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learning journey

November 16, 2013

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I wasn’t a fan of this figurative term, especially as it was applied at my daughters’ primary school. There I encountered journey serving as a squishy euphemism for work. 

Rather than self-directed adventuresome wayfaring, parent evenings showcased how tightly teachers’ pedagogy held to their lone compass and controlled students’ passports.

Primary portfolios in those days catalogued a myriad of worksheets, wishes, and leveling against a raft of outcomes that seemed ossified from grades 1 – 7.

Late 1990s: Mindset was as-yet unminted; PBL and critical thinking were emergent strategies. While De Bono was famous for Thinking HatsLane Clark arrived in Perth to deliver the learning journey gospel to teachers; unpacked treasure chests bedazzled, though many beholders blinked with varying degrees of cynicism.

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CC Image Source here

…careful, here, am I exaggerating for effect? I do recall around that time year 10 ATP Humanities projects we staged at Hollywood SHS unleashing immense creative energy – students regularly devised their own questions and investigative process around chosen topics.

Icons, for instance.

Hills hoists were analysed/ reinterpreted and newly revered. The Statue of Liberty appeared in person. Pizza also figured as a welcome symbol of one philosopher’s pitch for quasi-religious status of her favourite foodstuff; a circular T-shirt design promoting this belief was similarly inspired and inspiring.

PBL? Yes, creativity, artistic sensibilities, manual dexterity and dressmaking skills came to the fore. I still have a stash of rubrics and peer evaluation tools. Other tasks involved searching for the meaning of death in life, investigating design formulae (chosen objects included shoes, chairs, shelter). Genius hour? Yes, time was within students’ control and motivation ran high.

Seemed to be a bonding success, too, since parents came willingly to open days and shared creation tales of building alongside their teens in backyard sheds…

That was then….

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CC Image Source: http://mrg.bz/f8p2o4

How our expectations of learning have shifted:

  1. we actively learn about and with our students;
  2. collaborative capacity building occurs within and across teams and school communities, thereby enhancing a learning culture;
  3. sharing in networks strengthens collaborative process which looks like a genuine, visible learning journey for everyone involved;
  4. social media heightens this growing sense of ourselves as learning within networks, or an encompassing ecosystem.

Meta-learning, perhaps? Here’s a gallery walk through one morning of our learning journey: 

Bullsbrook College Intervisitation on PhotoPeach

With the process well underway, intentions are brought into being. Requirements, according to Block

…are more a way of thinking than a list of things to do. My presumption is that we have all the skills, the tools, the training that we need. Plus, we probably already have the leadership from others that we deserve. In the face of all the messages that the culture sends our way, we can choose to become full citizens and become a cause rather than an effect. This means we must act as if our institutions are ours to create, our learning is ours to define, the leadership we seek is ours to become (Block, 2002, p. 81).

Selected reference

Block, P. (2002). The answer to how is yes. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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