I recently re-visited 'The New Pedagogy: Students and Teachers as Learning
Partners' where 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
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.
I think the biggest affirmation that I got from keeping up with Fullan while he was in"In short we have our work cut out for ourselves. At the same time the direction and
New Zealand was when I read this:
nature of change is reasonably clear, while the development and implementation of
solutions is as exciting as it is daunting. What could be a better learning proposition—
high risk, high yield in the context of an unavoidable challenge."
It's going to get messy while we try to piece it all together.