Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘learning environments’

The classroom. We can all picture it. The desks, the boards at the front, the cupboard at the back. Asked to draw a classroom almost all of us would have a similar sketch.

As I have visited numerous classes not held in traditional classrooms this fall I have been struck how different they feel.  Just the act of moving a class away from a traditional classroom creates such a different feeling.  And the act of learning away from school is very powerful.  And there can be many factors at play, but in each of the more than 15 classes I have visited not in rooms in schools, I have found all the students to be universally engaged in their experiences.

I have been struck by how students rise to the level of their location.  In visiting the Environmental Science students who meet at the Centre for Aquaculture & Environmental Research (Federal Government site) the students climb to the level of the real scientists. The students are doing real work, alongside professionals doing real work.  Often schools can feel quite simulated, with the efforts to emulate real world work, but the location helps the work and the students rise up to think and work differently.

I am also struck by the various sports and arts academy programs how a more focused environment can be so helpful.  Whether it was field hockey on the turf, baseball in the batting cages, or dance and ballet in the community studio there is just a different feeling when you are in the community.  It feels more natural.  Students seem more focused.

We often talk about the power of field trips, work experience and other constructs we have to get students out beyond the traditional classrooms, to rub shoulders with professionals in their area of study and gain “real world” experiences.  And when you speak with graduates, it is very often these opportunities they remember.

Of course it is not possible for all schooling to take place outside of traditional classes but giving more students more of these kind of experiences is a really positive move.  All of the sudden we no longer solely equate learning with classrooms.  Learning is more about experiences with teachers and fellow students in a variety of settings.

Read Full Post »

shift

Clearly you can’t change one part of the education system in isolation.  This is one of the great challenges we face in British Columbia – we have new curriculum, but does the assessment still match?  We have been given greater permission from the provincial government to think differently, but have we fully engaged our community in what the “different” would look like?

While it is true one cannot do everything at once, we all need entry points for transformation. First with school and district leaders in our district, and then with Superintendents from across Canada I have recently worked through trying to rank and prioritize these six system drivers:  Shifting Curriculum, Shifting Pedagogies, Shifting Learning Environments, Shifting Assessment, Shifting Governance, Shifting Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement. (click on the graphic below to enlarge)

www.c21canada.org wp content uploads 2015 05 C21 ShiftingMinds 3.pdf

The six items come from Shifting Minds 3.0 – Redefining the Learning Landscape in Canada. I have previously written (Here) about the power and importance of having a national conversation around transformation in education.

I realize it is a bit of a false discussion – you can’t do any of these separate from each other.  In part from being influenced by my local and national colleagues, if we started with one – I would start with pedagogies.

At its core, learning is about the relationship between the teacher and students.  We can have the best curriculum, policies or assessment, but first we need the practices.  As our pedagogies change, our assessment will follow.  And new pedagogies and new assessment will beg for new curriculum and these changes force both shifts in policy and engagement.  And finally our learning environments should reflect our practice so as the practices change the learning environments will follow.

What do you think – if you could start with only one – which one would you select?

Our group of Superintendents from across the country is committed to our own learning starting with shifting pedagogies – it will be interesting to see what we can learn from each others successes and challenges from across the country.

Read Full Post »