This needs turning into a story and adding to
Cultures of enquiry
Professional Learning Teams or teacher learning communities have the potential to provide teachers and support staff with the information and support needed to develop their practice in deep and lasting ways. Furthermore these communities are designed to build school capacity to support individual and whole school change over time.
Teacher learning communities provide a forum for supporting staff in converting the information and ideas into “lived” practices within specific subjects and classrooms. They provide a safe forum in which to;
- kick around ideas from the online content,
- unpack it’s meaning when it’s unclear,
- consider what’s do-able and appropriate for your pupils
- make plans for what and how you might incorporate the ideas into your practice
- share and unpack what you have tried in the classroom
- relate your triumphs and tribulations
- reflect on what you hope you might do differently
Because teacher learning communities are embedded in the day-to-day realities of classrooms they provide a time and place where you can hear real-life stories from colleagues that show the benefits of adopting these techniques in situations similar to your own. They provide local reassurances. As you adjust your practice, you are risking both disorder and less-than-accomplished performance on the part of your pupils and yourself. Being a member of a community of teacher-learners, engaged together in a change process, provides the support you need to take such risks.
Schools as learning organisations
Student learning, teacher practice and school processes all fit together and influence each other. In making sure that better learning lies at the heart of the school everyone becomes involved. We would be deceiving ourselves if we thought that “doing Learning Power” meant little more than a few tweaks in classroom practice. At its fullest and best, Learning Power directs the school’s moral purpose; its leadership commitment to dialogue and experimentation; its determination to create a culture of enquiry and spirit of openness. Above all the school learns about itself to become a learning organisation.
Pupils build supple learning minds by;
Using a language that powers learning.
- A rich and evolving language of learning, recognising its emotional, cognitive, social and strategic dimensions, permeates learning across the school and its community
- Pupils are confident and fluent in using the language of learning to describe and understand themselves as learners in a wide range of contexts
Building the skills of powerful learners and broadening where and how often they use them
- A broad map of progression in the development of learning dispositions is infused into the curriculum, built into the design of lessons and motivates pupils’ to improve.
- Pupils record, reflect on and articulate their growth as supple-learning minded, independent, learners.
Are my students confident in talking about themselves as learners?
To what extent would I describe my students as independent learners?
How do my students become more perseverant, and how do I know?
Is there evidence that learning habits are being developed in classrooms?
Teachers help pupils to stretch and develop their supple learning minds by;
Creating rich learning environments in classrooms
- The learning environment is used constructively to promote positive learning behaviours and reinforce positive messages about the nature of learning.
- Classroom cultures promote; speculative approaches, challenging learning, the growth of learning mindsets, collaborative activity and positive messages about learning.
Teaching the how with the what of learning
- Teaching methodologies and learning opportunities intrigue and motivate learners, develop effective learning habits and enhance content acquisition.
- Teachers explain the nature of learning habits, train pupils to use them, design lessons to exercise them, generate feedback on the use of learning habits and model them confidently.
Using a coaching approach to learning
- Teachers use a coaching approach with pupils; they stay curious, their questioning helps to unearth and progress pupils’ learning behaviours, they join in a quest of discovery, they offer commentary and re-frame learning experiences and they secure a commitment to learning.
- Pupils too are trained to act as coaches to each other and thereby encourage others to go beyond what they thought they were capable of.
Are our classrooms designed as learning labs to promote students’ power to learn? Is there a good balance between what we learn and how we learn? To what extent is coaching a prevailing teaching process?
The school generates a vision and culture of learning by;
Leading to empower learning
- The school has a vision for learning (predicated on ‘learning is learnable’) which is embedded in its culture, policies and recognised outcomes.
- Leading the development of learning becomes everyone’s concern. School leaders, teachers and students work towards becoming leaders of their own learning in a school that learns
- Leadership styles foster dialogue and exploration, empower risk taking and self monitoring becomes an act of discovery for improvement
Creating a culture of enquiry for staff
- The school supports teachers to form and sustain formal Professional Learning Communities to share, probe and deepen the learning how to learn culture and classroom practice
- Teacher learning enquiries help drive the school’s development.
- Reviews of learning engage all staff and students to provide valuable evaluative data on which to build future development
- Learning Reviews include observations of learning in classrooms, interviews with teachers, surveys of the learning environment. They are viewed as an important collaborative vehicle for teacher development
Involving parents in building their child’s zest for learning
- The school works in partnership with parents and carers to develop learning dispositions in pupils.
- Parents are kept informed effectively of their child’s progress in developing learning habits. The school offers guidelines and examples of how parents can best support the development of their child’s learning habits in life outside school.
How does the school build in teachers the very habits it seeks to instil in students? To what extent are teachers enabled to take risks in developing their own practice? How are parents engaged as partners in the process of building students’ learning habits?