Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Learning Community of Educators

The deputy principals and assistant principals in my local area have formed a network group.  It's great to be around a group of professionals in the same field to share ideas, thoughts and opinions on education and learning in general.  Our meetings will be used to:
  • Share ideas on teaching and learning
  • Review books , resources and programmes
  • Use resources, such as to watch keynote speakers and presentations
  • Visit each others schools
  • Organise trips to schools in other areas to observe different areas of expertise.

Ideas discussed will be shared by me on this blog, therefore creating an event larger community of learners.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My View on the Learning Styles Debate

The previous post included a You Tube video of Doctor Daniel T Willingham on the learning styles debate. A lot of what Doctor Willingham says certainly stacks up, particularly the comments on the lack of any emperical research demonstrating how learning styles improve student learning outcomes.

However, there is plenty of hard evidence on the engagement of students.  I strongly believe that a varied teaching programme, in which the teacher uses many approaches, will be more interesting and engaging to students.  My fear is that research by the likes of Doctor Willingham could lead to teachers approaching a one size fits all teaching methodology, thus taking some of the fun out of the classroom.  This could possibly lead to some students becoming less engaged and, in turn, achieving less.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Learning Styles Debate

This You Tube clip is really interesting and thought provoking. The basic premise is that good teaching is good teaching and you don't need to adjust your teaching style to meet the needs of students. Check it out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Questions to Ponder

Two seemingly similar questions to think about:
  1. How intelligent are you?
  2. How are you intelligent are you?
 The first question is one that we are more likely to consider a narrow focus for an answer, perhaps an IQ test score would be a measure to use for defining how intelligent you might be.

The second question I believe is far more valid.  Howard Gardner developed the multiple intelligences theory.  This takes a far more broad view on intelligence, with eight intelligence areas having been identified:

  • Visual-spatial
  • Verbal-linguistic
  • Logical-mathematical
  • Bodily-kinesthetic
  • Musical-rhythmic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic
A student who has difficulty with mathematics (logical mathematical) may have a gift for playing the piano (musical-rhymthic).  A student who have trouble with reading (verbal-linguistic) may be a gifted dancer (body-kinesthetic).

Just because a student struggles in one area, it does mean that he/she is not intelligent.  As teacher we need to recognise the many ways in which children demonstrate intelligence, which will in turn make them more engaged students at with their learning.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My previous post, 'Back to Basics' brought to your attention Ken Robinson's book 'The Element'. A lot of the points highlighted in 'The Element' are covered in this TED talk. It's well worth taking 20 minutes to have a look at what Ken Robinson has to say on a different perspective on education.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back to Basics

I was recently in a discussion about the focus on basics in education, this primarily being a focus on numeracy and literacy.  To many this means a narrowing of the school curriculum to the point that the emphasis is almost entirely on these two areas.  Does this mean that students will become more successful in the acquisition of numeracy and literacy skills?  In my view it doesn't.  A narrow focus will be more likely to lead to bored and disengaged students.

In his book, 'The Element', Sir Ken Robinson highlights the need for schools to have a broad curriculum, including the teaching of performing arts, as a means of fostering student achievement and engaging students.  Sir Ken gives several examples of how students have thrived and achieved considerable success in a broad based environment.

I have only just started 'The Element'.  Judging on the first few chapters I am sure that it will proved a lot more food for thought in regards to the way we teach our children.