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Nigel Coutts

Focusing on What Matters - From Identifying to Enacting our Big Rocks - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    The message is now unpacked for the class. The jar represents our lives, and the challenge is to decide what we will fill our lives with. The large rocks represent those things which matter most in our lives. The gravel and sand the small things which occupy our time and keep us from what matters most. - How might this help us focus on what matters for our learners?
Nigel Coutts

Local Wisdom versus Global Assessments - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    A significant shift continues to occur within global education markets. It is signified by the manner in which it makes sense to speak of a global education market. It is driven by neo-liberalism and the expansion of markets into all aspects of our lives and it is made possible by manipulation of the third messaging system within the educational triad of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. It is a drive towards accountable, comparable and productive education systems fine-tuned to maximise the return on investment and provide industry with the workforce it desires. What must be asked is how does this trend impact students and are these the forces that should be driving change in our education systems?
Nigel Coutts

Why we don't cook frogs slowly and other thoughts on change - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    The frog in the pot of boiling water in An Inconvenient Truth is a cinematic moment that has the desired effect. It is one of the moments from the film that the audience remembers long after the credits roll. I have often thought about how this metaphor applies to change and particularly the way that change operates in schools.
Nigel Coutts

Contemplating questions of work life balance - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Oddly lately I have been pondering how schools responds to the question of a work life balance. Let me try to explain my thinking. I am still trying to clarify my thinking here, so please bear with me. What does it mean to achieve work life balance, and should we want to?
Nigel Coutts

Growth = Mindset + Action - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    Having the right mindset is alone not sufficient for growth. I might talk the talk about a growth mindset and believe I can learn a new skill but unless I back that belief with action, it is just talk.
Nigel Coutts

The Curse of False Expertise - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    what if our expertise is imagined or false. What if what we think is so, just ain't so. This might be more common than we care to admit, and it is worth considering the source of this difficulty and its implications. 
Nigel Coutts

In Postnormal Times our Students need to be Brave - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    If we are to cultivate the dispositions required in these times of postnormality and post-truth we need to establish cultures in our classrooms which will allow them to thrive. 
Nigel Coutts

A Conceptual approach to Big Understandings and Mathematical Confidence - The Learner's... - 3 views

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    This traditional pedagogy results in students developing a negative attitude towards mathematics. Many develop a mathematical phobia and believe that they are not a "maths person". When confronted by challenging mathematics they retreat and have no or only poor strategies with which to approach new ideas. This all leads to a decline in the number of students pursuing mathematical learning beyond the years where it is compulsory. Fortunately there is a growing body of research that shows there is a better way. 
Nigel Coutts

What meal would your team be? - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    What makes a team truly great? What are the qualities which allow some teams to perform at a high level while others seem trapped? One approach to this question is to consider a team as though they were a meal. Thinking metaphorically, we ask what are the ingredients that make a great team and how might we combine them to produce the best results?
Nigel Coutts

Educators as Agents for Educational Policy - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Education exists in an uneasy domain and the teaching professional is forced to navigate between a multitude of conflicting tensions. Our education systems are dominated by abundance of voices all shouting for attention and offering a solution to the problems they have diagnosed. Each individual claims expertise and insights gained from years as a student is sufficient experience to allow one to speak with authority. - Educators need to find their voice. 
Nigel Coutts

A pedagogy for Cultural Understanding & Human Empathy - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    How we see ourselves, how we describe ourselves reveals a great deal about how we see 'others'. In May of this year, speaking to the audience of the International Conference on Thinking, Bruno Della Chiesa invited us to consider how we might approach the question of "who we are?". In responding to such a question, what list of affiliations do we invoke to define ourselves?
Nigel Coutts

Why we fear data and how our perception can change. - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Data occupies a somewhat curious place within education. Mention it to teachers and you tend to get one of two responses. One group will roll their eyes and with great sarcasm how data is "so exciting". The other group responds with something akin to "actually I quite like data" indicating that experience has shown them that they are members of a small group. The question is why do some people find data to be a useful and fascinating tool while others see it as a good method for inducing sleep? 
Nigel Coutts

Towards a pedagogy for life-worthy learning - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    In the contemporary classroom, there is much greater consideration of what the learner does in partnership with their teacher so that they develop the capacity to learn. Classroom routines and structures are designed to engage the learner in a rich process of dialogical learning. 
Nigel Coutts

The power of powerful ideas shared simply - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Some statements stand out in your memory for the power with which they resonate through you mind. I recall the first time I encountered the question posed by Alan November "Who owns the learning?" on the cover of his book of the same name. In four words, Alan poses a question that strikes at the heart of education and encourages us to re-think our approach. If we believe that the learner should own the learning, what are the implications of this for our teaching? Like a stone dropped on the surface of a calm pond, the ripples from a powerful idea spread, expand and gain strength. 
Nigel Coutts

Enhancing the power of our reflective practice - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    "We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience." ― John Dewey These words by John Dewey point to a truth about learning that is often forgotten. Experience alone is not sufficient for true learning to occur; reflection is an essential part of the process and our failure to include time for this is why our learning often does not stick.
Nigel Coutts

Schools are made of People - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Schools are made of people. Schools are all about people. Schools are made from the connections between people. Schools exist to serve people and make the lives of all people better.
Nigel Coutts

Debating false dichotomies: a new front in the education wars - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Sometimes, it seems everyone who ever went to school is an expert on education and has a plan to make it better. Actual teaching experience, years of professional learning and formal training are all easily swept aside. The result is an ongoing dialog around what schools should do, what teachers need to do more of or less of and how the academic success of the nation is linked to strategy x or y.
Nigel Coutts

The learner's role in their search for learning - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    Rather than expecting to be immersed in learning that shines a light on the path forward the notion of searching for driftwood that suits the learner's needs is very empowering. It requires an imagining of learning as a very active process where the learner is aware of their context, their current understanding and what they might need to move forward. It demands a conscious practice of reflection and a disposition towards taking charge of one's learning. It is a very agentic view where learning is something that you do, not something that happens to you. 
Nigel Coutts

Why we need to move our technology use beyond substitution - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    Mere substitution is not going to help our learners maximise the affordances of technology. The challenge is to find ways by which technology can enhance learning. We can be certain that technology is not going to go away and that those who maximise the affordances that it brings are likely to gain the most from it. 
Nigel Coutts

What might our children most need from Education? - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    In these times of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA), in this Post Truth era, what do our children most need from their education? How do we best prepare them for their future?
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