My First Post: Talking about Teaching or Talking about Learning

Reading my friend, Sonya’s blog about Seth Godin and his manifesto on education, Stop Stealing Dreams, I was finally motivated enough to begin my own blog to discuss learning. How can we do it differently? What works and why? And, most importantly, what is our goal?

Be patient with me as I begin this blogging journey. I am sure I will improve as I learn.

I was chatting with my teaching partner about how I don’t really want to read about new teaching ideas, what I really am interested is in thinking about new ways to learn. And then, as these things happen, I read something similar in  John Hattie‘s book Visible Learning for Teachers:

I have almost reached the point at which I lose interest in discussion about teaching – not because it is not important, but because it often prevents important discussions about learning. So many professional development sessions are about best practice, new methods of teaching, interrogation of assessment far too late to make a difference today or tomorrow – and we seem to like these safe and non-threatening topics. Where is the debate about how we learn, evidence of students’ learning in their multiple ways, how to learn differently? (p. 162)

I believe that both discussions are necessary, sometimes new teaching ideas create those Ah ha! moments about how students learn. The difficulty is to keep the focus of the discussion on the learning and not on the task itself. Ensuring we have a clear vision of what we want the children to understand and why, we then can discuss the vehicle for getting them there. Or, keeping them there. As I mentioned in my About Me introduction, I believe children are naturally sincere, curious, enthusiastic, brave, open-minded, creative and innovative. How do we nurture this?

Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximizing Impact On Learning

4 thoughts on “My First Post: Talking about Teaching or Talking about Learning

  1. I totally agree. I have a post brewing about starting with the end in mind. I think I know now where I was going wrong with that …only took 8 years! Congrats on the blog. You were the most amazing influence when we worked together – more than you probably know – and now, I can ‘click’ on you whenever I need me some Marina wisdom! Love it. Will have to look that book up too.

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  2. I have used the “Stretching our Thinking Muscles” strategy from the Visible Thinking book. At the beginning of a lesson we identify what we are learning, e.g. “Today we are learning about …” and then, “Today we are stretching our…muscle.” For example, “Today we are learning about volcanoes. Today we are stretching our research muscles.” Then we make a quick chart (or review a chart) of what ‘research muscles’ look like. I like it a lot because it makes the lesson not only about volcanoes but, more importantly, about how to research (using the index, skimming and scanning, etc.).

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  3. Marina, First of all, congrats on starting this very cool journey! Understanding the crucial difference between teaching and learning is key, and I agree that there are wonderful discussions to be explored with each. I’m looking forward to being part of those discussions and discoveries next year. I’m also very keen to see what appears to be an inspiring reading list that you’ve created! John

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