20 March 2015

So... What's the Point?

I have repeatedly revisited 'Whats the Point of School' By Guy Claxton over the past 2 years... This text has challenged me to really think about what good learners do.... He outlines in this book 8 dispositions. I think I've got my head around 7 of them... 

1 Powerful learners are curious. Children are born curious and just want to learn.  We are all familiar with the toddlers and their 'whys' questions... They wonder, they ask and often re-ask because they are not sure they believe the answer or that the answer has gone deep enough to satisfy their answer. 

2 Confident learners have courage. Last week, I asked a child at Shotover if he could do something for me... His reply was heart warming... He said... "I don't know how to that.... YET!" I was in awe of this response. It came without any discussion of growth mindset or goal setting. He just had the tenacity to let me know that he could and would learn it but didn't have it YET! 

3 Powerful learners are good at exploration and investigation How can I help the Years 1-4 that I am working with to find out and gather information? If I can help them to take the time to think carefully and not to jump to conclusions will they be better able to produce evidence? 

4 Powerful learning requires experimentation. Encourage children to have works in progress... They need to know that it is very much okay to make mistakes and to look for ways to shift their thinking/ results... to experiment, adjust and fail on many different levels.... 

5 Powerful learners have imagination. Children are as naturally imaginative as they are curious. We need to ensure that they can explore the possibilities. (I love how our school vision sits here) Children need to know that they can grow ideas by making links to past learning and make connections to what they have learnt in the past. 

6 Powerful learners know the virtue of sociability. Children are happy collaborating,sharing and challenging ideas. In an ideal learning environment children enjoy working in groups, solving problems, sharing their opinions and getting feedback. One of the things that I have become very aware of is adults' understanding/ and definition of collaboration. I challenge you to ask 3 adults for their definition of collaboration and see if they are consistent.... 

7 Powerful learners are reflective. Firstly, can our SPS define the difference between thinking and reflection? If they are reflecting, I would hope they can step back and identify their own progress. I'd hope that they self aware, able to talk about their learning and to continually 'grow their learning power'.

How can we grow the learning beliefs in our school and with our community? How can we ensure that the learning beliefs are just a part of what we do and that our community is on board?