September 18, 2011
I’m not sure if it is just me, or if it something that other people are noticing now too. Sometime ago for me, early 2000s, we were exploring how children learn, pushing the boundaries about the way we teach and taking note of theories of learning. We probed children’s thinking, questioned them for understanding and sought multiple ways of knowing our students and helped them know themselves as learners too.
There has been much systemic work over recent years about what good teaching is which has overall supported schools in developing more consistent approaches to learning, and as a result reduced the divide between classroom to classroom practice. This has been happening in areas such as Literacy, Numeracy and science. As a result there have been many improvements in student achievement across my region, as represented by national and state data.
More recently now, there has been, what I believe, a re-emergence of the desire to learn more about learning. Exploring thinking and meta-cognition to enhance the learning experience and achieve intellectual engagement is something that is becoming, I hope, a new direction of professional learning. My studies in the Masters of School Leadership have been fabulous for bringing much of this thinking back to the forefront. What I am excited about, is that in my own professional learning networks, this too is being discussed and highlighted more.
Today I listened to Howard Gardner speak about the new edition of his 1991 book, The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach, looking at school reform from the perspective of cognitive science at Learn Central. What resonated with me was the notion of misconceptions and the difficulty children have in being able to apply and transfer the material learnt in school to other situations or problems. In other words, are they learning for the test or for understanding?
The recording of the talk on Learn Central is here.
Click on the picture of Gardner to read his bio.
I am curious to know what others are noticing, if anything, about the move in emphasis, especially for professional learning. I also now wonder if ICT will be embraced more as a means of learning and achieving understanding. Again a throw back to the early 2000s (for me)!