Literacy is Not Enough

At the recent annual Hawker Brownlow Thinking and Learning conference in Melbourne we have been listening to experts present on not only thinking and learning but leadership, assessment, and strategies to engage students.

There were many wonderful presenters,  but the stand out presenter of the conference would have to be Lee Crockett

His visionary thinking on 21st century learning environments challenged educators to ask these questions...

* what this is going to look like for the students of the future?

* how do we teach 21st century skills to the students ?

Lee’s presentation style is passionate and engaging.

Here's what he has to say about the 21st century fluencies.

Read more about these fluencies in his new book "Literacy is Not Enough".

Learning Network NZ is thrilled to have Lee present  at our “Cultivating 21st Century Fluencies”  conference on 2/3 July 2012 where he will share 21st century skills that will help students be successful learners for the future.

Different Learners , Different Needs

Carolyn Coil has been in NZ this week working with teachers and school leaders sharing strategies and ideas about how to raise achievement for all students through differentiating teaching and learning.

In the 21st Century global village our children need to be able to achieve on a worldwide stage. This requires teachers to recognise that students have different needs and different interests, and must be taught in a myriad of different ways.

You need to consider things like :
·        The learning styles and modalities of individual students.
·        The pace of learning and the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task.
·        Cultural implications when dealing with school achievement.
·        Levels of ability and /or readiness.
·        And different ways to assess what students have learned.

When teachers can look at individual students, see their needs and plan appropriately to meet these needs, achievement happens. On the other hand, when teachers see students only as "members of my class" there is little individualised instruction and therefore success in learning is harder to achieve.

The good news is that there are many strategies teachers can use to differentiate their instruction. The best approach is to become familiar with a number of these strategies and decide which ones work best considering your students, your teaching style and the learning environment of your school.

Some examples of these strategies can be found in Carolyn’s book, Successful Teaching in the Differentiated Classroom 

Some tips from Carolyn to get you started... 

1.    Start small and work from there
Teachers sometimes become overwhelmed because there are so many strategies for    differentiation and therefore do nothing at all.
2.     Consult and plan with at least one other teacher
Decide on approach that will work for you and try something. Then get together to assess what worked and what didn't.
3.     Engage in professional learning
Find opportunities to learn more about differentiation, either attend a course, read a book or find online offerings.
4.     Approach differentiation both vertically and horizontally

The vertical approach is to look at year level expectations and decide if students need remediation or acceleration. 

The horizontal approach is to give the curriculum more breadth or more depth either through extensions of the regular curriculum or enrichment using student selected topics.

Carolyn says, “Taking the theory of differentiation and putting it into practice in your classroom or school,  is the best way I know to raise student achievement in the 21st century.
                  Start small, but just START...the key word is start. "

Find out more at  Learning Network NZ

Education in the 21st century - what does it mean?

Having just celebrated 20 years as a not-for-profit trust (see our last post), we've been reflecting on the amazing facilitators who we've worked with over the years.  We thought we'd ask them to share their thoughts on what they feel is paramount for education in the 21st century.  So, our gift to you - some great condensed pearls of wisdom from some of NZ and the world's leading educationalists.  We'd love to hear your reaction to these comments - and your own soundbites! 

“Four words: curiosity, connectedness, creativity and courage.   With a liberal dose of each of these ingredients, a learner is capable of just about anything.  No program, no curriculum, no set of outcomes, no resource can teach these things; so much depends on the quality and passion of the teacher.  The 21st century needs teachers who are similarly curious, connected, creative and courageous.” Kath Murdoch (AUS)

“Humility, empathy and risk taking, on the part of the teacher, as we shift to a relevant 21st century learning environment where the learners cultivate the 21st century fluencies.” Lee Crockett (CAN)

 “Explicit teaching delivered with commitment, passion and well-researched knowledge.” Tony Ryan (AUS)

“21st century teaching and learning must be based on a new conception of expertise, intelligence and learning: producing and working with knowledge, not merely memorising it; knowing how to find out, not knowing lots.” Clinton Golding (NZ)

“Expansive education: a growing army of teachers dedicated to helping young people develop the mindsets they will need to flourish in a tricky world - through sharing the results of their small-scale classroom experiments”. Guy Claxton (UK)

“What's paramount for 21st century teaching and learning is quite simple in concept and complex in delivery. We need to once and for all remove 'secret service' teaching from our pedagogy. Let the students into their learning; after all it's their learning!” Gavin Grift (AUS)

“All learning should be authentic, apply to the students’ current life and have immediate transfer.  In addition, teachers and principals need a deep understanding of the emotional brain, how it dictates our behaviour and beliefs, and why positive relationships are essential for learning.” Mike Scaddan (NZ)

“21st Century education would do better to place less stress on final exams, and focus more on continual progress; help all learners (pupils and teachers) develop a growth mindset; and ensure that learning is challenging, inspiring and fulfilling for body, mind and spirit.” James Nottingham (UK)

“Young people will need to have a sense of empowerment and the ability to innovate. Developing experiences in social entrepreneurialism where positive solutions to issues facing our world are discussed and developed would meet this need. ” Andrew Fuller (AUS)

“We are preparing young people for an unknown future in an uncertain world; anything less than skilful thinking and independent learning is insufficient.” Graham Watts (UK)

“21st Century learning is about transfer; i.e. teaching so that students can apply their learning to new and unpredictable situations.” Jay McTighe (USA)

Kath, Tony and Lee will be presenting at our 'Cultivating the 21st Century Fluencies' Conference on 2 & 3 July.  Graham Watts is touring NZ in late July/early August.  James Nottingham is back in NZ in January 2013. Click on the links for more information or contact Sue: