Yesterday we had a Kaizen Network meeting with the principals of two of our partner schools in Australia. We often speak via skype but it is great to have the opportunity to meet face to face, to share what is happening in our schools and talk about exciting new ideas and initiatives.
We spent the morning discussing how to apply learning theory to practice. Both Ross and Jenny have taken the work of Lane Clarke as their starting point, using her enquiry model as the basis for all the learning in their schools.
Ross explained how this approach was introduced to staff by asking some searching questions that tapped into their moral purpose. What are we here for? What does learning look like? What do we want it to look like? Such questioning encourages a reflective practitioner approach that is further developed by staff having ‘buddies’ who they discuss their professional practice with regularly.
Some of the core areas for our Australian partners are thinking, technology and skills for life these are considered when planning learning experiences for the children and feature heavily in their work. The process of learning and the process of thinking are central to curriculum planning and ‘rich learning tasks’ are planned together by staff in dedicated sessions. These planning sessions start with the end in mind and ‘backward map.’ Staff have to include ‘must use technology’ and look for opportunities to include natural problem solving.
Visual portfolios are created by children to share with parents and build an ongoing record of their learning. The children use Lane’s Think Charts-these help them in learning how to learn. We talked about the fact that children need a process they understand. Ross and Jenny make good use of organisers that help with this e.g. De Bono‘s models. Such approaches enable the children to talk confidently though the learning process and deconstruct their learning. The use of task cards means more learning tasks can be facilitated. Different groups share their outcomes in a number of different ways so children enjoy a rich learning experience and support and encourage peers to do the same.
It’s great to discuss such things with passionate colleagues and always leaves me fired up and excited by the possibilities of what we might achieve together for our schools in the future.