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Nigel Coutts

Are we there yet? Are we there? - The Learner's Way - 6 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

Questions to ask as we ponder the latest PISA results - The Learner's Way - 7 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 - 13 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 - 12 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

Supporting students in uncovering complexity - The Learner's Way - 6 views

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    One of the thinking moves that we hope our students will confidently engage with is centred around the disposition of uncovering complexity. As we endeavour to shift our students towards a deeper understanding, the capacity to uncover complexity is a vital step. However, the ability to uncover complexity is itself complex and an excellent example of a skill that is best achieved when considered as a disposition. 
Nigel Coutts

Shifting towards student centred learning - The Learner's Way - 20 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

What if questions are the way to the solution - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    Adults love to ask "What if...?" questions too. It is a model that can be a catalyst for change when used in the right way and when combined with some other questions. 
Nigel Coutts

Five reads for September - The Learner's Way - 7 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 - 9 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 ... - 14 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 - 11 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 - 3 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 - 10 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?
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