Sunday, March 20, 2005

The artistry of teaching and future learning attributes

Future learners Posted by Hello

I am always indebted to be sent articles, attachments, or notes, by people who have attended presentations that they think I might be interested in. The followings ideas come from a presentation about understanding learning by John West –Burnham, a UK educator, and were part of presentation he gave in Hamilton.

Thanks Gary for passing them on to me.

First a quote from Steiner 2003, given as part of West – Burnham’s presentation that I feel sums up what it means to be a teacher:

‘ …a lust for knowledge, an ache for understanding is incised in the best of men and woman. As is the calling of the teacher. There is no craft more privileged. To awaken in another human being the powers, dreams beyond one’s own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of one’s inward present their future; this is the threefold adventure like no other.’

If you would like further educational quotes there are excellent ones on our site.

John West Burnham believes that the future of education will be substantially determined by the shared perception of the purpose of learning, and that this is best expressed in terms of the needs of the learner. A focus on deep and profound learning, West-Burnham believes, would determine the qualities of a learner of the future This in turn has implications for the quality of the teaching provided.

The following description of an autonomous future learner is from West Burnham colleague Christopher Bowring – Carr:

‘An autonomous learner knows how to learn and has the disposition to do so. She can identify on her own, and/or with others, a problem, analyze its components and then marshal the resources, human and non human to solve it.

She continuously questions herself and others as to whether she is employing the best methods.

She can explain the processes of her learning and its outcomes to her peers and others, when such a demonstration is required.

She is able to organize information and, through understanding, convert it into knowledge.

She is sensitive to her personal portfolio of intelligences.

She knows when it is best to work alone, and when to work in team, and knows how to contribute to and gain from teamwork. She sustains a sharp curiosity and takes infinite pains in all she does.

Above all, she has that security in self, built through a wide and deep set of relationships and through her own feelings of worth fostered in part by others, to be at ease with doubt, and to welcome questioning and probing of all aspects of her knowledge.’

To be honest that would make a great job description for a teacher.

I can also see it being ‘unpicked’ as part of a teacher’s professional development session to see what it all means to put into action - the kind of programmes, teaching strategies and assessment procedures. Imagine inventing a school to develop such students – how different would it look from current structures, particularly at the secondary level?

I wonder how many schools have had a conversation about the purpose of learning and have come up with their list of attributes required by future learners.

I know a number of schools, after they have developed a simple list of future attributes; place them on the classroom wall as a reminder for both the teacher and students. And also who share them with the parents of their students.

Both good ideas.

Thanks again Gary for sharing them with me.


Anonymous said...

All a school needs to focus it's teaching and learning on is an agreed list of future attributes similar to the one quoted.

Schools have all sorts of policies and procedures these but rarely one on learning!

These days it is all about 'paper before people'; compliance rather than creativity.

Keep up the blogs!!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more.

Some principals are their own worst enemy and spend too much time on things that make little difference to kids learning.

Some of them even get exhausted maintaining systems that they think is important that prove little - ones they invented themselves.

Schools should be judged on the quality of their teaching not their clear folders and shonky data.

Isn't it all about working smarter not harder!

de Bono once said the best person to take advice from is a gifted but lazy person!! Good advice!