Friday, October 8, 2010

uLearn10 - Keynote 3 - Lane Clark – Learning to Learn – It’s bigger than Inquiry

"Many of our schools are now valuing the importance of teaching their students how to learn. Inquiry learning is no longer ‘new.’ It has become an instructional approach, advocated at the Department level, and realised in many classrooms, internationally. Recognising and celebrating this advance in pedagogy...inquiry is merely a part of a much bigger whole.

If it‘s our goal to see an increase in student levels of engagement; an increase in levels of high school retention; an improvement in student performance standards; and learners skilled and ready to contribute to their world, we need to re-think what we are doing, and how we are doing what we are doing, in schools. We need to teach our kids how to think and how to learn through a comprehensive learning process that mirrors the way in which learning occurs in the outside world. We need to ensure that intellectual rigor, depth of knowledge and understanding, authentic, relevant and purposeful curriculum, our priorities We need to change the way learning is planned, designed, implemented, assessed and evaluated.

What does it mean to learn?
Is there a difference between knowing and learning?
What is authentic learning?
What is integrated learning?
Is there a difference between theme and authentic integration?
What does real learning look like?
What are the similarities and differences between ‘real life’ learning and ‘in school learning’?" Lane Clark

Loved listening to Lane speaking - what a thought provoking educationalist. She made some very important points about real world learning. Definite theme emerging through all the keynote speakers. The question is how to marry this up with school policy, national standards, time constraints...

The ability to learn how to learn – everyone should be cultivating this, it’s not what you know but how you learn that’s important as what you know will soon be obsolete.

How we learn is more important than how much we learn.

So you know it – so what? Can you do something with what you have learned?

Inquiry is where thinking and learning meet.

What does it mean to learn? Is there a difference between knowing and learning? What is authentic learning? What is integrated learning? What does real world learning look like? How does it compare to ‘in school’ learning? Is there a difference between theme and authentic integration?

Teaching should be mirroring what kids will move in to with no teacher there e.g. how often do adults graph eye colour or do animal projects?! Not real world learning.

How can you have a question about something you don’t know? You don’t know what you don’t know! Inquiry is bigger than interest, it’s RELEVANCE.

Colour code questions students ask/form throughout inquiry e.g. week 1 red, week 2 blue, week 3 green. The questions will become more sophisticated as knowledge and new learning is added.

Purposeful and strategic questions come from a genuine need to know something.

A test is one way to learn (find out) what you know.

Inquiry stages

Immersion – immerse children in centres based around the learning/concept/idea, e.g. fairytales – video/TV centre, websites, books of lots of different types (soft cover, hard cover, stapled, bound, library, embellished...), audio tapes, drama centre – lots of diverse mediums to engage learners. Each centre has a taskcard (purpose) and each student has organisers (process). Purpose of centre is to access data, purpose of organiser is to process data. Organisers can be recorded on using words, drawings, sound (audio overlays), using ICT tools – kids don’t have to write to record. Come up with the ‘so what’ during the immersion stage. Important to deconstruct at this stage to generate new ideas later on in the process.

Brainstorm and Inquire – what do we need to know? E.g. fairytales – need to know how fairytales are written, characteristics, book writing process, different forms books can take, audience analysis...

Planning – decide on tools to be used, action planner – self directed learning (teacher modelled and driven moving towards student driven).

Investigation – made up of “petite” inquiries, teachers job to minimise inaccurate access to information.

Stop and Think – Now I Know... include a must do task (real world).

Ideate – putting ‘so what’ idea into action, e.g. want to make a poster, go and deconstruct and investigate posters.

Innovate and celebrate – finding out if you have really made a difference, showcasing.

Evaluation – evaluating learning process – students track their thinking, identify thinking tools used throughout the journey, need to identify tools used to consolidate and encourage future use; set goals in all areas – learning process, thinking tools, oral language skills...

Children need to own, understand and have control of their own thinking.
Achieve differentiation in smarts (multiple intelligences) through tools.

Teachers job is to ensure kids whole brain is engaged.

We should be using same processes in school that they are going to use in life.

“Tell me what your learning job is this second” – kids should be able to answer without hesitation.

Change comes from looking at your weaknesses – they become your opportunities.

Questions to think about:

What are you doing in education?

What do you want to create for kids?

Where are you in your journey?

Where do you want to be?

Key message: Focus should be on learning how to learn.

Blog post by Susie Vesper on Lane's keynote

Link to Lane's PDF handout

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