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Nigel Coutts

Focusing on What Matters - From Identifying to Enacting our Big Rocks - The Learner's Way - 9 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

Growth = Mindset + Action - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    Having the right mindset is alone not sufficient for growth. I might talk the talk about a growth mindset and believe I can learn a new skill but unless I back that belief with action, it is just talk.
Nigel Coutts

The Curse of False Expertise - The Learner's Way - 12 views

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    what if our expertise is imagined or false. What if what we think is so, just ain't so. This might be more common than we care to admit, and it is worth considering the source of this difficulty and its implications. 
Nigel Coutts

In Postnormal Times our Students need to be Brave - The Learner's Way - 13 views

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    If we are to cultivate the dispositions required in these times of postnormality and post-truth we need to establish cultures in our classrooms which will allow them to thrive. 
Nigel Coutts

What meal would your team be? - The Learner's Way - 5 views

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    What makes a team truly great? What are the qualities which allow some teams to perform at a high level while others seem trapped? One approach to this question is to consider a team as though they were a meal. Thinking metaphorically, we ask what are the ingredients that make a great team and how might we combine them to produce the best results?
Nigel Coutts

Curiosity as the edge of knowledge phenomenon that drives learning - The Learner's Way - 12 views

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    We are driven by curiosity. It is an innately human quality that has driven us to explore, ask questions, investigate, wonder why and search for a deeper understanding. In a very fundamental way curiosity is the driver of all self-directed learning. It is our desire to find out more, unlock new knowledge and answer our questions (big ones and little ones) that compels us to learn. Sir Ken Robinson famously and provocatively asked "Do Schools Kill Creativity?". The same question might be asked about curiosity.
Nigel Coutts

Rethinking Time to see Education as a Lifelong Journey - Lessons from Blueback - The Le... - 8 views

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    Blueback is a beautiful metaphor for life and particularly of the life we live in schools. When looked at close up, with an eye on the details, the experience of school is one of passing and recurring cycles. When looked at from a distance, with an eye on the whole, there are elements of constancy, the throughlines which bring meaning to our experience and which have as their consequence the residuals of education. 
Nigel Coutts

Letting how we choose to learn inform our teaching - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    Think of a time when you were completely immersed in a learning challenge. A time when you became aware of the need to master a new skill or concept. A situation that took you outside of your comfort zone, when there were times that you became frustrated, when you thought of quitting, downed tools and walked away, but came back time and time again. Maybe it was a problem you had to solve. Maybe it was a challenge you wanted to overcome.
Nigel Coutts

Why we fear data and how our perception can change. - The Learner's Way - 4 views

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    Data occupies a somewhat curious place within education. Mention it to teachers and you tend to get one of two responses. One group will roll their eyes and with great sarcasm how data is "so exciting". The other group responds with something akin to "actually I quite like data" indicating that experience has shown them that they are members of a small group. The question is why do some people find data to be a useful and fascinating tool while others see it as a good method for inducing sleep? 
Nigel Coutts

Towards a pedagogy for life-worthy learning - The Learner's Way - 14 views

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    In the contemporary classroom, there is much greater consideration of what the learner does in partnership with their teacher so that they develop the capacity to learn. Classroom routines and structures are designed to engage the learner in a rich process of dialogical learning. 
Nigel Coutts

The power of powerful ideas shared simply - The Learner's Way - 15 views

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    Some statements stand out in your memory for the power with which they resonate through you mind. I recall the first time I encountered the question posed by Alan November "Who owns the learning?" on the cover of his book of the same name. In four words, Alan poses a question that strikes at the heart of education and encourages us to re-think our approach. If we believe that the learner should own the learning, what are the implications of this for our teaching? Like a stone dropped on the surface of a calm pond, the ripples from a powerful idea spread, expand and gain strength. 
Nigel Coutts

Enhancing the power of our reflective practice - The Learner's Way - 18 views

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    "We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience." ― John Dewey These words by John Dewey point to a truth about learning that is often forgotten. Experience alone is not sufficient for true learning to occur; reflection is an essential part of the process and our failure to include time for this is why our learning often does not stick.
Nigel Coutts

Schools are made of People - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    Schools are made of people. Schools are all about people. Schools are made from the connections between people. Schools exist to serve people and make the lives of all people better.
Nigel Coutts

Debating false dichotomies: a new front in the education wars - The Learner's Way - 8 views

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    Sometimes, it seems everyone who ever went to school is an expert on education and has a plan to make it better. Actual teaching experience, years of professional learning and formal training are all easily swept aside. The result is an ongoing dialog around what schools should do, what teachers need to do more of or less of and how the academic success of the nation is linked to strategy x or y.
Nigel Coutts

The learner's role in their search for learning - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    Rather than expecting to be immersed in learning that shines a light on the path forward the notion of searching for driftwood that suits the learner's needs is very empowering. It requires an imagining of learning as a very active process where the learner is aware of their context, their current understanding and what they might need to move forward. It demands a conscious practice of reflection and a disposition towards taking charge of one's learning. It is a very agentic view where learning is something that you do, not something that happens to you. 
Nigel Coutts

What might our children most need from Education? - The Learner's Way - 11 views

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    In these times of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA), in this Post Truth era, what do our children most need from their education? How do we best prepare them for their future?
Nigel Coutts

A stable foundation makes change possible - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    The foundational stability of schools might be our greatest strength.Getting the fundamentals right and protecting them during change efforts is essential. 
Nigel Coutts

Raising Mindset Awareness is a Challenging Endeavour - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    Our efforts to enculturate a Growth Mindset or Mindset Awareness are not wasted but the process needs to be understood as complex and demands a multifaceted action plan if it is to produce results.
Nigel Coutts

Overwhelmed by the constant pace of change - The Learner's Way - 15 views

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    Teaching is undoubtedly a busy profession and one where the end of the to do list seems to be forever located in a galaxy far far away. There is always more to be done and as each item on the list is ticked off, three, four or more seem to have appeared. If we ever do get close to the end, we find ourselves reflecting on what we have achieved and the many ways in which it might be improved. 
Nigel Coutts

Thinking in the Wild - Thinking routines beyond the classroom - The Learner's Way - 21 views

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    Despite this being a 'thinking' conference, despite us all being advocates for structured and scaffolded models of thinking, not one group had applied any thinking routines, utilised a collaborative planning protocol or talked about applying an inquiry model or design thinking cycle. It wasn't that we didn't know about them. It wasn't that we don't know how to use them. It wasn't that we don't value them. We had all the knowledge we could desire on the how to and the why of a broad set of thinking tools and anyone of these would have enhanced the process, but we did not use any of them. Why was this the case and what does this reveal about our teaching of these methods to our students?
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