Sunday, June 19, 2011
Some of the benefits of working in an open, modern learning environment we have started to surface are;
The shared ownership of the learners. Pooling strategies and ideas to further support learners, bouncing ideas to better meet targeted students needs.
The learning happening between adults that has a direct impact and influence on ones practice is remarkable. We have termed this incidental professional learning. The environment is so visible and transparent that much is learnt from ones colleagues operating in he same space.
I heard a teacher say some days the bell goes at 9.00am, I'm on duty, getting the next learning set up at lunchtime and before you know it it's 3.00pm and I haven't spoken to another adult all day, it can be lonely. The interactions and celebrations that can occur day to day between learners and adults in open, collaborative spaces are numerous. You are not alone.
We tend to be grouped according to age two times in our lives, to be educated and when we are on our way out in retirement villages! Open office spaces are becoming more of a reality globally. Individuals and groups selecting a space or environment that it fit for the given purpose. We learn so much more with and from others. Shouldn't School be more aligned with this approach. I got a fright when I googled classroom images last week. Try it!
Having recently gathered as a staff to moderate mid year achievements against expectations it became quickly apparent how easy the task was when you were making judgments with the other professionals teaching the same children. The collective ownership over all the children in the learning hub was evident.
It was great to kick off our first Professional Learning Group dialogue for Schools using more open environments and collaborative approaches to teaching and learning. We had three Schools represented at our first gathering on Thursday. We began to surface the expected and unexpected positives in working in modern learning environments. It was also refreshing to share some of the challenges. The biggest challenge seemed to be our own mental models. Thinking beyond the industrialist educational model that has lived for so long. In challenging how we have always done things quite innovative practices have come to the fore for each School.
We are keen to grow the PLG community and welcome anyone interested in attending the next dialogue.
What a buzz it was this week to walk through one of our learning hubs during 'Break Through' time. The depth of engagement, range of learning occurring and student ownership struck me as I walked from group to group.
A robot was being programmed by one group, a guitar being strummed by another, a website created on the history of Stonefields, video animation being learnt from an expert, an individual absorbed in learning about the splitting of the atom, research into the local wetlands and the list goes on. Each knew what stage of the inquiry process they were at and the thinking and learning they were involved in to progress their learning. The learning was real for the individuals as they had ownership over what they were learning about. The learning was open - individuals and groups had access to the necessary resources, IT tools and space to enable the learning. The learning was social - only one individual was pursuing their inquiry on their own. The interactions, dialogue and negotiations between group members was apparent.
Our Break Through essence statement is;
Learners who Break Through are self aware of their talents. They are determined self starters who are motivated and committed to achieving mastery or personal bests in learning.
They feel fulfillment by actively seeking break through opportunities and realising future learning possibilities.
Our students look forward to break through time. The time being invested once a week to Break Through learning is paying dividends. If we get lost in time doing the things we are naturally good at, intrigued by and have autonomy over surely that leads to fulfillment and happiness in learning.
Our wonderings continue - How do we get as much leverage as possible off this 'Break Through learning'? to benefit other aspects of each individuals learning.