It is high time, we as modern learners, leaders of learning, instructional leaders turn words into action to reimagine and re-engineer the different aspects of teaching and learning to ensure we are equipping the next generation to not just survive but to thrive in an unknown future. Remember the old adage? “Curiosity killed the cat.” Well, there is a new paradigm where lack of curiosity will spell doom for learners. Learners who are curious are powerful learners and they set sail on their own learning adventure discovering many learning opportunities along the way.
Here is a 3-step process I have “engineered” as part of my teaching and learning system to get myself and my learners to our objective.
Step 1 – I co-developed the objectives with my students
Employing student voice and choice I engaged my students in the process of setting the objectives for the year. In other words, creating a visual of where they’ll want to be by the end of the year as learners. This is so powerful because there is a buy-in and allows them to take ownership of their learning. The objectives or vision creates a clear pathway to allow the inquiry process that seeks to achieve it. It is worth noting that my learners and I constantly refer to our objectives to help us stay on track.
Step 2 – Developing key knowledge and success skills
This step is where I am honest with my students about the whole process. Our vision can only be achieved when they gain the necessary foundational skills such as numeracy, literacy, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creative (4C’s) and problem solving skills. The hard work and fun can also take place in this step. I designed the formative tasks of the overall driving question to encourage various activities and inquiry which allow the development of key knowledge and success skills. It important to develop these skills while students are working towards creating solutions for the driving question. This ensures authenticity of the learning and your students are likely to enjoy rather than endure the learning process.
Step 3 – Creating the atmosphere for purposeful learning
An inviting learning environment is one of the key elements to achieve your learning intentions. In my current teaching role where I work with 22 students from 6 different schools, being intentional and strategic about building an atmosphere and culture where students are assured they belong is essential for them to succeed. In my experience when students gain a sense of belonging, they become confident and you all know what you can achieve with a confident student!
It goes without saying, you must work alongside your students in the learning process. Always remember you are a learner first. As a leader of learning you will achieve your objectives set with your students if you are fully immersed in the learning experience.
In my next blog I’ll share specifically the challenges with my current class and how I am using future focused learning strategies to address them.
To learn more about the Wanago Program at UTS, contact Lisa.Aitken@uts.edu.au