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Nigel Coutts

Creativity is a beautiful, messy chaotic thing - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Creativity is often said to be the key to the future. The essentially human attribute that will ensure our utility in a world dominated by automation. It is said to be an essential ingredient in education but it will not be truly learned unless we provide students with opportunities to dive fully into its waters. 
Nigel Coutts

Growth Mindsets in the Great Outdoors - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    chool camps are a wonderful opportunity to observe how our students handle the challenge of a different learning setting. Away from the norms and familiar settings of the classroom, we see students in a different light. For the students, camps are an exciting and for some frightening challenge. For teachers, they are an outstanding assessment tool that should inform our practices long after camp is over. 
Nigel Coutts

Transforming Homework to Home Learning - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    A recent strategy to alter the negative image that homework has built is to re-brand it as "home learning". But is this enough and if we are going to "get it right" what do we need to change besides the name?
Nigel Coutts

Five Great Reads - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    One of the great joys and best strategies for expanding your understanding is to engage with a great book. Fortunately the options available today are immense and electronic options and audio books make access easy and possible wherever you may be. Here is a short list of what I have been reading lately with some brief reflections. 
Nigel Coutts

Understanding the true nature of science - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    As thousands take to the streets as part of a global 'March for Science' it is worth considering the significant role that education has to play. What are the messages we need to send our students about science and what role have schools played in creating the current climate? Now seems like the time to pause and reflect on the place of science in our community and our schools.
Nigel Coutts

Shifting from awareness to action - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    The evidence is mounting and the narrative around education is shifting towards a story centred on long-life skills, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. Success in the future seems to be connected closely to one's capacity to innovate, to problem find and to make strategic decisions when confronted by unique situations for which we have not been specifically prepared. 
Nigel Coutts

What do we need to know? - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    I keep circling back to this question of what do we need to know, or to learn. It comes up so often in conversations around education and is closely connected to what we hope to achieve for our students. It is a question whose answer shapes not only what we teach but how we teach and what we assess. It strikes at the heart of how we perceive the role of education in society and the way we answer it reveals much about our personal philosophy of education. 
Nigel Coutts

What messages are we sending about learning? - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    How can we take more notice of the culture of our classrooms and what it communicates to learners about the value of thinking? 
Nigel Coutts

Learning in the age of Social Networks - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    Learning is a social endeavour. Schools need to understand that for our students the social landscape has changed. Rather than turning away from this reality we need to understand what it means and what our children need to know and learn to safely maximise the opportunities it brings.
Nigel Coutts

Teaching in the 21st Century - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    The consistent message is that we are preparing our students for success in a world very different to that which was the norm only a short time ago. The implications of this change are immense and require a shift in our thinking about what matters most in our classrooms. Such is the pace of change that within any school there will be multiple generations who normalise different perspective on technology and its place in their lives. What becomes clear that the skills we most need within our schools at every level are those which are critical for individuals to be empowered, self-navigating learners. But what does this mean in practical terms?
Nigel Coutts

Understanding understanding and its implications - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    There are terms within education that we use with reckless abandon and as a result cause great levels of confusion. Understanding is one such word and its usage and our 'understanding' of it can have a significant effect on the learning we plan, deliver and assess. With multiple definitions and its broad usage in curriculum documents, philosophies of teaching and learning and as an indicator of the quality or depth of student learning it is a word we should better understand. 
Nigel Coutts

Teaching Dispositions for Learning - The Learner's Way - 1 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

Striving to preserve Truth - The Learner's Way - 0 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 - 1 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 - 1 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 - 0 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

Maker-Centred Learning & STEAM - The Learner's Way - 0 views

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    Making the most of Maker Spaces and STEAM will require professional development and a new mindset for all learners. 
Nigel Coutts

Engaged by, in and with learnng - The Learner's Way - 0 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

Learning vs Work in a Culture of Thinking - The Learner's Way - 2 views

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    Earlier this year a group of teachers I work with explored the 'Eight Cultural Forces' identified by Ron Ritchhart of Harvard's Project Zero. In doing so we decided to focus on our use of the term learning instead of the word work. Our goal was to bring our language choices into the spotlight and explore how a more deliberate focus on learning might alter the culture of our classrooms. Two terms later this focus persists and it is worth reflecting on the effect that this has had.
Nigel Coutts

Playing with Habits of Mind - The Learner's Way - 2 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. 
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