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mrskirbyrules
Nov 23, 2022
In Education Forum
It has been a welcome challenge to continue to work with New Metrics Research Partners to bring new learning ambitions for a contemporary education paradigm to the fore. 'Times are a changing' and the shift in capturing a 360 degree view of students is well and truly in Beta phase in our University of Melbourne partnership 'first-mover' schools. New Metrics Partner Schools Author co-presenting during Parter School Offerings In a recent seminar where all 37 schools came together, my thinking was challenged by a well-respected colleague. He mentioned that whilst we have subject matter experts in our secondary settings, there are no 'experts' with the General Capabilities. I chose to disagree. When we think about how students come to us in Pre-Kindergarten, our students already possess good stores of complex competencies such as those in our College's image below, or as outlined in V9 of ACARA's General Capabilities: Contemporary educators, alongside the first-mover partner schools, already recognise that the ATAR, of which only 10% of students actually need, is due to soon expire. The need for a Learner Profile which hosts students' credentials, portfolio of projects and coursework, and a substantial overview of complex competencies (aka 21st Century Skills, dispositions, or general capabilities), has generated a sense of urgency. As the race to prepare our school graduates with the skills they will need to flourish in their post-school lives, I suggest that we start to recognise and nurture the same competencies that are already present in Kindergarten. This should be our focus as we begin to reimagine a more authentic, relevant, and contemporary education experience for our students. We already know that the current educational paradigm erodes these skills and competencies as students progress through the current model of 'schooling'. For instance, we see questioning in Kindergarten which challenges the status quo, such as 'Why doesn't anyone visit the moon anymore?', to questions in Stages 5 and 6 that concentrate on logistics, like, 'When is this due? What's the word count? How many slides?" Imagine if we could nurture these innate competencies early, rather than scrambling at the end to (re)develop them...
'Reforming' to a Competencies Curriculum content media
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mrskirbyrules
May 10, 2022
In Education Forum
Recently, I have had some fairly robust discussions with my peers around success criteria and rubrics. I would suggest that it is impossible to generate a rubric from Success Criteria. I suggest that rigorous success criteria comprises levels of complexity, not levels of achievement. We ended up fast tracking down a rabbit hole, evaluating the effectiveness of rubrics. Initially, I contested that rubrics constrain activity. Yes, they are transparent and provide clarity of expectations for a task. But to what extent do rubrics promote learning and enduring understandings? In my experience, students tend to simply follow the rubric, rather than work with it. I like Bearman and Ajjjawi's (2019) analogy, 'When is a rubric a recipe for success, or a tool for gaming the system?' (p. 5) The article has changed my thinking. I do now concur that a great rubric, one that centres on the learning can provide opportunities for students to communicate, collaborate, think critically and creatively, to problem solve, and to understand themselves as learners. What this does though, is provide another invitation to enter another rabbit hole, 'When do we adjust our pedagogies that are associated with our assessment criteria?'
The paradox of the rubric; promoting and constraining learning. content media
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mrskirbyrules
Feb 25, 2022
In Education Forum
This quote from Charles Leadbeater and the Student Agency Lab's report, 'Learning on Purpose' (February, 2022, p. 3) resonates: "It is easy to agree in principle that learning should develop a powerful sense of agency. It is much harder to do that in practice, in schools which have to work within a system that is ultimately driven by exam results. In this setting it is all too easy to marginalise student agency as an add-on, to turn it into a course in design thinking, an entrepreneurship program, or community service." A first step we can all do, and which isn't laborious, is to bring our students to the table when designing teaching and learning, and allow them a voice in the design of assessment tasks. What manifests is palpable reduction in passivity, where students are physically present, but cognitively absent. Learning is transformed, with students as agents in their own learning. I would love to hear your stories of how learner agency is fostered in your schools!
When can students be the protagonists in their own learning? content media
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mrskirbyrules
Feb 10, 2022
In Education Forum
Traditionally, we have prepared our students for what they, or their parents, aspire for work upon graduation. What are you doing in your school to create an identity that's not related to work? How can we all be more intentional when credentialling what it means to be a good human and a lifelong learner who can transition successfully between the 6-8 unknown future careers that our students are predicted to have? Our external stakeholders need to trust innovative and forward thinking schools who are bold and brave enough to challenge the norm and who are taking steps to generate the evidence base upon which others can rely. #rethinkeducation #rethinkingassessment #boundaryhunter
Why do we need to valorise the general capabilities? content media
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mrskirbyrules
Jan 21, 2022
In Education Forum
There's a new buzz word in town and it's causing a bit of a stir. Parents, educators, and universities have recently been expressing concerns that they feel their children or students have fallen behind as a result of remote learning. Worryingly, some universities and industry experts have warned that graduates seem to lack the prerequisite skills required in order to access content, or meet basic level expectations. My intention is not to trivialise these concerns. Besides, I don't have access to data that tells the richer stories across our many and varied settings. However, I question what it is our students really need now, and in the future. I suggest that our goal should be (and already is for many) to foster student agency, creativity, a capacity to collaborate and problem solve. But if students have suffered from a lack of deep learning, motivation, and engagement during remote learning, then surely that would be a more significant 'learning loss' than the inability to access a specific decodable text, or to divide fractions? Maybe as we start a new school year, we could support each other and our students to provide more opportunities for them to develop self-regulation, self-direction, curiosity and drive.
Have you heard about 'Learning Loss'? content media
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mrskirbyrules
Jan 13, 2022
In Education Forum
Arguably, we are on the cusp of educational transformation that will profoundly change all that we have historically done in our classrooms. In terms of learning, the buzz word 'transformational' has been so overused that it is now disaggregated from its denotation. For many educators, 'transforming learning' has involved a little bit of 'reinventing' around the edges. But Michael Nicholas reminds us in 'The little black book of decision making' that true transformation is "what happens when a piece of paper is put in a fire - there is no going back" (p.3). Covid has, quite fortuitously, caused us to rethink education and quite frankly, I believe that there is no going back. The intermittent changes to education that we saw during lockdown has surely restructured the way we consider teaching and learning and what we value in our learners. Nicholas (2017) asks all the right questions, particularly, "How will you keep up?" (p.3). Nicholas, M (2017). The little black book of decision making. John Wiley & Sons: West Sussex, UK.
When is 'transformation' not just another buzz word? content media
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mrskirbyrules
Jan 13, 2022
In Education Forum
In preparation for a new school year, I was encouraged by a podcast discussion between James Mannion and professor Guy Claxton. It is clear we are riding the wave of educational reform so now is as good a time as ever to rethink our pedagogical approach. We need to fully understand that 'how' and 'what' we teach has a significant impact on our students. Do we inadvertently foster an addiction for right answers, and a paralysing fear of making mistakes? Or, do we teach the skills required to 'learn how to learn'? How do you know what the main effects AND side effects of your teaching are? For example, if supporting reluctant readers, does our selection of texts and pedagogical approach have the main effect of improved results? Is the side effect of the intervention a love of reading? Is the main effect of drill in practice in Mathematics improved results? Is the side effect a love of number concepts? Before we answer, we should have data to back it up.
Main Effects v Side Effects of our teaching content media
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mrskirbyrules
Dec 14, 2021
In Education Forum
Differentiation, for many educators, represents the Holy Grail of teaching and learning. To clarify, Sparks (2015) notes: “Differentiated instruction” [is] the process of identifying students’ individual learning strengths, needs, and interests and adapting lessons to match them". Most commonly, it has been compared to the Response to Intervention model whereby teachers adapt their instructional strategies in response to current levels of knowledge and understanding. But where the 'rubber hits the road', teachers report the difficulties in 'individualising' instruction in busy, and incredibly diverse, classrooms. Perhaps though, we need to interrogate our current practice and focus on the learning, and not so much the 'doing'. Put simply, if teachers and students have clarity of learning expectations, and opportunities to build surface level understanding, make connections in and between concepts, and then apply that understanding to new and novel situations, then the learning becomes differentiated. In addition, with a culture of learning, students are more inclined to self-select workshops to test misconceptions, extend, and/or consolidate current levels of understanding. When learning is fluid and dynamic, we see engaged and motivated learners who know where they are in their learning, where they are heading, and the next steps needed to get there.
Why 'Differentiation' is still the 'D' word content media
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mrskirbyrules
Dec 13, 2021
In Education Forum
As we inch closer to a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, educational researchers, scholars and educators have felt, and advocate for, a new grammar of schooling. Current discourse in the field is fairly consensual; our education systems need to embrace new learning ambitions, new credentials and new metrics for success. No-one knows whether we can assess the highly desirous general capabilities, nor learner agency but we need to recognise that there is never an evidence base for working out NEW ways of doing things. We know we need to do it. We just need to launch.
Ready...Fire...Aim... content media
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