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Nigel Coutts

The folly of goal setting activities - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    It is soon the start of a new school year for students in Australia. In other parts of the world, the year continues after a short break for Christmas while New Year festivities are just around the corner for those observing the lunar new year. The start of the year is considered an excellent time to reflect on key ideas that matter to our learning and potential for success. But does this equate with goal-setting?
Nigel Coutts

Moving beyond linear plans for learning - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    An important part of the role of any educator is that of planning learning sequences. Perhaps you are tasked with designing curriculum or more likely you are translating a mandatory curriculum into workable units of learning. The task is complex and there are multiple arrangements. The goal is to design units that connect students with learning in ways that are meaningful and relevant. A well-designed unit of learning fits seamlessly alongside other learning opportunities and the overall sequence of learning should match the learners developing expertise. As we plan units of learning we must consider a great variety of factors which impact the learning we design. Our knowledge of our students and where they are with their learning is crucial and a strong place to start. We also need to know what it is we are required to teach and have a grab bag of pedagogical moves that bring this content alive.
Nigel Coutts

Questions to ask as we ponder the latest PISA results - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    I am wanting to take a slightly different approach to this weeks post. The past week has seen the latest round of PISA results and the media has had a field day. Headlines have routinely attacked students, educators and education systems in equal measure. The Canberra Times reported that "Australian school scores plummet on world stage", the Sydney Morning Herald led with "Alarm bells': Australian students record worst result in global tests" and The Weekend Australian went with "PISA global educational rankings: Schools fail on maths, science". 
Nigel Coutts

Teaching and Learning as Dialogue with the World - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Learning should always be an active process and a two-way partnership between teaching and learning. In essence, learning and its counterpart exist as a vibrant dialogue between individuals whose role in the relationship is continually transformative. I'd like to explore this thinking further.
Nigel Coutts

If we learn from reflecting on experience - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    It is difficult to understate the importance of reflective practice for learning. Dewey states that "We do not learn from experience. . . we learn from reflecting on experience", and it is worth taking time to consider the implications of this. How might we maximise the benefits of reflective practise amidst the many competing pressures we confront?
Nigel Coutts

Supporting students in uncovering complexity - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    One of the thinking moves that we hope our students will confidently engage with is centred around the disposition of uncovering complexity. As we endeavour to shift our students towards a deeper understanding, the capacity to uncover complexity is a vital step. However, the ability to uncover complexity is itself complex and an excellent example of a skill that is best achieved when considered as a disposition. 
Nigel Coutts

Six key messages for successful learning - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    I recently had the opportunity to speak with a group of parents whose children are transitioning into a new phase of their learning. I used this as an opportunity to share some key messages for successful learning and thought I would briefly unpack these here.
Nigel Coutts

Bringing concepts to early learning in Mathematics - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    Our beliefs about mathematics play a significant role in how we approach learning within the discipline. These beliefs are established by the nature of our early engagement with mathematics and are difficult to change once established. For many people mathematics is viewed as a subject that is not for them. Indeed the situation is so bad that many people will say that they are not a maths person and approach mathematics with fear and anxiety. 
Nigel Coutts

What it takes for deep learning in primary education? - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    Our goal might be to support Deep versus Surface Learning, but what does this mean in practical terms. What are the beliefs and dispositions which support teaching for deep learning, and what are the implications of this in terms of the pedagogy we adopt?
Nigel Coutts

Shifting towards student centred learning - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    Particular patterns of pedagogy have been of most interest to me across the years, particularly those that shift the focus from what the teacher does to what the student does. With this shift comes an emphasis on understanding how students learn and with this knowledge in mind developing learning experiences that will allow them to develop their skills for learning.
Nigel Coutts

All learning is a consequence of thinking - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    All learning is a consequence of thinking. I have these words printed and posted on the wall above my desk. It is a reminder of what I believe is a vital understanding. The consequences of this one statement are quite profound. They fundamentally shape what I do as an educator and the experiences I hope to create for my learners.
Nigel Coutts

What if questions are the way to the solution - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Adults love to ask "What if...?" questions too. It is a model that can be a catalyst for change when used in the right way and when combined with some other questions. 
Nigel Coutts

Reflections from Mathematics: The Greatest Show - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    I have just had the opportunity to spend the weekend learning alongside a large group of mathematics teachers. After a day and a half of talking and thinking about mathematics teaching, I am excited to get back to school and try out some new ideas. There were also some key takeaways for me that I share below. These are the questions or wonderings that my mind wandered to while listening to the numerous talented speakers over the past two days.
Nigel Coutts

Five reads for September - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    For teachers in Australia, the long Term Three is drawing rapidly to a close. Indeed as I write this just ten days remain before a two-week break. This is the perfect time to consider a holiday reading list. Just enough time to raid the school library or place an order with your favourite book store. Here is what's currently occupying space on my nightstand. 
Nigel Coutts

Do We Truly Understand Place Value? - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    James Tanton shattered my understanding of the vertical algorithm. More than that, he helped me to see how poorly I understood place value and that many of my students function with the same misunderstanding. What made the experience more humbling was that it took him less than two minutes to do this.
Nigel Coutts

Thinking and learning in the postnormal era - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    We live in a time of chaos, complexity and contradiction. (Sardar, 2010 [1]) Where rapid changes and transformations through technology, politics, globalisation and the climate, conspire against normality (Friedman, 2016 [2]) These times demand a fresh approach to education, one that provides learners with the thinking dispositions they need to turn challenges into opportunities, to connect their learning to their passions and emerge from their years of formal education as self-navigating life-long learners. 
Nigel Coutts

Seven Language Moves for Learning - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Our language choices communicate both intended and unintended messages. In the choices we make, in the subtlety of these choices, lies a truth more powerful than that conveyed by a literal reading of our words. When we look closely and critically at our use of language, we begin to see particular patterns which reveal much about what we genuinely value and expect from our learners. 
Nigel Coutts

Powerful Provocations for Learning: Sparking curiosity and increasing engagement - The ... - 5 views

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    Powerful learning begins with the perfect provocation. Creating, refining and skilfully presenting the perfect provocation is an essential capability for teachers hoping to engage their class in rich dialogue. Claims that the percentage of students engaged by their learning declines from 75 percent in fifth grade to 32 percent by eleventh grade suggests a need for a more provocative environment. 
Nigel Coutts

Bringing Mathematical Reasoning into our Classrooms - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Reasoning is at the heart of mathematical thinking. It is what mathematicians do. But how do we teach it?
Nigel Coutts

The Conditions Required for 'Learner Flow' - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    What might it take to ensure students choose to be in our courses because the value of the learning achieved through mindful attendance is such that they would not want to be anywhere else?
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