

Hipkins 2011 Learning to reinvent the school curriculum Final May 24

Discussions welcomed!

An Enquiry ‘Product’ from the Social Experiment Day in July 2010

Last July we held a social experiment. Thirteen professional educators came together to undertake their own authentic enquiry. We all went up to Brandon Hill and had to select an object, artefact or place which was of interest to us.  We worked through the nine processes of authentic enquiry and on day two, each person had to present their new knowledge and reflect on their learning.  This slide show was Tim Small’s enquiry product.

Tim slides

Learning Futures Collaborative Learning Event

Here’s what we hope to achieve in our collaborative learning event on March 8th.

You  bring a story of change from your Learning Futures work, with evidence of student learning and engagement. Your  story will be selected to re-present an aspect of the Learning Futures approach, ideally School as Basecamp or School as Learning Commons.  We are interested in YOUR learning about your students’ learning and engagement through these Learning Futures approaches.

You may use powerpoint, video or flip charts and please  bring some evidence from students work to ground it in the classroom.  Please let Vicki know if you need anything special.

Please see the sheet below for a summary of the four themes and the main findings from last year’s evaluation study which unpack these from the perspective of student experience. You can use these to help decide what story of change to bring.

As you  present your story and the evidence of student learning, your colleagues will  identify key themes or ideas or principles which they think are important to your story, and write these on ‘post its’ – blue for ideas which relate to school as learning commons, pink for school as basecamp and yellow for  anything else.  After each presentation we discuss these in groups of three and identify any additional ideas for the ‘post it’ pool.

At the end of the presentations, the whole group does  a fishbone exercise to organise and group the ideas which have been generated, and look for overarching themes. These  should then provide some material for discussions about quality in the Learning Futures approaches.

Learning Futures Approaches

Extended Learning Relationships: The 21st century heralds the possibility of a system redesign that can genuinely respond to the needs of learners and the demands for anytime/anywhere learning, collaborative and independent learning, and personalised learning.

Enquiry-Based Learning: Enquiry-based learning is a key component of the Learning Futures model. Its premise is that how students learn is as important as what they learn, because learning is a skill they can carry with them for their entire lives.

School as ‘Learning Commons’: During the first year of Learning Futures, students have begun using school as a ‘base camp’ for enquiries that take them into the community, thereby expanding their learning relationships. At the same time, the number of people with a shared interest in the life of the school is growing and relationships within school are becoming less hierarchical.

School as ‘Base Camp’: A genuine 21st century school should be a base camp rather than a single destination – a place where students meet to explore learning opportunities that take them into their communities, onto the web, and to local businesses and employers. It should also be a hub that creates connections with families, and with learning partners beyond school.

Research from Learning Futures 2009/10 uncovered the following learning design principles which map onto the four main approaches

A Language for learning: a rich language for learning through which we can talk about ourselves as learners and develop and own our own learning story.

Authenticity: the personal involvement of the learner in selecting a focus for their enquiry which has meaning and relevance to them in their lives beyond the classroom.

Active engagement: the production of discourse, products or performances that have relevance to learners beyond school and require more active engagement than simply repetition, retrieval of information and memorisation of facts or rules.

Enquiry: the co-construction of knowledge through disciplined enquiry which involves building on a prior knowledge base, striving for in-depth understanding and expressing findings through elaborated communication.

Coaching and Mentoring: learning relationships which are facilitative and empower the learner to take responsibility for their own learning over time.

Authentic assessment: both formative and summative which moves seamlessly between the personal and the public and is meaningful and real to the learner, their subject matter and their community.