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Nigel Coutts

Striving to preserve Truth - The Learner's Way - 6 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 - 31 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. 
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

Shaping the Curriculum - Exploring Integration - The Learner's Way - 17 views

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    After two days of talking about curriculum, integration, STEM, STEAM and HASS I am left with more questions than I started with. In some respects, the concept of curriculum integration is simple. It is after all something that Primary teachers almost take for granted. But for Senior and Tertiary educators the question of curriculum integration is inherently complex. At all levels questions emerge of what curriculum integration might achieve, what purposes it serves, what it could and should look like and how it should be supported by curriculum planners. In the current climate, with its debate around the role of education within an innovation economy, shaped by technology and confronting demands for a STEAM enabled workforce the shape of our curriculum is under pressure. 
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.
Nigel Coutts

Valuing and responding to resistance to change - The Learner's Way - 28 views

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    Change is something that we fear or embrace. It is widely considered as the one constant in our lives. For education at present we face a deluge of reports that the pace of change shall only accelerate and its scale become more absolute. No wonder then that many teachers feel now is a good time for a move out of the profession. For others the changing face of education is seen as bringing exciting new possibilities wrapped in engaging challenges. Regardless of how reliable predictions for change may prove to be it is worth considering how individuals and groups respond to it.
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

Delivering on the promise of STEAM - The Learner's Way - 39 views

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    The challenge is to ensure that students within a STEAM programme are better prepared than they might be if they studied the disciplines in isolation and that in seeking to integrate diverse fields we do not weaken the efficacy of one for the inclusion of another.
Nigel Coutts

Making the most of opportunities for thinking - The Learner's Way - 27 views

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    What should our goal for student thinking be? How do we scaffold student thinking in ways that are meaningful while developing autonomy and encouraging students to think effectively when we are not there? What would success with thinking strategies look like? These were the challenging questions that Mark Church presented to teachers at the most recent 'Cultures of Thinking Teach Meet' hosted by Masada College.
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?
Nigel Coutts

The rewards of highly collaborative teams - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    Not that long ago I was a writer of interesting and engaging educational programmes. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. The programmes that I wrote and shared with a team of teachers were generally well accepted and the feedback offered was always politely positive. I enjoyed writing these programmes but in recent times I have enjoyed even more stepping away from this process and in doing so empowering the team of teachers that I learn with. The programmes that this team produces far exceed the quality I could ever have hoped to produce but more importantly the students are benefiting from their experience of highly engaged and thus engaging teachers.
Nigel Coutts

The little things that make a difference - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    In teaching it is often the little things we do on a daily basis that have the largest cumulative effect. While the events, festivals, camps and more spectacular lessons may stand out in our memories these moments have less overall impact across the time that our students spend in our company. Getting these little details right however is a complex business that demands we bring our best to every interaction, every lesson and every opportunity we have to shape the minds and dispositions of our learners. The result is that there are no easy lessons, no easy days.
Nigel Coutts

Assessment A Powerful messaging system - The Learner's Way - 61 views

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     The role of assessment has always played its part but it is a role that is changing in the present global climate and understanding this shift is important for educators.
Nigel Coutts

Developing and Maintaining a Growth Mindset - The Learner's Way - 90 views

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    For educators, parents and learners Carol Dweck's research on the benefits of a Growth Mindset is naturally appealing. Those who have a growth mindset achieve better results than those who don't, are more resilient and accept challenge willingly. After two years of incorporating a growth mindset philosophy we are finding that the reality of shifting a student's disposition away from a fixed mindset and then maintaining a growth mindset is significantly more complex than at first imagined.
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