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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

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

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

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

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.
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