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Nigel Coutts

Five reads for September - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    For teachers in Australia, the long Term Three is drawing rapidly to a close. Indeed as I write this just ten days remain before a two-week break. This is the perfect time to consider a holiday reading list. Just enough time to raid the school library or place an order with your favourite book store. Here is what's currently occupying space on my nightstand. 
Nigel Coutts

Do We Truly Understand Place Value? - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    James Tanton shattered my understanding of the vertical algorithm. More than that, he helped me to see how poorly I understood place value and that many of my students function with the same misunderstanding. What made the experience more humbling was that it took him less than two minutes to do this.
Nigel Coutts

Seven Language Moves for Learning - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    Our language choices communicate both intended and unintended messages. In the choices we make, in the subtlety of these choices, lies a truth more powerful than that conveyed by a literal reading of our words. When we look closely and critically at our use of language, we begin to see particular patterns which reveal much about what we genuinely value and expect from our learners. 
Nigel Coutts

Powerful Provocations for Learning: Sparking curiosity and increasing engagement - The ... - 13 views

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    Powerful learning begins with the perfect provocation. Creating, refining and skilfully presenting the perfect provocation is an essential capability for teachers hoping to engage their class in rich dialogue. Claims that the percentage of students engaged by their learning declines from 75 percent in fifth grade to 32 percent by eleventh grade suggests a need for a more provocative environment. 
Nigel Coutts

Bringing Mathematical Reasoning into our Classrooms - The Learner's Way - 9 views

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    Reasoning is at the heart of mathematical thinking. It is what mathematicians do. But how do we teach it?
Nigel Coutts

The Conditions Required for 'Learner Flow' - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    What might it take to ensure students choose to be in our courses because the value of the learning achieved through mindful attendance is such that they would not want to be anywhere else?
Nigel Coutts

AAMT Why Maths? - Inspiration beyond the classroom - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    This week I spent three days in Brisbane attending the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers' national conference. The theme of the conference was "Why Maths?" and along with 500 other mathematicians, we looked to find inspiring answers to this provocative question beyond the classroom. Here are my key takeaways from this event. 
Nigel Coutts

A New Renaissance - The Future of Education — The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    This week I am in Florence having spent two days at "The Future of Education" conference. Visiting this city, which has played such a significant role in western history, is inspiring. It encourages one to not only look back at what was, but also to look ahead at what might be, especially when the t
Nigel Coutts

How might we prepare our students for an unknown future? - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    How might we prepare our students for an unknown future? If we accept that we are living in times of rapid change and that the world our children will inhabit is likely to be very different from the world of today, or perhaps more importantly, different from the work our current education system was designed to serve, what should we do to ensure our children are able to thrive?
Nigel Coutts

Focusing on What Matters - From Identifying to Enacting our Big Rocks - The Learner's Way - 12 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 - 7 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 - 13 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 - 16 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 - 13 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 - 12 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 - 13 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... - 14 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 - 5 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

Curiosity as the edge of knowledge phenomenon that drives learning - The Learner's Way - 12 views

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    We are driven by curiosity. It is an innately human quality that has driven us to explore, ask questions, investigate, wonder why and search for a deeper understanding. In a very fundamental way curiosity is the driver of all self-directed learning. It is our desire to find out more, unlock new knowledge and answer our questions (big ones and little ones) that compels us to learn. Sir Ken Robinson famously and provocatively asked "Do Schools Kill Creativity?". The same question might be asked about curiosity.
Nigel Coutts

Educators as Agents for Educational Policy - The Learner's Way - 6 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. 
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