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Nigel Coutts

When designing student learning, what questions guide us? - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    We ask lots of questions as we plan for our student's learning. Some of the questions we ask are about where they are with their learning. But perhaps we miss one important question along the way. Maybe we should be asking questions about how our students will apply what they learn? 
Nigel Coutts

What meal would your team be? - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    What makes a team truly great? What are the qualities which allow some teams to perform at a high level while others seem trapped? One approach to this question is to consider a team as though they were a meal. Thinking metaphorically, we ask what are the ingredients that make a great team and how might we combine them to produce the best results?
Nigel Coutts

Lessons from Schrödinger's Cat - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    There are some ideas which seem to translate nicely into fields of thought far from their point of origin. These are  ideas which shine a metaphorical light on concepts and allow us to develop a deeper understanding of that concept once we see it from a fresh perspective. Schrödinger's Cat is one such idea.
John Evans

10 Tips to Start Teaching With Minecraft | EdSurge News - 1 views

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    "My students come from a small, rural community and lack a broad understanding of the larger world around them. This inspired me to seek out a game, or online environment, that could provide more expansive experiences for them-a place that would allow them to explore, on their own or with others, and where I could embed history content for them to discover. On Twitter I came across an exploratory discussion of Minecraft's potential for school use. I dove in and began a journey that ultimately changed my perception of teaching and how I interact with my students. Minecraft is easy to use and implement in a classroom. It promotes student independence and creativity, but it is also an immensely collaborative tool that I have witnessed being integrated across all grade levels and content areas. Students can apply their understanding in truly unique and often unanticipated ways. Previously, my kids struggled with writing. Today, they are more creative and confident writers. Instead of getting 125 essays written in the exact same style with the same details, I now get unique historical narratives, rich with sensory experiences and observations made with their own eyes."
Nigel Coutts

Educators as Agents for Educational Policy - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Education exists in an uneasy domain and the teaching professional is forced to navigate between a multitude of conflicting tensions. Our education systems are dominated by abundance of voices all shouting for attention and offering a solution to the problems they have diagnosed. Each individual claims expertise and insights gained from years as a student is sufficient experience to allow one to speak with authority. - Educators need to find their voice. 
Nigel Coutts

A pedagogy for Cultural Understanding & Human Empathy - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    How we see ourselves, how we describe ourselves reveals a great deal about how we see 'others'. In May of this year, speaking to the audience of the International Conference on Thinking, Bruno Della Chiesa invited us to consider how we might approach the question of "who we are?". In responding to such a question, what list of affiliations do we invoke to define ourselves?
Nigel Coutts

Holiday Reading - Christmas 2019 - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    With the Christmas Holiday's finally here this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of that reading which has been delayed while more pressing matters are dealt with. Here are the top items on my holiday reading list. With a project underway that explores a conceptual based approach to teaching mathematics there is a bias in that direction. 
Nigel Coutts

Teaching mathematicians shouldn't be like programming a computer - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Traditional methods of teaching maths have more in common with how we programme a computer that what we might do if we wanted to engage our students in mathematical thinking. We shouldn't be overly surprised then when our students consider mathematics to be all about learning a set of rules that they need to apply in the right order so as to output the correct response. But is there a better way?
John Evans

How to Teach STEM Without Being an Engineer - Getting Smart - 3 views

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    "Does STEM scare you? I know it scared me. When I was a kid, I watched my brother take apart an entire computer and put it back together without a manual or guide. Me, I could barely change a lightbulb. And no matter how hard I tried, I always seemed to put IKEA furniture together backward. You should see my bookcase. Very embarrassing. It was with this same trepidation and insecurity that I approached STEM. What could I teach kids? I'm not an engineer! I'm not a scientist! I'm not a mathematician! It wasn't until I reluctantly volunteered to help out with a robotics after school program that I started gaining confidence. I put together my first robot (with a lot of help, TLC from the co-instructor, and even guidance from some eight-year-old kids) and its been downhill from there. I soon realized that leading successful STEM experiences has less to do with your actual knowledge as an instructor (though it helps), and more to do with the MINDSET you take with kids. Here are the five MAKER mindsets and how YOU can develop them starting tomorrow."
Nigel Coutts

Why we fear data and how our perception can change. - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Data occupies a somewhat curious place within education. Mention it to teachers and you tend to get one of two responses. One group will roll their eyes and with great sarcasm how data is "so exciting". The other group responds with something akin to "actually I quite like data" indicating that experience has shown them that they are members of a small group. The question is why do some people find data to be a useful and fascinating tool while others see it as a good method for inducing sleep? 
John Evans

The Seven Habits of Highly Affective Teachers - Educational Leadership - 2 views

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    "Anxious, overconfident, curious, indifferent, angry, amused, lonely, hopeful, embarrassed, empowered, afraid, excited, diminished-teachers have seen all these emotions emerge from students as they engage with classroom content. Emotional responses to lessons often go through students' minds before they even begin to think about the material: This stuff is stupid/awesome/beyond me. I'm not comfortable with this. Finally, something I'm good at. Maybe somebody will notice I can't read. Let's see her find a mistake in that one-it's perfect. Does the teacher know I didn't study this last night? Some of us deny this reality and claim we aren't trained to guide children's emotional health. We think our purpose is to teach content and skills only, not to deal with the touchy-feely stuff. This attitude turns a blind eye to the developmental nature of the students we serve, and it runs afoul of how minds learn. Unless we're the most severe of sociopaths, we all have emotional responses that affect what we do. Adding to the messiness, our individual perspectives and experiences may put us out of sync with others' emotional states, even as the institutional nature of schools demands emotional synchronicity. The resulting miscommunication, blame, anxiety, and frustration are not the best ingredients for a good day at school. Teachers who deny the emotional elements of teaching and learning can become exhausted from ceaseless confrontations with students' emotional states, often blaming their personal stress and students' failure to learn on students' lack of motivation or maturity. They grow disconnected from students, creating an almost adversarial relationship with them: I need to get them to shape up. It's them or me. These students are hopeless; why should I bother? It's the parents who created this situation. This attitude can bleed into daily interactions with students and colleagues. It doesn't have to be this way. We can develop constructive responses to our own
John Evans

Edutopia | Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset - 1 views

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    "Find information about growth mindset, discover how learning mindsets can affect student performance, and explore strategies that support student confidence."
Nigel Coutts

Towards a pedagogy for life-worthy learning - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    In the contemporary classroom, there is much greater consideration of what the learner does in partnership with their teacher so that they develop the capacity to learn. Classroom routines and structures are designed to engage the learner in a rich process of dialogical learning. 
Nigel Coutts

How might we confront the challenges of time and "the system"? - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Two forces seem to present the most significant obstacle to educators hoping to achieve these illustrious goals for and with their learners. The first is time, the second is "the system". Together these two factors act as a bulwark to change; the constraints within which progress is able to occur but only to the point that it strikes against the seemingly immutable obstacles. 
Nigel Coutts

The messages we send about learning - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    We send our students many messages about learning, growth, ability, potential. . . Sometimes we are sending these messages deliberately, such as when we talk about growth mindset and the rewards of effort, persistence and risk taking. At other times the messages we send are accidental, incidental and unplanned; these are often the strongest messages we send. 
Nigel Coutts

The power of powerful ideas shared simply - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Some statements stand out in your memory for the power with which they resonate through you mind. I recall the first time I encountered the question posed by Alan November "Who owns the learning?" on the cover of his book of the same name. In four words, Alan poses a question that strikes at the heart of education and encourages us to re-think our approach. If we believe that the learner should own the learning, what are the implications of this for our teaching? Like a stone dropped on the surface of a calm pond, the ripples from a powerful idea spread, expand and gain strength. 
Nigel Coutts

Enhancing the power of our reflective practice - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    "We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience." ― John Dewey These words by John Dewey point to a truth about learning that is often forgotten. Experience alone is not sufficient for true learning to occur; reflection is an essential part of the process and our failure to include time for this is why our learning often does not stick.
John Evans

Data Doesn't Have to be a Dirty Word - Work in Progress - Education Week Teacher - 0 views

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    "It's all about perspective.  Too often when we hear the word "data" we assume that the person speaking is talking solely about summative test results and the plethora of possibilities for learning we can take away from those numbers.  But this is NOT the only kind of data that exists, it is just the kind that gets the brunt of our ire and frustration as it is a solitary indicator of teaching and learning. And that's what I struggle with. Test data is one single area for determining what kids know and can do and there are often many challenges with these standardized tests that skew the data on top of that. However, most classroom teachers and leaders are gathering data like masterful musicians in their classrooms every day and just don't realize that is what they are doing."
John Evans

The STEM Zombie Apocalypse | Edutopia - 0 views

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    "So many adults, including teachers, joke about not being able to do simple math or not being a "science person" that many students enter STEM classrooms with negative views. This creates a fixed mindset as students believe they need certain natural abilities to be successful in math and science. As educators, we need to create opportunities for students to overcome these deeply planted negative views. Using images or ideas from popular culture gives students an entry point to explore science-they're already experts, and they can use the confidence they have in that area to become more open to learning and experiencing how math and science are rooted in creativity and imagination."
Nigel Coutts

Schools are made of People - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Schools are made of people. Schools are all about people. Schools are made from the connections between people. Schools exist to serve people and make the lives of all people better.
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