Ever since I began working at Chalfonts Community College I have been impressed by the role the school plays in teacher development. Currently, we offer teacher training placements for ITT students; an impressive middle-leader programme; funding and support for teachers who wish to complete Masters level study; and this year we were invited to be a pert of the Hearts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance.
On Monday, we will be convening with St Clement Danes School and Parmiter’s School for our first TSA Conference. During the morning we will be working in departmental teams, sharing best practice and forging links for the future. I am really looking forward to working with the other English departments and I hope that my team get a lot out of the day.
Our time together begins with an opportunity to present our vision for Key Stage Three, following the introduction of the new National Curriculum. In all honesty, we have not made significant changes to what we have been doing over the last two years. Many of the key areas of learning that have been emphasised in the new NC were already priorities in our programme of study, having sought to create a greater degree of continuity between Key Stage Three and Four.
However, putting this presentation together has been a useful process. And I am looking forward to presenting it, along side Joanna Green (Deputy Leader for English), tomorrow.
*The slides can be viewed in full screen and you can access speaker notes by clicking on the cog. If you have any questions please leave a comment.
As mentioned in a previous post, today I am running a workshop on ‘Independent Learning’ at The Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference in Berkhamsted.
‘Leashes not required’ – In(ter)dependent Learning Inside and Outside the Secondary School Classroom
Spoon-feeding and teach-to-the-test culture seem to pervade the secondary school classroom, as teachers strive to meet increasingly demanding targets. This workshop will demonstrate that such approaches are not necessary; that adopting a strategy that encourages independence, critical and creative thinking; and values the use of new technologies produces equally outstanding results. The workshop will share both the guiding principles on which such an approach is built and also give specific examples of what in(ter)dependent learning is like in practice.
The slides have been written in HTML5 and are available here: ‘Leashes not required’ – Workshop.
* Hover over the thumbnails to view speaker notes and links (cmd/ctrl click to open in a new tab). Click on any of the thumbnails to view the slides in full size.
[Update: 18.03.13] Depending on the device/screen size you are using to look at the presentation, the speaker notes may not be that easy to navigate. As such, I have added them (unedited) below…
‘Leashes not required’ – Workshop – Speaker Notes
01 – Title Slide
- Educator working with 14-18 year olds at Chalfonts Community College in Buckinghamshire
- Find me on Twitter: @jamesmichie / Blog: jamesmichie.com/blog
- Introduce students and explain their role in the workshop
- ‘Leashes not required’ cc Kevin McLaughlin
02 – What is Independent Learning?
- I’ve arrived at this definition through innovating in the classroom & research, as part of an M.Ed
- You might see it as being unrealistic…but I disagree. I think that all learners regardless of age or ability can learn to be more independent
- Perhaps, the most important factor is acknowledging that independent learning is not about independence at all. It is about developing interdependence.
03 – Discovery
- When we’re born we learn through discovery and play… we have freedom. However, as we move through the stages of systematised education our independence is stripped away.
04 – Systematised Education
- Systematised education is like Disneyland. It is exciting, fun even but has become a slick, well-oiled machine where ‘teach to the test’ dominates. Learning is placed into neat little boxes, organised into linear, incremental chunks.
05 – Learning is Messy
- The problem is, learning is not liner. It’s not orderly.
- Learning is messy!
- It’s a tangled web of disconnected strands that over time connect together…
- To prepare young people to become life long learners we need to stop teaching to the test, embrace the mess and rediscover learning through discovery.
06 – Toward Independence
- Some learners need to be allowed to be independent.
- Some learners need to be encouraged.
- Some learners need to be dragged, kicking and screaming.
07 – Skills
- Developing critical skills:
08 – Friction
- I start this journey towards independence by creating friction…
- Spelling (Student: “Sir, how do you spell…? “Me: Google it!”)
- Breaking the rules – mobile phones are allowed in my classroom
- Make them figure it out for themselves; encourage them to form support networks that are not you!
09 – Toward In(ter)dependence
- Collaborating, interacting, sharing…
- AfL – developing skills in peer and self-assessment.
10 – Network
- Embracing connectivist principles… developing ‘Learning Networks’
- I use Twitter with my students, the dialogue continues beyond the classroom
- They know they can email when they need help
- Lines of communication are ‘open’
- I’m a learner too… were in this together
- I seek to give students a voice through: their blogging…
- Listening to them
- Surveys and feedback
11 – Tools
12 – Toward Peeragogy
- Howard Rheingold coined the term ‘peeragogy’. The learning is developed collaboratively by the learners…
- Put students in control
- Share, discuss and have the students develop the learning objectives and success criteria
- Empower them in their learning – What do I need to learn? Why? How?
13 – 3 Tenets
- When I saw slide 15 from this presentation by Catherine Cronin, I realised it described the approach I have been developing within and beyond my classroom over the last three years.
- To embrace openness, networks, and choice.
14 – Horses Mouth
- Break out session. Students working with a group of teachers, discussing their experiences of in(ter)dependent learning.
- Opportunity for any arrising questions to be answered.
15 – Changing Roles
- Empowering learners to take ownership of their own learning; to develop the skills and characteristics of a life-long learner.
- Placing emphasis on creative thinking, sharing, collaboration, creation and reflection.
16 – Critical Skills 101
- Dissertation for M.Ed. – “To what extent can virtual courses support the development of independent learning beyond ‘real time’ curriculum delivery?”
- #crit101 – A MOOC aimed at towards 14-18 year-olds.
- Built on the three tenets – “openness ~ social media ~ student voice/choice”.
- Hard and soft skills being developed as the building blocks of effective in(ter)dependent learning.
17 – Leashes not required
- In conclusion, I’m saying: take the leashes off, step down from the pulpit, & redefine your role.
- I’m a learner too
- Each year I embark on a journey of discovery with my classes
- I can’t imagine doing it any other way
18 – Reflection
- Time for participants to reflect and share a way that they will encourage their students to be more in(ter)dependent.
Tomorrow, I will be presenting (virtually) at TeachMeet Tees 12. Following on from TeachMeet Oxford last week, I have made a few alterations to my presentation on Independent Learning. It is a little leaner; with greater emphasis on strategies and approaches to encouraging learner independence.
Here are the revised slides. Click on the cog to access speaker notes.
To see version 1, as well as a selection of related blog posts and articles (including my M.Ed. research), follow this link: TeachMeet Oxford: ‘Leashes not required’.
Having spent a considerable amount of time evangelising AfL & Google Docs, I felt it was time to turn my attention towards another topic: Independent Learning. I completed an M.Ed module earlier in the year and it is going to feature significantly in my dissertation.
Therefore, I decided to pull together some of the most valuable (IMO) arguments and ideas I have encountered so far; alongside some of the strategies and tools that I have been using with my students; seeking to help them become more independent learners.
I’m giving the presentation it’s maiden run at TeachMeet Oxford this evening. Here are the slides, click the cog to access my speaker notes.
I will be (virtually) attending and speaking at #TMRoehampton this coming Tuesday. I intend to give an update on my current thinking, re: AFL and Google Docs. In preparation I created a new series of slides to support my talk. They can be viewed below, along with some useful, related links.