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Nigel Coutts

Why do we teach? - The Learner's Way - 20 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 - 24 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

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

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. 
Nigel Coutts

Learning to learn with a MakerSpace - The Learner's Way - 43 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.
Nigel Coutts

Engaged by, in and with learnng - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    As teachers we hope our lessons are engaging and that our students are engaged. We understand that positive learning experiences are more likely to occur when we are engaged cognitively and affectively by what we are doing and that when we are, new ideas and skills are more likely to stick. Engagement is an important consideration in learning and as such it is worth taking time to consider what it means to be engaged and perhaps how we bring the benefits of engagement to our teaching and our learning. 
Nigel Coutts

Holiday Reading List - The Learner's Way - 35 views

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    For those in Australia the end of the teaching year has arrived or is just around the corner. With holidays approaching now might be the perfect time to find a good book to read and reset your thinking ahead of the start of a new year. Here are my favourite reads from this year. 
Nigel Coutts

Playing with Habits of Mind - The Learner's Way - 50 views

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    What are the mindful habits of successful learners and how can an understanding of these habits help us better achieve our learning goals? This is the question Art Costa Bena Kallick set out to answer with their study of the Habits of Mind. In 'Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind' Costa and Kallick identify sixteen habits which when utilised promote deeper understanding, unlock creativity, encourage reflective thinking and scaffold problem solving for individuals and groups. 
Nigel Coutts

Learning to love teach meets - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    There is a growing momentum in education driven by a desire to share our practice and learn from our colleagues. Increasingly teachers are finding ways to break free of their classrooms and share their ideas. Collaborations in the interests of unlocking the collective potential of the profession are spreading within and importantly between schools. For many these collaborative endeavours and desires are satisfied by online communities but for many the possibility for a face to face conversation is more alluring.
Nigel Coutts

Politics, Education and Lessons from 2016 - The Learner's Way - 15 views

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    It is difficult to have not noticed that the Presidential Election in the United States of America has been somewhat controversial. The same conclusion can be drawn about 'Brexit'. The implications of these events will keep historians, political analysts and indeed educators busy for many years. Regardless of your political leanings there are genuine implications for educators in these events and a considered response now and in the coming months (even years) will be required. 
Nigel Coutts

Change, culture and Cultural Change in Education - The Learner's Way - 22 views

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     Embedded in the very weave of the organisation, culture is the most difficult aspect of an organisation to change and the hardest form of change to sustain 'That's because transforming a culture requires influencing people's deepest beliefs and most habitual behaviours' (Rogers, Meehan & Tanne 2006 p5). Rogers et al indicate that as little as 10% of all organisations that set out to develop a high performing culture achieve their goal.
Nigel Coutts

The false dichotomy of The want to vs The have - The Learner's Way - 12 views

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    We struggle to achieve balance with so many parts of our lives. We see things in dichotomies and try to weigh one against the other believing that we must give time to one and not the other. This tendency to see things in often false dichotomies leads to the problem of the "want to' vs the 'have to'. Unfortunately, when we are faced with this dilemma we often make a choice in favour of the 'have to' but we chose this option for the wrong reasons.
tedmastin

Organisational Learning - The Learner's Way - 2 views

  • Certain conditions are critical for the establishment and success of a learning organisation and there are parallels here to the practices of effective pedagogy in an inquiry based learning environment. If our goal is to have every member of an organisation contribute to the learning that occurs then we must establish a culture that allows this to occur. Feelings of safety, acceptance of diversity and risk taking must become parts of the culture. In our classes we establish the conditions where our students feel safe sharing their ideas even when they do not conform with the majority. We establish a belief that there are often multiple correct answers and in doing so foster creativity. The same conditions are required in our learning organisations.  Nurturing a learning organisation is a little like nurturing a garden and Tim Brown echoes this sentiment ""It's about nurturing the conditions in which creativity is most likely to happen, That's really about culture, environment, rituals—the sorts of things that give people permission to explore, that encourage open-mindedness, collaboration, experimentation, and risk taking."
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    For schools the concept of a learning organisation should make perfect sense, after all learning is our core business, or it should be. Perhaps that almost three decades after Peter Senge identified the importance of learning within organisations the idea is only now gaining traction in schools tells us something about the approach taken to learning and teaching within schools. With an increased focus on the development of professional learning communities as a response to the complex challenges that emerge from a rapidly changing society, it is worth looking at what a learning organisation requires for success.
smilex3md

How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math - Issue 17: Big Bangs - Nautilus - 2 views

  • By championing the importance of understanding, teachers can inadvertently set their students up for failure as those students blunder in illusions of competence. As one (failing) engineering student recently told me: “I just don’t see how I could have done so poorly. I understood it when you taught it in class.” My student may have thought he’d understood it at the time, and perhaps he did, but he’d never practiced using the concept to truly internalize it. He had not developed any kind of procedural fluency or ability to apply what he thought he understood.
  • Time after time, professors in mathematics and the sciences have told me that building well-ingrained chunks of expertise through practice and repetition was absolutely vital to their success. Understanding doesn’t build fluency; instead, fluency builds understanding. In fact, I believe that true understanding of a complex subject comes only from fluency.
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    "How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math
    Sorry, education reformers, it's still memorization and repetition we need."
Nigel Coutts

Understanding the power of stories - The Learner's Way - 28 views

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    We are the stories that we tell and it is the stories we share which unite us. This was the seed of an idea planted by a day with author, artist, musician and story teller Boori Pryor. Understanding the power that our stories have allows us to better value their role in our lives, to see them as more than recounts of the past or imaginings of the future. Stories should be viewed as the powerful agents that they are with the force to shape who we are as much as we shape them.
Nigel Coutts

Moving past the days of the old school yard - The Learner's Way - 30 views

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    Society confronts educational change in an odd, entirely counter intuitive manner. On one hand we acknowledge that education can and should do a better job of preparing our children for the future while on the other we cling to the models of education that we knew. This led educational writer Will Richardson to state that 'the biggest barrier to rethinking schooling in response to the changing worldscape is our own experience in schools'. Our understandings of what school should be like and our imaginings of what school could be like are so clouded by this experience that even the best evidence for change is overlooked or mistrusted.
Nigel Coutts

Educating for the Unknown - The Learner's Way - 31 views

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    What will tomorrow bring? What will life be like in 2028 as our youngest students of today exit school? What occupations will they enter and what challenges will they face? These are not new questions but with the rate of change in society and the pace at which technology evolves they are questions without clear answers. How then do schools prepare students for this uncertain tomorrow? What shall we teach our children today such that are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of their tomorrow?
Maureen Greenbaum

Sugata Mitra - the professor with his head in the cloud | Education | The Guardian - 16 views

  • “A generation of children has grown up with continuous connectivity to the internet. A few years ago, nobody had a piece of plastic to which they could ask questions and have it answer back. The Greeks spoke of the oracle of Delphi. We’ve created it. People don’t talk to a machine. They talk to a huge collective of people, a kind of hive. Our generation [Mitra is 64] doesn’t see that. We just see a lot of interlinked web pages
  • “Within five years, you will not be able to tell if somebody is consulting the internet or not. The internet will be inside our heads anywhere and at any time. What then will be the value of knowing things? We shall have acquired a new sense. Knowing will have become collective.”
  • if you imagine me and my phone as a single entity, yes. Very soon, asking somebody to read without their phone will be like telling them to read without their glasses.”
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  • Twenty children are asked a “big question” such as “Why do we learn history?”, “Is the universe infinite?”, “Should children ever go to prison?” or “How do bees make honey?” They are then left to find the answers using five computers. The ratio of four children to one computer is deliberate: Mitra insists that the children must collaborate. “There should be chaos, noise, discussion and running about,” he says.
  • . Year 4 children (aged eight to nine) were given questions from GCSE physics and biology papers. After using their Sole computers for 45 minutes, their average test scores on three sets of questions were 25%, 26% and 13%. Three months later – the school having taught nothing on these subjects in the interim – they were tested again, individually and without warning. The scores rose to 57%, 80% and 16% respectively, suggesting the children continued researching the questions in their own time.
  • he says the main benefit of his methods is that children’s self-confidence increases so that they challenge adult perceptions.
  • the propositions that children can benefit from collaborative learning and that banning internet use from exams will get trickier, to the point where it may prove futile. It’s worth remembering that new technologies nearly always deliver less than we expect at first and far more than we expect later on, often in unexpected ways.
Nigel Coutts

Tinkering with Old Technology - The Learner's Way - 27 views

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    As technology evolves and its inner workings increasingly disappear from view, replaced with solid-state parts hidden by glass, aluminium and plastic, our understanding of what makes the world operate is similarly impeded. When machinery from just a few decades ago is viewed a world of moving parts, linkages, cogs and levers is revealed. These mechanical objects contain an inherent beauty and inspire curiosity in ways that modern devices with their pristine surfaces and simplified design language do not. Opportunities to explore devices from the past open our eyes and lead us to new questions of how our devices function, how machines do the jobs we need them to do and how engineers solve problems.
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