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Nigel Coutts

Reflections on a service trip to Fiji - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Recently I left the cold and dark of a Sydney winter and journeyed north to the warmer climate of Fiji. A jewel dropped in the warm waters of the Pacific, Fiji is a popular holiday destination for those looking for a tropical escape. This trip was very different from the norm. There would be no resorts, no five-star dining and my company was to be a group of 24 Year Nine students. It was to be a journey full of learning and insights into the challenges facing education. 
Nigel Coutts

On the path to creativity - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    The difficulty with creativity is it is not easy and perhaps thanks to our experience of schooling not a natural attribute of many adults. What creativity needs is a process and/or a structure that allows us to bring our intellect to the development of creative solutions.
Nigel Coutts

Learning by playing, tinkering and making - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    Play is a vital tool for learning. It should be vital part of every child's learning; the norm rather than the exception and we leave it behind as we become adults to our own peril. 
Nigel Coutts

The art of modern writing - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    Learning to write is one of the fundamental skills we gain from our time at school. Writing is one of the cornerstones of learning and we devote significant time and energy towards its mastery. Skilled writing is a mark of an educated individual and a skill required for academic success. But in the modern world what makes a skilled writer? What has changed about writing and what literary skills should we focus our attention on. 
Nigel Coutts

Creativity is a beautiful, messy chaotic thing - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    Creativity is often said to be the key to the future. The essentially human attribute that will ensure our utility in a world dominated by automation. It is said to be an essential ingredient in education but it will not be truly learned unless we provide students with opportunities to dive fully into its waters. 
Nigel Coutts

Growth Mindsets in the Great Outdoors - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    chool camps are a wonderful opportunity to observe how our students handle the challenge of a different learning setting. Away from the norms and familiar settings of the classroom, we see students in a different light. For the students, camps are an exciting and for some frightening challenge. For teachers, they are an outstanding assessment tool that should inform our practices long after camp is over. 
Nigel Coutts

Shifting from awareness to action - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    The evidence is mounting and the narrative around education is shifting towards a story centred on long-life skills, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. Success in the future seems to be connected closely to one's capacity to innovate, to problem find and to make strategic decisions when confronted by unique situations for which we have not been specifically prepared. 
Nigel Coutts

Striving to preserve Truth - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    What purposes does education serve? What needs of humanity does education serve? What might the product of our labours be like and how might our efforts contribute to the greater good? These are questions we have long struggled with but with but it seems that in the current times we might need to rethink how we answer these questions.
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

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

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

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

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.
Nigel Coutts

Valuing and responding to resistance to change - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    Change is something that we fear or embrace. It is widely considered as the one constant in our lives. For education at present we face a deluge of reports that the pace of change shall only accelerate and its scale become more absolute. No wonder then that many teachers feel now is a good time for a move out of the profession. For others the changing face of education is seen as bringing exciting new possibilities wrapped in engaging challenges. Regardless of how reliable predictions for change may prove to be it is worth considering how individuals and groups respond to it.
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