Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

Geoff Masters’ ACER article on challenging our most able students

Student

Having read this article by Geoff Masters, I attempted to leave a comment but despite using a range of browsers the comment function didn’t work. So here is my comment, please read the article first ..

This is a thought provoking article. My initial reaction is that I believe teachers, especially our highly motivated, passionate and professionally aware teachers, are very often in close agreement with Masters’ preferred approach and attempt to do what they can within schools which are structured according to the first model Masters describes.

Similarly, I believe that school leadership are often in very close agreement with Masters’ preferred approach and attempt to promote good pedagogy within their organisation but are working within a mandated and supposed curriculum, political, policy and often financial framework which keeps on reinforcing the first model described.

A major problem is that Read More

Habit of Mind Zero

Mindfulness = Habit Zero (Image from Sergiu Bacioiu from Wikimedia Commons)

During the last few months we have been looking to introduce mindfulness at my school. Having started to introduce the Habits of Mind during the last 18 months the issue of mindfulness has been seen to be a good fit for our pastoral care programmes aimed at encouraging students to be emotionally resilient and our focus on developing success through the adoption of the Habits of Mind.

The more I look at the language of the Habits of Mind and mindfulness and consider the underlying mechanism of making our thoughts more deliberate and our minds more effective, the more I think that mindfulness and the Habits of Minds are different expressions of the same thing. More than this the principles of mindfulness place it as an overlaying structure that supports all the Habits of Mind as well as adding its own benefits for mental health and the functioning of the mind.

So maybe Mindfulness can be considered as Habit 0.

Discussions with pre-service teachers on ICT use

NetworkThis is a link to a forum I recently contributed to which discussed the use of ICT in classes and how to manage the use of computers in schools. The scenarios were well presented by the students and the discussion was very useful.
Fellow contributor was John Oxley and the forum was run by MIchelle Williams.

Image modified from Zigomitros Athanasios work at Wikimedia Commons

Professional Status of Teachers in Queensland

TeacherFor a long time in Queensland the professional standard and standing of teachers has been compromised by the very silly situation where teachers in primary and middle schools can be qualified to take up general teaching duties where they teach students in literacy, numeracy, arts, sciences and the humanities with an entry to their university training only requiring a pass in English. I’ve heard today that over the next couple of years the requirements will be for trainee teachers to have a pass in English, maths, and science. This is good news and gives hope for the increased professionalisation of teaching in this state. I look forward to Queensland improving its teaching capacity and professional standards over the next few years.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Teaching is a bit like torture!

As I was driving to work today, I had a thought. Teaching is a bit like the act of torture, the principle is exactly the same.

When you torture someone you inflict a level of pain to effect a confession or extract information. In both cases the level of pain needs to be just enough, but not too much. Too little and the victim will be able to suffer the discomfort, too much and the victim will either lapse into unconsciousness or expire – both of little use to the torturer.

When we teach, both the appreciation of the student’s readiness to learn and the design of the lesson have the quality of enough but not too much. The students level of readiness and the appropriate teaching strategy needs to be explored, much as the wiggling finger of pressure on a pressure point seeks first to discover just the right place and then to judge the right level of pressure to bring about the squirming of the victim without causing a complete faint.

With ill-judged application of our teaching methods or incorrect analysis of our students’ readiness to learn (another way of describing the Zone of Proximal Development) we will either fail to interest students due to pitching our instruction too low or cause our students to disengage by overwhelming them with expectations of their learning that are far too high.

Teaching is hard and needs to be precise. Much like the torturer we need to study our methods and try some new ways. Just make sure that not too many of your victims expire before you get some learning happening.