Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Are we being responsive?

One of the challenges to the "mental model" teachers and leaders have is that staff should be very well planned. My question to this is, "how is this possible?"

If we are to be truly responsive to the needs of our students we cannot be over planned.

When designing immersion, I believe you can be strategic in what you design for students to help them develop a deeper understanding of the learning, eg if you have a science based immersion, the teach the students what a good procedure is, and why they need to know.

The link between the why and the how needs to be strong for students to retain that knowledge.

The real purpose for learning needs to be at the heart of what you are sharing with students.

Learning being linked/blended is important. Jane Gilbert talks of the fact that, "learning cannot be codified into disciplines." And yet, schools often run timetables that say maths, reading, writing. Isn't it all learning?

At Hobsonville Point, I ask staff firstly to design learning, not plan. I ask them to think about the natural links between a big concept, the dispositions we want our students to grow and then create clear connections to the NZC learning areas.

The result is a responsive learning design with a mix of just in time learning and learning designed for the immediate future needs of the students based around a real purpose.

Understanding, from a position of leadership, that staff will be on this journey at different rates is important. Knowing that the journey from novice to expert will be a challenge. Knowing the importance of 'rule governed behaviour' (scaffolding) in terms of providing support for staff on that journey. Leading staff to have PPK (Personal Practical Knowledge) means that you can watch the magic happen.

For me, it is a huge amount of fun watching staff challenge their mental model of planning and think responsive design instead.

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