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Nigel Coutts

Teacher Agency vs The Collective Voice - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    With good reason, much is made of learner agency but the concept of teacher agency is important too. If we hope to build a profession in which we are all self-navigating life-long learners, we must acknowledge the role that teacher agency plays. 
Nigel Coutts

More than knowing the right answer - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    Being wise is about so much more than knowing the right answer. Indeed, it can be argued that knowing the right answer can be an obstacle to learning and understanding. As we move further into times where knowledge is ubiquitous and yet truth is increasingly hard to find, merely knowing the right answer can be an impediment. 
Nigel Coutts

Our curious ideas about intelligence - The Learner's Way - 19 views

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    We have some strange ideas about intelligence, many of them are wrong. Some of our ideas can have a damaging effect on the people we label as intelligent. When we look at some of the research behind intelligence we find that our assumptions based on what we were once told about it need to be updated. 
Nigel Coutts

Wrapped in Cognitive Cotton Wool - The Learner's Way - 18 views

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    The dangers of making learning so safe and so easy it lacks any real sense of challenge. When we do this we deny our learners the opportunities they need to learn from mistakes and grow their minds. 
Nigel Coutts

Making the best use of our time with Google Forms - The Learner's Way - 37 views

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    Teachers are a busy lot. We are a profession whose workload seems to be forever on the rise and as much as you do, there is always more to be done, more to be learned, new challenges to be surmounted and exciting new opportunities to be explored. For all of this it is important to make the most efficient use of the tools we have at our disposal. Google Forms can help. 
Nigel Coutts

Home Delivered vs Home Cooked Learning - Who's in the driver's seat? - The Learner's Way - 9 views

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    Do you like your learning 'home delivered' or do you prefer it to be 'home cooked'? Is learning something that you are the driver of or is learning something that happens to you? 
Nigel Coutts

Taking the time to think - The Learner's Way - 22 views

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    It seems that we never have enough of it and the result is a feeling of constant pressure to do things quickly. As a result, we fall into a pattern of making quick decisions, with incomplete information and then proceed to take hasty action and seek short cuts. Our busy lives, the business of those around us, the schedules we set ourselves and the constant stream of distractions and interruptions ensure we have very little time to do things well and we never seem to get things done. 
Nigel Coutts

A Question of Scale: Meeting a Global Need - The Learner's Way - 9 views

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    I recently spent ten days in Cambodia accompanying students on a service trip where they developed their cultural understanding and spent time improving the environment of a local school. While laying pavers and digging a ditch I had a chance to reflect on the difficulties facing education in a country like this. I came away with questions, wondering and few answers. 
Nigel Coutts

Finding a new paradise for education in times of chaos - The Learner's Way - 12 views

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    Through any lens schools are complex places. A melting pot of human, social, political, economic, technological, physical and philosophical tensions. At once the stronghold of our cultural traditions and facilitators of our future wellbeing, schools serve as pillars of stability constructed at the event horizon between our now and our tomorrow. Perhaps at this point in time more than ever is this tension between the role that schools play in indoctrinating our youth into the ways of society at odds with the imperative to prepare them for their futures.
Nigel Coutts

Educational Disadvantage - Socio-economic Status and Education Pt 3 - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    Pedagogy and curriculum that engages students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and is deemed personally relevant to the lives they live, are seen as important factors towards equality of outcome by Wrench, Hammond, McCallum and Price (2012). Their research involved designing a curriculum and pedagogy that would be highly engaging to students of low-socioeconomic status. 'The interventions involved curriculum redesigns that set meaningful, challenging learning task(s) (culminating in high quality learning products); strong connection to student life-worlds; and a performative expectation for student learning.' (Wrench et al 2012 p934)
Nigel Coutts

Educational Disadvantage - Socio-economic Status and Education Pt 2 - The Learner's Way - 9 views

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    An unavoidable element of the discourse around educational disadvantage or equality is how we define and assess equality. One definition will see this as being in equality of access to education, funding for education and/or resources. Such an approach has largely been seen in government funding models however subtle variations on this theme have resulted in significant differences in resulting policies.
Nigel Coutts

Educational Disadvantage - Socio-economic Status & Education Pt 1 - The Learner's Way - 3 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 - 21 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 - 57 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 - 53 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. 
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