Thursday, December 16, 2010
Listening to the Learning Voice
I first met Professor Stephen Heppell in Singapore. He was there for an IB library/IT conference and spoke to us about Be Very Afraid and how project based learning has been turning teaching around by empowering learners and making them passionate about learning. The second time I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen was at the BETT show last year where he made many presentations about 21st century education. In this movie Stephen talks about how students can learn to do things on their own, ahead of their parents and teachers.
This week I was in the staff room getting a cup of coffee, and around the coffee machine were a parent and a class teacher. I had worked with this class earlier using Spicy Nodes. I'd introduced it to the class fairly briefly but had spent most of the IT sessions focused on the inquiry process. I knew the teacher had at first worried about the students not having enough practice on the skills they were going to use to present their knowledge and understanding. The two of us were chatting about how amazingly the students had done - surpassing both of our expectations in fact. The parent joined in too. He is currently considering whether or not he wants to take up a second career as a teacher. He told us how enthusiastic he was having heard our conversation about the future of learning and what a joy it was to hear how independently these 8 year olds were in following their own interests and learning things on their own. We can all learn a lot from listening to their learning voices.