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Nigel Coutts

Educational Disadvantage - Socio-economic Status & Education Pt 1 - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    The role that education plays in issues of social equity and justice cannot be undervalued. It is acknowledged by the United Nations as a human right, 'Everyone has the right to education' (United Nations, 1948) and as outlined in the Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians 'As a nation Australia values the central role of education in building a democratic, equitable and just society- a society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse, and that values Australia's Indigenous cultures as a key part of the nation's history, present and future.' (Barr et al, 2008). Such lofty assertions of the importance of education as a right and national value should be sufficient to ensure that all Australians have access to an education of the highest standard with equitable outcomes for all, the reality is that this is not the case.
Nigel Coutts

Destinationitis - Preparing for tomorrow while missing today - The Learner's Way - 14 views

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    Destinationitis is the tendency to focus more on where you are going than where you are. You will frequently see groups of trekkers suffering from destinationitis. So focused are they on making it to the end of the trek or the next rest stop that they storm through the wilderness oblivious to the beauty that surrounds them. Destinationitis similarly afflicts educators but here the consequences are borne by the students.
Nigel Coutts

Good Reads for Great Assessment - The Learner's Way - 43 views

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    Recently I have been diving into the world of Assessment, seeking to better understand how we might design effective processes around this essential phase of the learning cycle. In doing so I have found a wealth of resources and quality reads that offer insights and strategies to be applied into our classrooms. Here then is a sampling of what I have been reading. 
Nigel Coutts

Maker Education on a Budget - The Learner's Way - 20 views

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    There is growing interest from schools in the Maker Movement and Maker Education but with this have come some subtle misunderstandings about what it is all about. For one the modern maker movement is all about the mindset of the maker rather than developing a set of specific skills for making. The second confusion stems from a belief that the maker movement is all about the tools and the makerspace and that as such it involves large budgets.
Nigel Coutts

Why such a rapid pace of change? - The Learner's Way - 14 views

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    I am currently reading "Thank you for being late: An optimist's guide to thriving in the age of accelerations" and have found in this the answer to these questions. In essence we are confronting two types of change, one that we have always faced and one that is unique to our current times. 
Nigel Coutts

Avoiding Assessment Mistakes - The Learner's Way - 56 views

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    Assessment is arguably the piece of the learning cycle we get most wrong. Whether looked at from the perspective of the learner, the teacher, the school administrator, the politician or the parent, assessment is misunderstood and poorly utilised as a tool for learning. The importance of changing this situation is only made more salient in light of the countless research studies from the likes of Jon Hattie & Dylan Wiliam that points to the power of effective assessment. So, what are the common mistakes and how might we avoid them?
Nigel Coutts

Reflections from EduTech 2017 - The Learner's Way - 24 views

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    EduTech in Sydney has been a remarkable experience. A grand celebration of education and an energising gathering of educators ready to share stories and make connections. Despite the rainy weather some 8000 educators came together in the inspiring new International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour and left two days later with hers full of new ideas and wonderings of what might be the future of education. With many ideas still bubbling away here is a brief list of the key take-aways.
Nigel Coutts

Learning by playing, tinkering and making - The Learner's Way - 41 views

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    Play is a vital tool for learning. It should be vital part of every child's learning; the norm rather than the exception and we leave it behind as we become adults to our own peril. 
Nigel Coutts

The art of modern writing - The Learner's Way - 52 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 - 33 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 - 20 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

Five Great Reads - The Learner's Way - 38 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

Shifting from awareness to action - The Learner's Way - 16 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. 
Dan Bench

Learning in the age of Social Networks - The Learner's Way - 40 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

Why do we teach? - The Learner's Way - 23 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

Striving to preserve Truth - The Learner's Way - 11 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 - 32 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 - 44 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 - 26 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 - 32 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. 
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