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MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

Started by Neill O'Reilly 09 Sep 2015 4:56pm () Replies (64)

I am keen to find out if anyone can define MLP and if we can't, perhaps ditch the term and just talk about effective pedagogy?

Can anyone give us a succinct definition of what Modern Learning Practice / Modern Learning Pedagogies are?

Can't be about technology- not that modern (they were part of the rationale for the move to open plan units in the 1960's)

Can't be about student centred learning... being around for ever!

Can't be about having a shared vision, values and beliefs...they are not pedagogies or practices

Is it about preparing children for their future- I think thats just part of our day to day job (effective pedagogy?)

If it is about pedagogies I am wondering if there are some new modern pedagogies I am missing?

Perhaps it is about Collaborative teaching? If so lets call it that. But that seems confusing because you can go on a course to do MLP in a traditional classroom?

Be cool if it was about culturally inclusive practice (that's quite modern) but I don't think it is?

I suppose my concern is;  Have we created a new acronym for something when perhaps there is no need and it just adds to the confusion of MLE, ILE, ILS, FLS...MLP? Perhaps more importantly teachers are been led to think there is a new pedagogy or a 'modern learning practice' that is required to teach in a flexible learning space as opposed to a classroom

Really keen for some feedback....

Neill

Replies

  • Bernice Swain (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2015 7:10pm ()

    How to create time for effective feedback to students. What does effective feedback sound like?  (Falls into timetabling as well).

    Working outside your age group/syndicate - how many effective teams can we (and our students) belong to? (Links to "Who are the people in my neighbourhood).

    How to negotiate change when things go wrong!

  • Erin Sawyer (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2015 7:17pm ()

    This would be a brilliant book! Where do I sign up for my advance copy?!

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2015 8:58pm ()

    easy! go to:      mleileilsflsmlp.com and place your order...

  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 11 Sep 2015 6:33am ()

    The hyperlink doesn't seem to work for this Neill. Are you sure you set it up correctly? Or is someone else in charge of this site? Are you sure it doesn't have .minedu.govt.nz on the end of it? Or perhaps nkwigo.govt.nz

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 11 Sep 2015 8:49am ()

    Thanks Paul- All sorted now, I used a HTML link to a URL which then uploaded my PDF as a Jpeg and ASAP it was on the VLN for people who want to know about MLP in MLE's (sorry ILS in a ILE) anyway...

    I am going off line for two weeks so I look forward to seeing where the thinking has got to when I get back!

    Cheers all

    Neill

  • TK Tony (View all users posts) 11 Sep 2015 6:14pm ()

    I agree Neill.  We could/should ditch the array of acronyms out there (ILE/MLP/FLS etc etc) - God knows there's enough educational acronyms anyway!

    Many of them are misconstrued as being related to knocking walls out, what new schools "do", getting some funky furniture, buddying up with another teacher etc, when actually it's just plain common sense.  You can't just "do" ILP in an ILE!

    However, it is only "common sense" if it is has strong coherency with your own school's vision for teaching and learning.

    It is ABSOLUTELY about effective pedagogy, and how this can be supercharged on steroids through a strong collaborative teaching approach, in a purposefully designed (which I prefer to flexible) environment.

     

  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2015 1:05pm ()

    Hi Tony.

    Seeing as we seem to be drilling in to definitions and acronyms I will pick up on your distinction betwen flexible and purposefully designed. I like both of these actually. I would be happy to continue to talk about flexible learning spaces when the conversation is about the building. There are a number of factors that make a space flexible. Space is probably the key factor though. It is harder to be flexible with space in a room that barely has room for the bodies it contains. Audio visual flexibility might come in here too as might indoor outdoor flow. 

    Much more important though is the term you have identified... Purposefully designed environments. Neill has already talked about this distinction between space and enironment in an earlier post and I think he is right on to it. Teachers are the ones who create the learning environment. Everything they bring to the classroom (physically like furniture, IT equipment and resources, systems like timetabling and classroom managment, culture and relationships, learning activities.... ) all contribute to building the environment. We can either start to purposefully design these things to promote learning or we can continue with TTWWADI. I am really excited about the future of learning in NZ because the new spaces we are having built will not allow teachers to retreat to their comfort zone single cell. The 1970's open plan blocks still had the ability to shut the doors. These MLE/ILE/ILS/etc do not. 

    Exciting times

  • TK Tony (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2015 2:13pm ()

    Hi Paul,

    You raise a salient point..."new spaces that we are having built will not allow teachers to retreat to their comfort zone single cell"

    This I believe is the critical factor for us, in these exciting times.

    For decades we have had the single cell approach where we have teachers heading off into the privacy of their own rooms.  There is no way that we can make an overall difference to student achievement by working one teacher at a time. Teaching can be a lonely job.  Plonked in a room with a closed door with 30 kids and expected to work alone to make a difference.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 1.46.50 pm.png

    ​As the visual shows below a school will have a range of expertise on their own staff.  Despite the best staff discussions, strategic planning, PD, resourcing etc, when these teachers head back into a single cell setting the messages/efforts are being diffused...

    We have the superstars (top left) BUT very rarely do others get to see them in action, because they are in their own rooms.  The toxins/laggards (top right & fortunately none at my own school!)  The very small % that may have retired and just forgotten to hand their notice in, or the ones that just see teaching "as a job, nothing more".

    Then there are those that are "doing the best they know how" (bottom right) - good teachers with a wide range of skills, BUT...not necessarily the best that they could be with a little support/wider sharing from other staff.

    Then....our beginning teachers (bottom left) - keen/energetic and given their own class by themselves to get stuck into it.  Yes they have a tutor teacher but I don't believe that the support for beginning teachers in a single cell setting is anywhere near as much as what it can be...

    Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 1.49.41 pm.png

    We need to question the autonomy that teachers have in their own classroom, which is tricky because the essence of a teacher's professionalism is their "right" to teach how they like.  In NZ we historically have had 38,000 classrooms operating as silos.  We also know that the "in-school" variance is significantly greater than the "between-school" variance (PISA)

    The solution (in my humble view)....is to create communities of practice (and reflective practice) so we can all become better teachers.  The power of collective teacher efficacy etc

    Collaborative teaching teams have the potential to reduce the shadow between our strategic goals and the actual implementation at class level.

    Michael Fullan refers to this as learning is the work - the ‘collective or shared depth of understanding among members about the nature of their work’. You can’t get collective depth from a workshop, or from episodic team meetings. You can only get shared depth one-way—make learning the day-to-day work.

    There is a remarkable spread of expertise that can be identified, nurtured and piggybacked off to reduce the variance within our own schools.  Collaboration & coherence is vital for a highly effective school.

  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2015 4:27pm ()

    Not sure about the .png links they don't seem to be showing up for me. But your description is good so I can picture the graphic you are talking about.

    the essence of a teacher's professionalism is their "right" to teach how they like. 

    Can you unpack this sentence for me a bit more? I'm not sure that I agree that there is a right to teach how I like.

    I agree with you that questioning autonomy is a good thing.

    Perhaps it is this that is one of the greatest fears of teachers being forced to collaborate. Is it that someone else might question the fact that I spend a lot of time doing P.E. and not much time doing maths?  Or am I worried that my planning and assessment might be shown up to be lacking in quality? Or will I have to share my precious resources that I have built up a life time of collecting? Or what if the children like the other teachers more than me?

    I see myself a little in some of these fears but (speaking from about five year co-teaching experience) I have to say co-teaching is the best professional development I could have had. And yes it does challenge all of those fears.

    I know that simplifying things too far can lead to misunderstanding but sometimes it helps to hone in on the key points. Sooo... in the interests of generating discussion I wonder what people would include in a list of single words that get to the heart of the matter.

    Collaboration

    Deprivatisation

    Agency

    ...

    I am sure there are more...

     

  • Victoria King (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2015 9:44pm ()

    Hi everyone,

    As a past pupil of Windsor Primary School, I found the fly through of Waitakiri School really interesting- major changes there! 

    I lead a team of teachers in an FLS, and have been really excited about all the wonderful discussion that has emerged in several threads over the past couple of weeks. 

    For me at that heart of a successful FLS is true collaboration of the teaching team through effective communication underpinned by genuine ongoing review and a clear purpose and direction that is shared by all. The importance of the TEAM cannot be underplayed. I just hope that all our teacher training bodies and schools moving into FLS's invest the necessary time in preparing people for what collaboration means in practice.

    As a profession we have proven we can cope with changes to pedagogical approaches and tools to support teaching and learning. My feeling is the true test will be how effectively we can work together in these new, deprivatised settings.

    I have been wondering...

    How will/do schools prepare their teachers to move into collaborative FLS's?

    How do we upskill people to build the competencies and qualities required?

    What will teacher training need to look like to support teaching in collaborative FLS?

    Any thoughts?

  • TK Tony (View all users posts) 14 Sep 2015 8:19am ()

    Hi Victoria & Paul,

    Thanks for your thoughts...

    re this comment - the essence of a teacher's professionalism is their "right" to teach how they like. 

    I see this is an issue we need to overcome.  For many teachers (for too long), what they have held sacrosanct is their ability to return to their single cell setting and go about their teaching in their own way.  In no way do I support this, as deprivatisation and collaboration is the key to school wide improvement.

    In terms of preparing teachers to move into collaborative FLS's/ILE's etc, this is an area that I find fascinating and was fortunate to have time to explore this during a sabbatical last term.  

    In our own school (125 years old) this involved changing existing buildings (+ new roll growth) into buildings more functional (refurbs etc) and also taking an amazing single cell teaching staff across to a collaborative team approach (with no staff turnover)

    Some ideas, tips, readings, our journey etc re change management/leadership can be found here & may be of use/interest.  Feel free to use, disuse...abuse! ;-) 

    http://thequohaslostitsstatus.weebly.com/change-management--leadership.html

    Cheers, Tony

  • sghailes (View all users posts) 30 Sep 2015 2:54pm ()

    Hi Victoria

    I agree - working collaboratively in effective ways is a skill that needs to be facilitated and coached alongside, it is a difficult concept which needs some supports in order to facilitate effectiveness. 

    Some ideas & reminder about building a culture of collaboration...

    In David Browns Sabbatical Report of 2014, Inquiry using a Team Approach he summarises what he found as key factors that promote success in the team inquiry approach.

    Team inquiry being a vehicle to promote the process of collaboration.

    This link relates to how the physical environment impacts collaboration and how spaces can be used to help facilitate collaboration. We could relate it to schools.

    At this link the speaker clearly communicates the capabilities of creative abrasion, agility and resolution to guide innovation and ideas. She talks about collective genius, not solo genius as drivers (at 10.50 the talk gets to the core).

  • Gael Donaghy (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2015 10:23am ()

    HI Sarah - thank you for this post - there are some really interesting points you have made re collaboration and inquiry.  I'm wondering how you could leverage off the ideas in Linda Hill's video (creative abrasion, agility,etc) to create a culture in which collaboration, inquiry and PLD become strands  in the strong rope of teacher learning?  How do you go about setting expectations in such a way that these things were not done because of "appraisal requirements" but because they were a really exciting way to keep building and refreshing your work and identity of being an effective and creative teacher, responding to the ever-changing needs of learners?

  • Margaret Walker (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 10:26am ()

    Hi Gael and Sarah

    I am enjoying these discussions about MLEs FLEs etc (I agree the terminology is still evolving) and can see the link or entertwining with Teaching as Inquiry. If we view teaching as Inquiry as a concept about effective teaching and responsiveness to learners rather than a process to be gone through for appraisal, I believe it will help to set up an environment to support collaborative and collegial teaching in a 'space'. This is my opinion based on research I have done and on what I have read and viewed on and through the VLN.

     [My research about leadership in TAI involved BES, Hattie, Fullan (many of the names mentioned in this forum) and also the 2012 ERO publication 'Teaching as Inquiry - responding to learners'].  

     A lot is talked about what teachers should be doing, but leaders need to support them in this journey. So many teachers I have spoken to clearly have limited understanding of the theories underpinning MLEs and some still see TAI as 'something else to do'. Through the research I can definitely see the links that leaders could make to create a positive, supportive, effective environment for both teaching as inquiry and collaborative teaching in our schools.  Belief in the concept will transform an arduous process to an enthusiastic, collaborative, day to day event centred on learners and effective teaching.

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 04 Oct 2015 8:11am ()

    Great post Sarah!

    Loved the TED talk- it has really challenged me and caused me to re consider the key role of leadership in this process.

    There is no doubt whatever that if we want to see effective Collaborative teaching and learning environments we will need staff to work and learn in mistake and risk enabled learning environments with the support of leadership to creatively solve the challenges the environments create. It is the teachers who do the work in the space with support staff, children and parents. They need to 'own' the process and engage in an empowered and authentic way.

    Thanks again, the tED talk as me thinking!

    Neill

  • marglnz (View all users posts) 04 Oct 2015 8:28am ()

    I enjoy following this discussion . However I can't find the post from sarah with the Ted talk she has mentioned. Is it the Simon Sineck one? Could you say which talk as I would like to view it. Thanks . Marg

  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 14 Sep 2015 10:56am ()

    I think Bernice cracked it in her post.  Succinct! Yes, there is scope for a collaborative teaching book, Neill.  Are you going to write one?

  • Victoria King (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2015 5:24pm ()

    Thanks Tony, good of you to share the link!

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2015 8:55pm ()

    Last Friday we had our second student conference.  "Learning in the Making"

    Students, teachers and community members ran workshops covering various content...  take a look.

  • Derek Wenmoth (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2015 12:38pm ()

    Hi Neill

    have held off responding but feel the need to as I am using your set of questions as the basis of a presentation I have to give tomorrow, so thought I'd make some notes here.

    Love your provocation in this question - I hear these comments and questions all over the place and it's important that we are engaging with them. Rather than enter into a full response (you're collecting some useful examples and input in the rest of the thread) I thought I'd make a quick reply to the points in your original post that don't seem to have been questioned... 

    Can't be about technology- not that modern (they were part of the rationale for the move to open plan units in the 1960's)

    Interesting perspective - certainly the interplay between technology and pedagogy goes back to the cave drawings - and was really brought into its own during WW2 and the emergence of Educational Technology as a discipline (ref. Edgar Dale et al) - but there's no doubt that the accelerated pace of change that is occurring in society as a result of technology is having a significant impact on education. The recent OECD report makes clear the fact that schools simply haven't kept pace - “The reality in our schools lags considerably behind the promise of technology.” So in this regard, perhaps it is about technology (at least to some degree)?

    Re the open plan units in the 1960s - not sure about technology as an identified driver - it was certainly something people took the opportunity to leverage in the new spaces, but my reading of the political and policy drivers at the time suggest it was more to do with leveraging system efficiencies and implementing structural changes. 

    Can't be about student centred learning... being around for ever!

    While references to SCL have been around for a very long time (ref. Socrates) it certainly hasn't been a characteristic of the current 'education system' which has emerged out of the 'factory model' for producing students with a specified set of skills and knowledge, expecting them to pass through a system at the same pace etc. So many of those factory model characteristics remain in our system today (classrooms, bells, subject silos, age-based groupings etc.) Certainly, our own Education Act makes scant reference to learners or learning at all - so the very foundation of what we do in our system is focused instead on structures, systems, teacher pay rates etc. instead of students. I'll not argue that individual schools and teachers are making every effort to address the needs of their learners as individuals, however I believe we'd see a radically different approach to what happens in schools if we genuinely placed the learner at the centre of it all. 

    Can't be about having a shared vision, values and beliefs...they are not pedagogies or practices

    You're quite right - they're not pedagogies or practices, they're values and beliefs - the thing is you can't divorce the two. Our practices are inevitably linked to our beliefs, and they in turn determine the values we work from and to. Whether we like it or not, or realise it or not, our current system is underpinned by particular ideologies, reflecting the prevailing political, social and personal agendas of those who are leading it. This was the point identified in the work of the OECD at the turn of the century in the development of their 'six scenarios' for the future of schooling. Unless we revisit our beliefs and values, and make explicit what these are and work to develop a shared understanding of and commitment to them, we are destined to continue practices that are based on a mix of the prevailing socio-political agendas and the experiences that have shaped each of us individually. 

    Is it about preparing children for their future- I think thats just part of our day to day job (effective pedagogy?)

    Doing that is certainly a part of the essential 'raison d'etre' of schools - problem is they don't do it that well. There's emerging evidence in so many quarters suggesting teachers and schools as organisations have yet to grapple meaningfully with exactly how you do prepare kids for their future - what it is, what is changing, what skills are required etc. The continual debates about curriculum and assessment and what should be 'covered' etc are testimony to this. The current emphasis on the development of a graduate profile is a move in the right direction - but only when the ECEs, primary schools, intermediates and secondaries through which the learners pass collaborate to build a collective vision for this that is learner-centred (as opposed to being focused on making the particular school look good) will we really be making progress towards preparing kids for their future. (not our past)

    If it is about pedagogies I am wondering if there are some new modern pedagogies I am missing?

    The term I use is practice, deliberately avoiding pedagogies. It's difficult to argue what's 'new' - particularly as there are so many was of interpreting pedagogies - from the 'meta' level (i.e. a constructive approach used in science) to the 'micro' (i.e. I use behaviourist strategies for my slower readers). Certainly it's time we hauled the whole pedagogies discussion out of the closet as a profession and really engage with what it is about. In the work I'm doing currently with Michael Fullan for instance we're emphasising what he's called 'new pedagogies' in relation to the emergent opportunities and affordances of technology to enact and enable the deeper engagement with knowledge, completion of tasks and connections with others as a part of the learning process. 

    Perhaps it is about Collaborative teaching? If so lets call it that. But that seems confusing because you can go on a course to do MLP in a traditional classroom?

    I think you'd be one of the first to agree that collaborative teaching doesn't necessarily imply working in the same physical space - there've been excellent examples of collaborative teaching that have taken place for years in traditional spaces. However, it is definitely something that can really take off and fly when the opportunities and affordances of open, connected and collaborative spaces are available - the epitome of connecting pedagogy and space. 

    While on this point I think it important to acknowledge that another key driver here is not simply about collaboration (which is itself but a manifestation of the deeper change) - but about the 'de-privatisation' of the teaching profession - because it isn't about the individual teacher and her/his class, but about the group/team of teachers and their collective responsibility for the cohort of individual learners they have responsibility for. 

    Be cool if it was about culturally inclusive practice (that's quite modern) but I don't think it is?

    There are many ways I could respond to this - but I'd have to agree with you that culturally inclusive practice certainly should be a part of the mix in MLP - for a whole heap of reasons. One of these is simply that we have to consider the significantly changing nature of our society and the steadily increasing number of children from other backgrounds and cultures who are now represented in our schools - and our communities. If a part of being 'modern' means being 'for now' or 'for this time' then we need to be taking account of these changes and ensuring that attending our schools for these children isn't a socially or educationally excluding and isolating experience. 

     

     

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 04 Oct 2015 8:06am ()

    Thanks for wading in Derek,

    Re the drivers:

    "it was more to do with leveraging system efficiencies and implementing structural changes"

    Yes and no. I would argue the original drivers were strongly pedagogical, the approach that emerged was certainly captured by policy makers and perhaps like today it was perceived that building buildings in the open plan way was cheaper. There was a strong idealogical push and certainly a belief this new approach was more humane and responsive than the system of the day. 

    Student Centred learning:

    Point taken from a system level. Prior to NZC in 2007, schools were acting in in discord with the act and the curriculum.

    We are now fortunate to have a curriculum that is student centred, and after seven years it is very evident in NZ there is a significant variation of understanding about what SCL is, how to create a school culture of SCL and the implications for teachers, students, families and the school. This resurgence in interest in collaborative teaching (as opposed to teacher collaboration which is quite different) has highlighted the place of SLC and the inconsistencies of how a belief in SLC plays out in a learning environment

    Is it about preparing children for their future- I think thats just part of our day to day job (effective pedagogy?)

     

    100% agree and a real opportunity for communities of schools/ school clusters or whatever we call collaboration across the sector- in fact understanding and enabling KC development could be one of the many (perhaps most?) powerful opportunities of across sector collaboration.

    Pedagogies/ Practices

     

    I know you talk about practices, tis probably one of the many reasons I decided to write this post, the use of acronyms and then the myriad of lived experiences of these- not your fault! I see schools references MLP as Modern Learning..Practices, Pedagogies, Principles, Philosophy..and if they understand what that means to them I suppose that is OK but unfortunately where so many are trying to find a way forward my observations are that we are already into quite a confusing and confused environment.

    I would suggest a paradigm shift is required if teachers hope to implement effective pedagogies in a collaborative teaching and learning environment. This will necessarily lead to some new practices as collaborative teaching in a deprivatised, shared environment is immensely complex, I think I am starting to get a handle on just how complex it is. So I would still argue that if teachers understand effective pedagogy as described in NZC then when moving to collaborative teaching their main focus will be understanding how to maximise the opportunities provided through a collaborative teaching and learning environment be it retro fit, traditional spaces or purpose built flexible learning spaces (MLE, ILE, FLS?).

    Collaborative teaching

    I agree

    Cheers

    Neill 

  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 04 Oct 2015 4:53pm ()

    Thanks Derek and Neill for continuing to unpack this thread. Personally I find the discussion really helpful for shaping my thinking.

    Derek...

    I think it important to acknowledge that another key driver here is not simply about collaboration (which is itself but a manifestation of the deeper change) - but about the 'de-privatisation' of the teaching profession - because it isn't about the individual teacher and her/his class, but about the group/team of teachers and their collective responsibility for the cohort of individual learners they have responsibility for. 

     

    I agree that 'de-privatisation' is a key factor. It would make an interesting study to ask a group of teachers to unpack what this means for them before they began a co-teaching experience and again after a year at it. I wonder what would have changed for them? That interest is the sociologist in me coming out.

    The pragmatist in me says....

    I am glad that the idea of "practice" keeps coming back to the surface. I am just going to pick up on your last paragraph Neill and highlight the bits for me that need unpacking or translating into "how to" practical examples of teacher actions that make a difference.

    I would suggest a paradigm shift is required if teachers hope to implement effective pedagogies in a collaborative teaching and learning environment. This will necessarily lead to some new practices as collaborative teaching in a deprivatised, shared environment is immensely complex, I think I am starting to get a handle on just how complex it is. So I would still argue that if teachers understand effective pedagogy as described in NZC then when moving to collaborative teaching their main focus will be understanding how to maximise the opportunities provided through a collaborative teaching and learning environment be it retro fit, traditional spaces or purpose built flexible learning spaces (MLE, ILE, FLS?).

     

    What paradigm shift?

    What effective pedagogies?

    What new practices?

    What do I have to practically do to maximise the opportunities?

    What does all that look like on Monday morning in my classroom?

    I guess this is what I was alluding to with the earlier call for a "How to Book of Collaborative Teaching". Vicki suggests a wiki and perhaps that is a good idea. It might at least allow the opportunity for a toolkit for collaborative teaching to be developed. Neill you might just want this book to be called the "How to book of effective teaching", as per your original posting in this thread. I think for me the current challenge around MLP, MLE etc is mostly about about collaborative teaching and learner agency and connection.

    And then the pessimist in me says...

    How do we make sure that we don't end up with a classroom that looks like a camel? (As in... "a camel is a horse designed by a committee)

    or this...

     

     

  • Catherine Kelsey (View all users posts) 05 Oct 2015 6:54pm ()

    This was much discussed at the ACEL conference last week in Sydney  - the need for teachers, principals and schools to work for the greater good of all students in their school, area or group - not just their own pupils. Collaboration in a wider sense of community. Ian Williams called it combination of complementary knowledge and transformational leadership at all levels. The use of data was much discussed and the need for an awareness of context when looking at other systems in other schools or countries and the need for children to develop confidence and creativity for their world. Of particular interest was the idea form Yong Zhao that we need to stop trying to fix the past but focus on future innovation. 

  • Catherine Kelsey (View all users posts) 05 Oct 2015 6:56pm ()

    so learning should be cognitive, emotional, and recognise different motivators e.g drivers. So instead of seeing dyslexic as a problem see the way in which dyslexic students have huge spatial awareness and ability. 

    Perhaps terminology such as MLP stops us innovating in a child centred way? 

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 07 Oct 2015 12:13pm ()

    Hi Paul,

    Great questions!

    What paradigm shift?

    The paradigm shift is from private practice to deprivatised practice and space or another way of describing it is from an"Autonomous teaching and learning environment" to a "Collaborative teaching and learning environment". My research indicates this is the most significant shift (especially if the autonomous teacher was already a teacher with effective pedagogy). So the 'paradigm' of the teacher must change as they re-conceptualise their role from one of "me and my class and children" to "us and our space and children". It requires a shift in thinking about roles, responsibilities, reporting, communication, decision making etc.

    What new practices?

    I am assuming we are talking about an ideal collaborative teaching and learning environment. In this case teachers will be able to enact their effective pedagogy in different ways. Specifically how they group and teach children. For example the role of a learning coach and of guided teaching complimenting one another through "One teach, one assist" or the role of the teachers when implementing the strategy of 'one teach one observe'. So, from being a single teacher in a traditional classroom to a collaborative teacher in a flexible learning space some new practices (probably strategies is a better term) will be in evidence.

    What do I have to practically do to maximise the opportunities?

    Based on what I have observed through my research there is considerable potential to not maximise the opportunities of collaborative teaching. For example using one of the collaborative teaching strategies above begins to maximise opportunities, Planning to utilise collaborative teachers strengths, knowledge, skills, experience and interests maximises opportunities. Explicitly planning for the day week showing how you will do teach in ways that are not possible for an autonomous teacher is maximising opportunities (there is much more I could add here but hopefully this gives the idea). Teaching as if I was a single teacher in my own room with my children neither maximises collaboration of the space.

    What does all that look like on Monday morning in my classroom?

    I suppose I have touched on this above... Lets go back a week to the preceding Thursday/ Friday.

    We (our collaborative teaching team) meet and analyse the learning needs and progress from the week. We consider the learning needs for the week ahead. We consider where we need guided teaching (this is the type of teaching where the teacher comes pre planned for the lesson based on what we already know), where we need more active teaching (pre planned but likely to change based on feedback from children ) and experiential teaching (which I prefer to call Learning Coach) where the teacher is running workshops for children who are checking in for their own inquiries, who are independent learners etc. The Learning Coach teacher is also responsible for moving around and challenging, supporting, questioning and assisting children- this is a significant role which is probably worth of a whole post (as opposed to Roaming/ roving).

    Then the team would decide what collaborative teaching strategies they want to use and when. Who is teaching what and when and where the teaching and learning will take place.

    As the week progresses the team will meet to discuss progress. A lot of the week is designed based on a combination of academic learning needs as well as KC needs. There would also be pre determined check in times for children with teachers to reflect on goals and plan the next steps, this could be 'home room' groups or any other mix.

    The purpose of planning this way is to give children multiple perspectives on the curriculum as they learn from a range of teachers, for children to have some agency about who they learn with, where and when (workshops etc).

    A lot depends on your stage of progress and experience as a collaborative teaching team. Some schools early in the transition from classrooms to collaborative teaching in a FLS have a real emphasis on home rooms and being responsible for 'their children' as they progress (in time and experience) it appears this approach is less evident and the children become 'ours' for virtually the whole day. It also depends on the size of your collaborative teaching team (is it 2, 3, 4 or more teachers?). Planning would also involve teacher aides/ learning assistants in new ways as their contribution can be quite different in a FLS (again another post?)

    and finally...

    I am becoming more of the opinion we have just two things to consider:

    1. Effective pedagogy (as described in NZC and which would be subsequently made quite explicit in schools) and
    2. Collaborative teaching

    As you suggest Paul, effective Collaborative Teaching and Learning environment is only possible if it is student centred and learning focused (and again this is quite complex and requires shared understanding of what it is and is not in our community/ space). This is a significant component of an effective teaching and learning environment and critical for a collaborative one

    Love the cartoon as it illustrates what I was proposing right at the start of this whole thread. 

    Cheers

  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 6:37am ()

    Thanks Neill. 

    I love the tidal flow of synthesis and expansion of these ideas. 

    You are quite right. Questions 2,3 and 4 are really the same question. So if we can grapple with the "why is this  a good idea? of collaborative teaching (your use of the word deprivatised is a key starting point I think) and the practicalities of who does what when we will have both theory and practice sorted. The challenge then is to ensure that our espoused theory matches our lived experience (assuming the theory is educationally sound of course).

    Great discussion

     

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 8:46am ()

    Yep,

    I think it is helpful to understand our educative purpose (sorry folks it is education jargon but an important one), sort of like; why we come to work each day. For me it could be as simple as to "Improve learning outcomes, hauora and self regulation" and "To become a better teacher!" I am sure each school has their own.

    If we have this clear then every initiative that is proposed (1:1, BYOD, PMP, Keeping ourselves safe, Inquiry, Collaborative teaching, ability grouping or not, questioning techniques etc) can be put through the filter of "How will this help us achieve our educative purpose?"

    With Collaborative Teaching I think there are two starting points:

    1. What is our schools shared belief about collaborative teaching? (the 'why' factor, which leads to the how and what)
    2. What is our schools and teachers understanding of what student centred learning is?

    Let's go with #1. We believe collaborative teaching allows teachers to maximise the collective intelligence, skills, knowledge and motivations of staff for the benefit of our learners. We believe in the immensely complex world of teaching in 2015 with the diverse needs of learners and the overall goals of our school that teachers must worked collaboratively if we are to move beyond our current results....etc (each school needs to do this)

    #1 A collaborative teaching and learning environment cannot work if it is teacher centric (the research i have done is pretty clear on this), so it must be student centred, this is also effective pedagogy. So what does that mean for teachers, students, parents, support staff and our community? Again schools really need to understand this as it has significant implications for the effectiveness of the collaborative team. If Paul thinks a student centred learning environment looks, sounds, feels like "A" and Neill thinks it looks, sounds and feels like "B" we have problems. The question for schools "What does a student centred learning environment look, sound, and feel like at __________ school?"

    Once we have these two sorted we can then begin to determine how too make it all work- the systems we need, the support for teachers and children etc ...

    To summarise:
    1. Schools should know there educative purpose
    2. Teachers, leaders and BoT's should have a shared belief about why they believe collaborative teaching is the way to go
    3. Teachers, leaders and support staff should understand what a student centred learning environment is (looks,sounds,feels like)

     

  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 9:06am ()

    Educative purpose must be about preparing our learners for the future.  This is a nation wide goal, expressed succinctly in the NZ curriculum.  We want our learners to be confident connected actively involved lifelong learners so that they are prepared for the future.  Teachers are employed to achieve this end.  This is where I have a problem if a teacher responds that their "educative purpose is to be a better teacher."  What for?

    I just want to add a diagram of Daniel Kims work here - the patterns of behaviour like collaboration are low on the leverage scale.  The vision is what drives the change and if you do not have shared vision or educative purpose then it will be hard to make educators understand why they are being collaborative let alone understand what they need to do to be collaborative.

    image

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 1:15pm ()

    Hi Leigh,

    Perhaps "educative purpose is to be a better teacher." should be in a much smaller font!

    None the less my job as a principal is to do the best I can for my school and our children- that means I am continually trying to (one of my purposes) to be a better principal....If teachers achieve this then they will do the most important things- improved outcomes, hauora, self regulation and enable our children as lifelong learners!

    What I observed in my research of the open plan era was most teachers did not understand the vision and the 'why' of the movement. This had significant negative implications- your illustration affirms the importance of vision/ beliefs

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 8:47am ()

    Thanks for the ongoing input into this Paul- come on you other people who are reading there is plenty of wisdom out there to share!

    Neill

  • Margaret Walker (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 10:44am ()

    I agree Paul, this discussion is helpful in shaping thinking, for me, about collaborative teaching. I also love the storyboard analogy of different perspectives when exploring a concept.  

    To continue in the same vein about what is collaborative teaching, my question for our principal recently was: 'if we are to have collaborative conversations about learners, what do these conversations look like and sound like?'.  Collaborative teaching a in a space can revert to team teaching and cross grouping, perhaps there may also be invaluable discussions about best practice?  Teachers need clear guidelines about collaboration.

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 1:02pm ()

    Hi Margaret,

    There is a continuum about what collaborative teaching is. For example in some cases collaborative teaching is two or more teachers in a flexible learning space where they have their own class but do some teaching of each others children. They remain responsible for the teaching, learning, reporting, assessment, next steps of their own class. At the other end of the continuum is a space where all children are 'ours' and all that relates to their learning is shared between the teachers- planning, teaching, assessment, reporting, next steps etc. Groups are fluid, children may opt into workshops... (I hope to have a continuum ready to share in the next few days) 

    Neither is right or wrong they are just a continuum. What may help teachers and leaders is to see a model continuum and identify where they are on it and where they want to be. In my travels over the last term I have seen great examples right along this continuum, in other words there can be great outcomes for learners and teachers all along it.

    This may help with what you mean by "teachers need clear guidelines" as these can only really be generated by the school based on their vision for learning, they belief in collaborative teaching and their environment.

     

  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2015 2:06pm ()

    Hi everyone

    This is a thread of discussion that has been on my 'round-to-it' list for a couple of weeks, particularly as it is directly linked to one of the presentations I have put forward for Ulearn15.  

    Thanks so much for the collective thinking that is in here.  I too have struggled with the whole modern word in relation to MLE/MLP and, likewise, the idea that the pedagogy is new or that we should be looking for the next one to come.  And as for the wealth of acronyms... 

    I have followed the links and will have a read of those as well as my day progresses. Thank you, Neill, for the fly over of your school.  Love the spaces :)  

    The 'book' or wiki or whatever would indeed be welcome - but how powerful would it be to develop it as a collaborative project for those that have been in a range of learning spaces and flexed their wings in the areas suggested as chapter/page headings?  Those 'in the know' can often share stories of what worked and what did not that others could learn from. 

    Lots to think on and I look forward to seeing the ideas that come as the thread continues.

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2015 5:42pm ()

    Hi Vicki,

    I agree with you about a collaborative project, I am unlikely to be writing a 'book' but will be sharing my thesis and fellowship report by the end of the year. 

    I think maybe a virtual or physical unconference?

    I have been in Vancouver visiting schools to add to my thinking (returning tonight) and back to Melbourne next week to finalise my research and then rapid writing!

    Neill

     

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