22 April 2015

Partnerships, Pathways, Learning Conversations...

Partnerswhere Michael Fullan identifies a 'tension' in education that is going to 
eventuate in change. He refers to bored students, alienated teachers and the 
'exploding, irresistible and alluring digital world' that grabs the imagination of 
children. Re-reading all of this I am reminded that there is actually a real public 
acceptance that education is on the precipice of 21st Century learning.

Fullan suggested in his report written late 2013, that change is inevitable and 
eminent. He also suggested that the change, when it comes, will be based on: 
deep learning goals, new pedagogies, and technology.

That suggestion resonates with me. My TAI a few years ago culminated 20 
years of teaching inquiries including flexible learning spaces, 20% time, 
student-led learning and it is only recently that the pieces have all begun to fit 
together. I don't think I have ever worked so hard as I worked in that year but 
the outcome was genuine self-directed, engaged learners with a sense of agency 
and ownership of their learning. It was hard and my inquiry still continues to 
be iterative and based on outcomes on learning. But the outcomes show that 
change in my practice had an impact so they are worthwhile to pursue and re-think.

As school systems try to manage this change, Fullan suggests that there is only 
one obvious possibility for schools and that is to revisit  pedagogy, and redefine 
how they operate. Fullan suggests four key strategies:

i)  Irresistibly engage both students and teachers (I believe whanau need to be 

included here)
ii)  Ensure technologies are efficient and easy to use (Maybe BYOB/D is not the 
best option in primary?)
iii)  Make technology ubiquitous (To be ubiquitous, access is paramount: we need 
to know what access our children have from home and perhaps BYOB/D will 
become instrumental to this)
iv)  Ensure learning is rooted in real-life problem solving and inquiry (Meaningful 
learning experiences/ relevant inquiry/ local curriculum)

Fullan suggests that schools  will clearly need significant restructuring to ensure those 

four strategies are able to be utilised to promote deep, purposeful learning.  My own 
inquiry has investigated (and continues to investigate) how I, as the teacher, can best 
work with my students as learning partners, reflecting the concept of Ako - everyone
is a learner, everyone is a teacher.