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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Nigel Coutts

Nigel Coutts

The art of modern writing - The Learner's Way - 1 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 - 5 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

Transforming Homework to Home Learning - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    A recent strategy to alter the negative image that homework has built is to re-brand it as "home learning". But is this enough and if we are going to "get it right" what do we need to change besides the name?
Nigel Coutts

Five Great Reads - The Learner's Way - 9 views

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    One of the great joys and best strategies for expanding your understanding is to engage with a great book. Fortunately the options available today are immense and electronic options and audio books make access easy and possible wherever you may be. Here is a short list of what I have been reading lately with some brief reflections. 
Nigel Coutts

Understanding the true nature of science - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    As thousands take to the streets as part of a global 'March for Science' it is worth considering the significant role that education has to play. What are the messages we need to send our students about science and what role have schools played in creating the current climate? Now seems like the time to pause and reflect on the place of science in our community and our schools.
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

What do we need to know? - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    I keep circling back to this question of what do we need to know, or to learn. It comes up so often in conversations around education and is closely connected to what we hope to achieve for our students. It is a question whose answer shapes not only what we teach but how we teach and what we assess. It strikes at the heart of how we perceive the role of education in society and the way we answer it reveals much about our personal philosophy of education. 
Nigel Coutts

What messages are we sending about learning? - The Learner's Way - 3 views

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    How can we take more notice of the culture of our classrooms and what it communicates to learners about the value of thinking? 
Nigel Coutts

Learning in the age of Social Networks - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    Learning is a social endeavour. Schools need to understand that for our students the social landscape has changed. Rather than turning away from this reality we need to understand what it means and what our children need to know and learn to safely maximise the opportunities it brings.
Nigel Coutts

Teaching in the 21st Century - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    The consistent message is that we are preparing our students for success in a world very different to that which was the norm only a short time ago. The implications of this change are immense and require a shift in our thinking about what matters most in our classrooms. Such is the pace of change that within any school there will be multiple generations who normalise different perspective on technology and its place in their lives. What becomes clear that the skills we most need within our schools at every level are those which are critical for individuals to be empowered, self-navigating learners. But what does this mean in practical terms?
Nigel Coutts

Understanding understanding and its implications - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    There are terms within education that we use with reckless abandon and as a result cause great levels of confusion. Understanding is one such word and its usage and our 'understanding' of it can have a significant effect on the learning we plan, deliver and assess. With multiple definitions and its broad usage in curriculum documents, philosophies of teaching and learning and as an indicator of the quality or depth of student learning it is a word we should better understand. 
Nigel Coutts

Why do we teach? - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    Only those who have taught a class for a year, who have struggled with the challenges faced by students and who have shared in the moments of success will truly understand why we teach. Maybe that is why we seek out opportunities to gather and share what we do, to spend even a Saturday in the company of those who "get" what it is that we do and why we do it. Teaching is a beautiful thing to be a part. 
Nigel Coutts

Teaching Dispositions for Learning - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Increasingly we aim to teach dispositions but some care in the use of the term is required as it is easily oversimplified. While teaching for dispositions is encouraged it will have little effect if it means doing little other than engaging with the terminology. If we are to encourage the expansion of the desired dispositions, we must be sure to adequately unpack them and understand the implications in store for our culture of learning. 
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

The BIG Three for Managing Change - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    Understanding responses to change is critical and with the predicted future of education increasingly being linked to innovative practices which prepare students for an unknown future change is a central theme
Nigel Coutts

Helping students to become problem finders - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    For students engaging in creative personalised learning projects such as a 'Genius Hour' or 'Personal Passion project it can often be difficult for them to uncover the right project. Students have become so reliant upon their teachers to pose them problems that when they are given the option to explore one of their own design they don't know where to start. This is indeed a significant challenge as we know that our students will enter a workforce and world of learning beyond school where they must be active problem finders. How then might we provide the support they require without removing the opportunity for truly personalised exploration.  
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.
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