Each week I read many blogs and tweets in which educators share ideas. Here is a random selection of recent blogs that have given me food for thought.
Top of the list for me is the blog written by American educator, Grant Wiggins. In this particular post, (http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/better-seeing-what-we-dont-see-as-we-teach/#like-1256) Wiggins says that, in their classrooms, teachers can be blind to what is actually happening and more likely to see and hear only what they expect. In this way they miss the clues that tell them that their students do not understand. Wiggins doesn’t think that it is an easy thing to pick up on the clues, but he provides some concrete advice to assist teachers to do so.
Tanya de Hoog blogs as the PiEd PYPer. In some ways the main idea in this post (http://inquiryblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/teacher-or-learning-architect/) is very similar to Wiggin’s idea: it, too, is talking about teacher awareness. Hoeg seeks to remind us that inquiry learning isn’t just about asking and answering questions. Rather, she argues, it is about an ‘inquiry stance’, and ‘when we limit the inquiry stance to just asking questions, we limit the potential for meaningful and contextualized inquiry stance learning’. Teachers need to be aware of all the different ways in which students demonstrate the inquiry stance. For me, this idea really opened up the whole notion of inquiry learning.
David Didau blogs as the Learning Spy. For this post he begins with a quote from Dylan Wiliam:
Getting students engaged so that they can be taught something seems much less effective than getting them engaged by teaching them something that engages them.
Once again, this post (http://www.learningspy.co.uk/education/the-problem-with-fun/) asks teachers to be aware of what is really going on in the classroom. Just because the students are having fun, does it necessarily mean that they’re learning something?
Which is not to say, of course, that fun has no place in the classroom. But its place is one that is planned for, purposeful and, most importantly, inherent to the learning.