Monday, December 13, 2010
What is it all about? Future learning
Future learner need two attributes to soar into the future - to become the 'confident life long learners' of the New Zealand Curriculum - openness to new experiences and skepticism about whatever is presented to them. And to motivate them to fly they need their gifts and talents developed.
As the year winds up teachers and students will be facing up to leaving the communities they have established during the year. It will be both celebration of achievement and a time of sadness. And of course not all students will have committed themselves to being a full part of the class.
What will have made made positive learning communities will be based on the mutual respect developed between the teacher and each learner and the shared culture established that somehow tells each student 'what is expected around here'.
For those teachers with composite classes there will be at least some children who will bring to the next year class the shared expectations they have helped develop to sow the seeds to establish a new culture.
If teachers had taken a survey earlier in the year of their students attitudes towards the various aspects of the curriculum it would be interesting to see how their attitudes have changed during the year - hopefully students will now be more positive.
It is also interesting to ask your students to write out a note for next years students about: 'How to survive in my class next year'. Ask them to write about the kinds of things they think you are looking for, or don't like. You might ask them to write the best memories they will take with them from the class and/or the best things they did with you. This can be very enlightening, after all, they are the real experts about you as a teacher.
The big , often unasked, questions in the minds of all learners are:
Who am I ? Who do I want to be?
What do others think of me?
How am I doing? What am I good at? What do I need to do to get better?
Where am I going? What might I do in the future? What will it take to get there?
It is the answers to these questions that provide all if us with a sense of who we are - our identity. And it is the real role of any education system to help students develop positive answers to such questions.
It is also these questions that underpin the idea of a personalised inquiry based education. Education for the future will need to celebrate the uniqueness of each learner. To do this requires that schools need to recognise and uncover the special gifts and talents of all learners rather than, as at present, measuring them against some arbitrary standards and grading them as below , average, or above average, in selected areas of learning
Students need the opportunities to follow up their own questions and concerns and, with their teachers help, develop their own 'emergent' curriculum. To answer such questions they will need access to the traditional disciplines of learning. A personalised education will require new school structures and new roles for teachers as learning advisers.
Questions of identity are all about student self realisation. If students develop an unhealthy sense of identity trouble lies on the horizon.
All students need to leave your class, and eventually the school system, as positive , confident 'seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge'.