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Nigel Coutts

Teaching in the 21st Century - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    The consistent message is that we are preparing our students for success in a world very different to that which was the norm only a short time ago. The implications of this change are immense and require a shift in our thinking about what matters most in our classrooms. Such is the pace of change that within any school there will be multiple generations who normalise different perspective on technology and its place in their lives. What becomes clear that the skills we most need within our schools at every level are those which are critical for individuals to be empowered, self-navigating learners. But what does this mean in practical terms?
Nigel Coutts

Understanding understanding and its implications - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    There are terms within education that we use with reckless abandon and as a result cause great levels of confusion. Understanding is one such word and its usage and our 'understanding' of it can have a significant effect on the learning we plan, deliver and assess. With multiple definitions and its broad usage in curriculum documents, philosophies of teaching and learning and as an indicator of the quality or depth of student learning it is a word we should better understand. 
Nigel Coutts

Teaching Dispositions for Learning - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Increasingly we aim to teach dispositions but some care in the use of the term is required as it is easily oversimplified. While teaching for dispositions is encouraged it will have little effect if it means doing little other than engaging with the terminology. If we are to encourage the expansion of the desired dispositions, we must be sure to adequately unpack them and understand the implications in store for our culture of learning. 
Nigel Coutts

The BIG Three for Managing Change - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Understanding responses to change is critical and with the predicted future of education increasingly being linked to innovative practices which prepare students for an unknown future change is a central theme
Nigel Coutts

Helping students to become problem finders - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    For students engaging in creative personalised learning projects such as a 'Genius Hour' or 'Personal Passion project it can often be difficult for them to uncover the right project. Students have become so reliant upon their teachers to pose them problems that when they are given the option to explore one of their own design they don't know where to start. This is indeed a significant challenge as we know that our students will enter a workforce and world of learning beyond school where they must be active problem finders. How then might we provide the support they require without removing the opportunity for truly personalised exploration.  
Nigel Coutts

Banishing The Culture of Busyness - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    At the start of each year we arrive back from our break hopefully rested and energised. The new year brings many new opportunities including new students, new team members and new teaching programmes. We begin again the climb up the hill with a fresh group of learners arriving at our doors full of excitement who will rely on us to meet their learning needs in the year ahead. All of this means we are at risk of starting the year with a certain level of panic. There is so much to do, our students are not accustomed to our routines, we don't know each other well, there are parents to meet, assessments to be done and before we know it we are back to being busy. 
Nigel Coutts

Rethinking Mathematics Education - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    What becomes clear, as you dive further into the emerging research that connects what we know about learning, mindsets, dispositions for learning and the development of mathematical understandings, is that a new approach is required. We need to move away from memorisation and rule based simplifications of mathematics and embrace a model of learning that is challenging and exciting. We can and should be emerging all our students in the beauty and power of mathematics in learning environments full of multiple representations, rich dialogue and collaborative learning. 
Nigel Coutts

Learning to learn with a MakerSpace - The Learner's Way - 15 views

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    Making, Maker Centred Learning and STEAM fit neatly alongside Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) for many schools. Commonly this approach includes a constructivist view of knowledge and teachers seek to establish conditions which allow students to explore questions and ideas with greater independence than may occur in the traditional classroom.  Learning becomes a collaborative partnership between teachers and students with a clear focus on a learner centric approach.
Nigel Coutts

Maker-Centred Learning & STEAM - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    Making the most of Maker Spaces and STEAM will require professional development and a new mindset for all learners. 
Nigel Coutts

Engaged by, in and with learnng - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    As teachers we hope our lessons are engaging and that our students are engaged. We understand that positive learning experiences are more likely to occur when we are engaged cognitively and affectively by what we are doing and that when we are, new ideas and skills are more likely to stick. Engagement is an important consideration in learning and as such it is worth taking time to consider what it means to be engaged and perhaps how we bring the benefits of engagement to our teaching and our learning. 
Nigel Coutts

Holiday Reading List - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    For those in Australia the end of the teaching year has arrived or is just around the corner. With holidays approaching now might be the perfect time to find a good book to read and reset your thinking ahead of the start of a new year. Here are my favourite reads from this year. 
Nigel Coutts

Learning vs Work in a Culture of Thinking - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    Earlier this year a group of teachers I work with explored the 'Eight Cultural Forces' identified by Ron Ritchhart of Harvard's Project Zero. In doing so we decided to focus on our use of the term learning instead of the word work. Our goal was to bring our language choices into the spotlight and explore how a more deliberate focus on learning might alter the culture of our classrooms. Two terms later this focus persists and it is worth reflecting on the effect that this has had.
Nigel Coutts

Playing with Habits of Mind - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    What are the mindful habits of successful learners and how can an understanding of these habits help us better achieve our learning goals? This is the question Art Costa Bena Kallick set out to answer with their study of the Habits of Mind. In 'Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind' Costa and Kallick identify sixteen habits which when utilised promote deeper understanding, unlock creativity, encourage reflective thinking and scaffold problem solving for individuals and groups. 
Nigel Coutts

Learning to love teach meets - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    There is a growing momentum in education driven by a desire to share our practice and learn from our colleagues. Increasingly teachers are finding ways to break free of their classrooms and share their ideas. Collaborations in the interests of unlocking the collective potential of the profession are spreading within and importantly between schools. For many these collaborative endeavours and desires are satisfied by online communities but for many the possibility for a face to face conversation is more alluring.
Nigel Coutts

Politics, Education and Lessons from 2016 - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    It is difficult to have not noticed that the Presidential Election in the United States of America has been somewhat controversial. The same conclusion can be drawn about 'Brexit'. The implications of these events will keep historians, political analysts and indeed educators busy for many years. Regardless of your political leanings there are genuine implications for educators in these events and a considered response now and in the coming months (even years) will be required. 
Nigel Coutts

Questions at the heart of learning - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    At the heart of learning are the questions to which we do not yet know the answers and the journey to the questions we have not yet asked. Such simple truths and yet understandings that can have fundamental consequences for approach to learning and growth.
Nigel Coutts

Shaping the Curriculum - Exploring Integration - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    After two days of talking about curriculum, integration, STEM, STEAM and HASS I am left with more questions than I started with. In some respects, the concept of curriculum integration is simple. It is after all something that Primary teachers almost take for granted. But for Senior and Tertiary educators the question of curriculum integration is inherently complex. At all levels questions emerge of what curriculum integration might achieve, what purposes it serves, what it could and should look like and how it should be supported by curriculum planners. In the current climate, with its debate around the role of education within an innovation economy, shaped by technology and confronting demands for a STEAM enabled workforce the shape of our curriculum is under pressure. 
Nigel Coutts

Change, culture and Cultural Change in Education - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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     Embedded in the very weave of the organisation, culture is the most difficult aspect of an organisation to change and the hardest form of change to sustain 'That's because transforming a culture requires influencing people's deepest beliefs and most habitual behaviours' (Rogers, Meehan & Tanne 2006 p5). Rogers et al indicate that as little as 10% of all organisations that set out to develop a high performing culture achieve their goal.
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    Agreed. Education is controlled by the academics since it became a savior for leaving the middle class. Our best civic leaders have a different idea.
    http://www.textbooksfree.org/Leaders%20Educational%20Advise.htm
Nigel Coutts

The false dichotomy of The want to vs The have - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    We struggle to achieve balance with so many parts of our lives. We see things in dichotomies and try to weigh one against the other believing that we must give time to one and not the other. This tendency to see things in often false dichotomies leads to the problem of the "want to' vs the 'have to'. Unfortunately, when we are faced with this dilemma we often make a choice in favour of the 'have to' but we chose this option for the wrong reasons.
Nigel Coutts

Organisational Learning - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    For schools the concept of a learning organisation should make perfect sense, after all learning is our core business, or it should be. Perhaps that almost three decades after Peter Senge identified the importance of learning within organisations the idea is only now gaining traction in schools tells us something about the approach taken to learning and teaching within schools. With an increased focus on the development of professional learning communities as a response to the complex challenges that emerge from a rapidly changing society, it is worth looking at what a learning organisation requires for success.
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