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Nigel Coutts

Are we there yet? Are we there? - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    This much-maligned question seems so appropriate for education's recent history. All that was normal, everything that was routine, all of our structures, have been turned upside down and hurled into the wind of COVID19. From having spoken of a future dominated by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), we have found ourselves living in it. Innovation and creativity became the new normal as we "Apollo 13" schooling into a model that met the demands of emergency remote learning. The pressure, the workload, the demands on our time and the cognitive load have all been immense, and so it seems fitting to ask "Are we there yet?".
Nigel Coutts

Getting started with Deep-Learning - Part B - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    With our goal of deep-learning in mind where do we begin and what learning opportunities might result in this? Having clarified our key terms of understanding, learning and deep, we can turn to a set of questions which might be of use as we plan the learning our students will engage in along their way.
Nigel Coutts

Getting started with teaching for deep learning. - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    There is an understandable interest in deep-learning, after all, who wants their students to have a superficial understanding of the content. Read the marketing of almost any school and you are likely to find some statement about the deep-learning that is achieved as a result of their excellent teaching and learning platform. Likewise, ask any teach about their philosophy of teaching and you will hear how they engage their students with learning that promotes a deep-understanding.
Nigel Coutts

Might now be the time rethink our curriculum? - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Perhaps the disruption of a global pandemic will prompt a rethinking of how education might be framed to best serve the needs of those who rely on it most? Perhaps now is the time to rethink the curriculum?
Nigel Coutts

Insights into the true power of Number Talks - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Number Talks are a wonderful way to see where our students are with their mathematical thinking. As a part of a daily routine, a Number Talk promotes number sense and mathematical reasoning. In this post, I revisit what a Number Talk can reveal about our students' understanding of mathematics, and how they might be used to promote a fresh perspective. In addition, I examine a success criteria for Number Talks that is more expansive and recognises their true power.
Nigel Coutts

Essential Reading for Teachers Interested in Thinking - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    If you are interested in building a classroom culture where thinking is noticed, named and celebrated, there are three books which make essential reading. They provide clear evidence for why teachers should focus their efforts on encouraging and normalising thinking and offer research-backed strategies to support this. The books are the result of ongoing research by Harvard's Project Zero and their lead author Ron Ritchhart.
Nigel Coutts

Might curriculum overloading come from "Idea Creep" - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    I would like to propose that one cause of curriculum overcrowding is a phenomenon I refer to as "Idea Creep".
Nigel Coutts

From Good to Great: Writing well by Thinking like Authors - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    A common challenge for students and teachers is how to develop a great idea for a piece of writing. Too often students struggle with the process of finding inspiration for their writing. They have a vague idea for the story they hope to tell, but all too quickly it transforms into a list of events with little or no detail. The goal here is to provide our students with a process to use during the planning process. The hope is that by identifying the type of thinking required during the early phases of ideation and to focus their attention on details, that the stories our students subsequently compose will be more enjoyable to read. Hopefully, this process helps.
Nigel Coutts

Online Novel Study Guide that Encourages Thinking - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    With many schools moving to online learning around the world I wanted to share a resource that might be of support.
Nigel Coutts

Responding to COVID19: Now and in the long-term. - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    At some point, we will need to pause. Lift our heads up and survey the scenery in this new world. Then, let us hope that we ask the right questions. Making time and space for a moment of pause and reflection will be crucial if it becomes clear that this is more than a brief fling with online learning.
Nigel Coutts

Desirable Patterns of Learning for Online Learning - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    With the emerging threat of COVID19 and the closure of schools, teachers are scrambling to move to online learning environments. This will bring with it a myriad of challenges the short time frame is not going to help the situation. While we are fortunate that there are many technological solutions for the provision of remote learning, the more significant challenges will revolve around how we interact with our learners.
Nigel Coutts

Celebrating the significance of creativity for educations future success - The Learner'... - 2 views

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    Our collective ability to learn and by doing so, adapt to changing circumstances through the acquisition of new skills and dispositions is what Edward de Bono refers to as EBNE; Essential But Not Enough. - What then might education need as it develops a response to times of rapid change?
Nigel Coutts

The challenge of educating for unknown unknowns - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    It is almost precisely eighteen years since Donald Rumsfeld uttered his now well-regarded commentary on the danger of "unknown unknowns". At the time his remarks brought more confusion than clarity and reinforced for many a belief that politicians use words to conceal the truth. Somehow though, Donald's words from 2002 seem to fit the world of today, and the challenges confronting educators all too well.
Nigel Coutts

Questioning our Assumptions and Considering Multiple Viewpoints - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    In "Factfulness", Hans Rosling shares a valuable insight into why we must question our assumptions. In times when we are bombarded with information, when false claims abound, having a disposition towards scepticism seems vital. Rosling urges us to not only question the facts we are presented with but the internal biases which influence how we interpret these facts.
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

Curiosity, critical thinking and agency as responses to the Australian Bushfire Crisis ... - 2 views

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    The bushfire crisis that is currently impacting Australia is beyond devastating. The scale of these fires defies the imagination. For so long now we have lived with skies laden with smoke as a constant and inescapable reminder that this is not an ordinary summer. This is weather and drought at its most extreme. Our only salvation will be rain but this is not the season for that and the long term forecasts are not promising. Our young people, in particular, will be affected and will need special care in the weeks and months to come. What might this mean for schools and for student agency?
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

Assessment and Student Agency - Better Together - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    As with many things in education, the outcome achieved will be a result of all that we do. Efforts to promote and empower student agency, voice and choice certainly falls into this category. We might have the best of intentions but unless each of our messaging systems align, we are unlikely to achieve success. So where do our efforts go wrong and what else might we change so that student agency is genuinely a part of our learning environment?
Nigel Coutts

Holiday Reading List - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    With summer in the southern hemisphere, long days combined with school holidays for school teachers create the perfect opportunity to relax with a good book. Here are five great reads that might spark some curiosity and keep the brain working over the break.
Nigel Coutts

Student voice, choice, agency, partnerships and participation - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    This week I joined with teachers, students, researchers and policy writers at Melbourne University to discuss student voice. This conference was hosted by Social Education Victoria and made possible by the conference partners, The University of Melbourne, Education and Training Victoria, Foundation for Young Australians and Connect. Over three days, participants engaged in rigorous dialogue about the significance of student voice and what is required to ensure its benefits are maximised for all.
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