Tuesday, May 31, 2011
An eye catching study topic!
A quick trip to any classroom if you have had a lot of experience visiting schools will soon indicate the quality of the learning in the classroom - the 'messages' of the room can be seen in a 'blink'. As they say you don't have to drink a whole bottle of wine to decide it is quality wine.One of the criteria is the depth of learning exhibited on the display walls.
It is interesting taking visiting teachers around classrooms in other schools, something I have been doing for decades.
I have aways believed that the best professional development comes from visiting and talking to other teachers but, to be successful, those visiting have to be open to what they are seeing.This, of course, is easiest if the visitors are already heading in a similar direction as the mind seems to want to confirm itself and resists disruptions.
However it is when the mind is challenged that real learning begins, particularly if you are unhappy with your current directions. If not, I note, teachers who feel happiest when they see rooms that more reflect, or confirm, their own teaching beliefs.
Anyway I am a great believer in studies that result in informative exhibitions for visitors to learn from what they have been studying. And I am a great believer in an active inquiry approach to learning across the curriculum. Iam really enthusiastic when I see the language arts (I dislike the narrow term literacy) and mathematics programme 're framed' so they contribute to developing research and expressive skills and in-depth content.These are programmes that reflect the New Zealand Curriculum's statement that students are to be seen as 'seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge'.
Back to the classroom display illustrated. I guess it was the result of a maths study around statistics but involved researching information about that unpopular vegetable Brussell Sprouts. The display of the work of an inventive teacher. Often these small studies reflect the best thinking.
A quick look around the room also showed a range of studies the students had explored.It was a room where the 'inquiries' were the important thing. Real content had been 'constructed' by the students but the vital thing was the attitude of students about learning that had gained by being in the room. It is this 'tacit' learning that remains and will inform students' future learning.
It is a shame that the emphasis on literacy and numeracy means that this tacit learning is undervalued - teachers and outside authorities judging success on qualitative data in these two areas.
Our kids deserve better.
Give them more Brussell Sprouts.