TED Conversations

Tosca Killoran

Digital Learning Coach, NIST International School


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How do you promote, model and scaffold sustainable action within your classroom?

Action underpins many international schools as an important component that is linked with the types of learners teachers want to engender. Examining what planning, teaching and assessment policies and practices foster student self-­‐efficacy with regards to action, and identifying key understandings that lead to purposeful and beneficial action are important steps in facilitating a learning community that promotes and empowers student generated action. Many international schools' inquiry based education programs culminate with wanting the learners to take authentic action. Usually, that action is a one-off event, like raising money for children in far off places, less fortunate then those in the international school community. But is that what we really want as educators? How do you promote sustained action- or action that continues, evolves and grows beyond the classroom? How do you as an educator model taking action in your learning communities? How do you scaffold for that action? Do you assess your students' action? Where does action fall within the inquiry cycle? How do you celebrate action that is taken? Share your ideas and thoughts as we collaboratively build a model for best practice with regards to sustained action.


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    May 8 2012: Hi Tosca
    I am not a teacher so best to take my view with a pinch of salt but through a new idea I launched in March 2012 I have been invited into a few schools here in the UK to talk about it at second year level students. It involves teaching kids the importance of health & fitness and through new an innovative idea's it makes children more connected to a wellness movement that is badly needed everywhere in the world right now. Through this concept we get great ideas from the kids, it is so empowering for us to see what their young out of the box thinking comes up with but we can only implement around 5% of them because of rules covering the teachers and education system and the higher up the tree you go to the decision makers in councils and government the less interested they are in making any changes. Children need to be taught for sure I get that, but what I think most educators are forgetting is children want to learn. If we can't find a way to by pass the red tape and listen to the children and give them more of say I can't see how any action plan can be made and stuck to.
    How about a monthly meeting chaired by elected kids aimed at teachers with the sole goal of getting more out of their education? We have them for sports days or dances why not for an action plan for their education. I was 19 when I was told for the first time I am not stupid am I dyslexic so school years were not a big joy for me as learning was tough, had a teacher discussed with me how I would like to learn or if I had the choice to say hey this does not work for me it would have made a difference. The key to anything working in education has to start with the talking to those receiving the knowledge. That is my 2 cents worth anyway...

    Teachers have a tough job they really do but in my very short time of working with kids I can see it is a very rewarding one. Good luck with your student generated action.
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      May 12 2012: WOW! I love the idea of, "How about a monthly meeting chaired by elected kids aimed at teachers with the sole goal of getting more out of their education? We have them for sports days or dances why not for an action plan for their education?"

      This is something that Reggio does in its early learning centers and the PYP attempts to do by allowing the kids to guide their inquiry. BUT I love that what you propose, is a school wide systemic overhaul. Really delving into the minds of the learners. I wonder if we could look at a particular model anywhere as an example?

      One of the critiques of the Reggio model for upper grades is that by allowing the learning to be student generated the students possibly will not cover content that they need in life, like place value or phonemic awareness. Thus, students would be left with gaps in their understanding. Indeed, I am not sure how many kids organically come up with the idea of studying stoichiometry. BUT I do value the idea of making learning more student directed, beyond just the classroom inquiry.

      I am going to do some research on this. A question it raises immediately:
      How do we meet phases, standards & benchmarks when students direct the learning?
      Anyone want to weigh in?
      Thanks for the post Jeff!!

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