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Nigel Coutts

Educational Disadvantage - Socio-economic Status & Education Pt 1 - The Learner's Way - 0 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

Project Zero Turns 50 - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    This year is the fiftieth birthday of Harvard's Project Zero, a research project designed to explore the nature of thinking and learning and from this suggest pedagogies which align with what we know about the mind. For its birthday celebration Project Zero shared insights from its five decades of research with presentations from Howard Gardner, David Perkins, Shari Tasman, Steve Seidel and Daniel Wilson. The presentations revealed the changing nature of the work of Project Zero from its early days and focus on arts education to its current position as a research organisation with broad interests across education but with a focus on thinking, understanding and the workings of the mind.
Nigel Coutts

What if? Reflections from the ACSA Conference - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Last week I spent three days thinking about curriculum and all that it means to teaching and learning thanks to the Australian Curriculum Studies Association's biannual conference. It was three days of deeply thoughtful conversation and learning with just the right mix of academic research and ideas for grounded practice straight out of innovative classrooms and schools. With keynotes by Alan Reid, Dan Haesler, Bob Lingard, Robert Randall and Jan Owen combined with Masterclasses from some of Australia's leading educators there was much on offer. The biggest challenge was deciding which workshop you would attend when every session offered such outstanding opportunities.
eachiaa02

Modern Spaces for Contemporary Learning - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Think back to how you felt after the last day you spent at a conference or course. If things went well you probably came out feeling enthused by new ideas but also exhausted and fatigued in ways that you don't after a regular day at work. If the presenters have done their job well and you choose your workshops wisely, the day should have been full of learning that resulted from you having to think. Days like this should work our brains hard and it should be no surprise when we are fatigued by such an experience. - So how might our students be coping?
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    Edu. 554
Nigel Coutts

Destinationitis - Preparing for tomorrow while missing today - The Learner's Way - 0 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

Making Time for Quiet Contemplation - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    In our busy and highly connected lives it can be difficult to find time to slow down, to deliberately and mindfully engage in reflective contemplation. Taking the time to do so can be significant for success, creativity, mental well-being and learning and yet we seem to struggle to commit time to this valuable practice. Schools, in particular seem to offer little time for students to slow down and think, and with the busy lives students lead such time is often entirely absent.
Nigel Coutts

Contemplating the consequences of Constructivism - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Constructivism is one of those ideas we throw around in educational circles without stopping to think about what we mean by it. They are the terms that have multiple meanings, are at once highly technical and common usage and are likely to cause debate and disagreements. Constructivism in particular carries a quantity of baggage with it. It is a term that is appropriated by supporters of educational approaches that are in stark contrast to the opposing view; constructivism vs didactic methods or direct instruction. The question is what are the origins of constructivism and does a belief in this as an approach to understanding learning necessitate an abandonment of direct instruction or is this a false dichotomy?
Nigel Coutts

Sharing our Puzzles of Practice - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Einstein is often quoted as having said "If I have an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." Clearly Einstein understood how to attack puzzling problems. As teachers we face a host of puzzles on a daily basis. Every student we teach, thanks to their idiosyncrasies presents a unique puzzle. The interactions between students further complicates things. Our goals for our learners, their learning needs, the demands of the curriculum, pressures from beyond the classroom all result in puzzles for us to manage and to solve.
Nigel Coutts

Good Reads for Great Assessment - The Learner's Way - 4 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 - 1 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

Asking Why and Why and Why - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    As children, we ask "Why?" a lot. It is a part of childhood, that special time when the many forces acting upon our cognitive development converge around a singular desire to ask "Why". It becomes the central focus of our conversational style, an incessant exclamation into the void which tests the patience of any nearby adult. But asking "Why" offers so much more.
Nigel Coutts

Taking risks outside our comfort zone - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Possibly the most dangerous place to spend too much time is inside your comfort zone. Only when we take a risk and step away from the safety of the familiar and the ways we have always done things do we expose ourselves to new ideas and become open to the possibility of learning and discovery. The trouble is having the confidence to take that first step, to embrace discomfort and become open to the risks that come with trying something new.
Nigel Coutts

Why such a rapid pace of change? - The Learner's Way - 1 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 - 2 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

On the path to creativity - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    The difficulty with creativity is it is not easy and perhaps thanks to our experience of schooling not a natural attribute of many adults. What creativity needs is a process and/or a structure that allows us to bring our intellect to the development of creative solutions.
Nigel Coutts

Learning by playing, tinkering and making - The Learner's Way - 1 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 - 1 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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