We Like to Move it - shifting the learning from the front

Pedagogy, Furniture and Growth Mindset

On the move - shifting the learning

Why?

Education has changed - it needed to. No longer is it acceptable to have a one size fits all system, let alone classroom. Students should not have to face the front and receive lessons, which they may already know about. 

We are living in a time which is rapidly changing. To ensure schools, teachers and education keeps up, we too have had to evolve, to adapt, to look closely and honestly at our pedagogy. This is what is happening - it is our journey, not necessarily the final destination. The key - a growth mindset, something we have been working hard in our classroom to nurture.
Go for Green Growth, rather than Fixed Red Mindset

Then

Two years ago, my teaching consisted much more of teacher directed learning. Although I encouraged student voice and choice, still much of the learning was being driven by me. I know there is a time and place for explicit teaching, however, sustainability, let alone student engagement, was not necessarily guaranteed. Furthermore, we need to equip our students to be future focused, and well equipped for the unforeseeable future.
Last year - teaching from the front

Now

During the past year, I have been working on shifting learning from the front. By developing modern learning practice within the four walls of our classroom, we as teachers, are becoming activators. Students regularly reconfigure the furniture to suit their purpose. As a result, I love that every day is different, fluid and flexible. Best of all, the students are engaged, working collaboratively or individually, and ultimately, enjoying English every time.
Student led oral presentations - 'wicked' problems

How?

By sharing best practice, reading educational texts, building a supportive PLN and learning along the way, some of the ways we are adapting include:
1. Obtaining Prior Knowledge
2. Clear, co constructed learning intentions and success criteria
3. Instilling dispositions
4. High Order Thinking 
5. Offering Mini Lessons and individual assistance
6. Ongoing formative feedback/forward
7. Collaboration, Curiosity, Creativity
8. Utilising technology to enhance learning
9. Personalising learning - student choice & voice
Students add their names / requests, or work together to gain a better understanding
Using design thinking to convey deeper understanding or create new ways of thinking
Students leading their own learning 

Know thy Learner - Engage, Connect, Learn

A new year, a blank canvas. Excited, enthusiastic ako enter the classroom,  filled with hopes, dreams and passions. Perhaps instead, they bring in fears, bad previous experiences and a lack of motivation. However, our goal as activators, rather than facilitator, a term I have adopted from Hattie, must be to enhance these passions and enthusiasm, to empower, motivate and encourage them to fly.

Taking the time to really get to know your learners, I believe, is the most valuable investment of all. Students who feel connected, valued and listened to are much more likely to be engaged, enthusiastic and willing to learn. A win win for all.

Term 1 2014 - getting to know each other

Ideally we learn each other's names first - through various icebreaker activities. Using a beach ball, we head outside and have mini competitions - record breaking hits to interact, collaborate and show learning does not just happen inside the classroom. Further tasks include:
- Letter to teacher OR letter to future self - sealed, ready to open at the end of Year 13
- DO NOW activities - word builders, vocab, quizzles (ongoing)
- PAT Reading Comprehension / Vocabulary Data - students created SMART goals
- easTTle reading tests
- Three Way Conferencing preparation: TRUMP / Goal Setting

Another important task I reintroduced this year, was the Class Treaty, created and designed for the students, by the students. Their first task was to brainstorm, in groups, an ideal teacher and student. Likewise, their likes and dislikes in English. From there, students were able to negotiate the priorities for their class to design a treaty for us all to sign and abide by. Great timing as by then, Waitangi Day is upon us - perfect teachable moment.

Students set up expectations first

Taking the task seriously - student engagement and ownership

Defining the task - blended learning

An ideal student...
An ideal teacher...
English - some of our likes and dislikes
Collaborating to ensure that their Treaty reflect them
Each Class has their own signed Treaty   

For Fun

I like to bring the Key Competencies to life; to make them meaningful and applicable, I bring in bags of Minties ("it's moments like these"), dish them out and we have a competition. Who will create the longest wrapper? How? 
Over the years, I have seen the rippers, the cutters, the giver uppers, the competitors and the winners. All in all, though, they DO know and relate to TRUMP! (plus throw in a few dispositions - maybe another post).


Does it Work?

Taking the time to ensure that you know your ako certainly DOES work. By investing time into them, they are prepared to invest time in their studies and their future. I guess the best way to know for sure though, is to ASK your ako. I feel a Google Form being created... 
Watch this space.