An invitation to Dr Kevin Donnelly to visit my school and see what we teach, how we teach and how we know our students are learning!
‘Bureaucrats talk about holistic, negotiated goal setting; learning to read is described as adopting a critical, social-constructivist framework where students are introduced to multi-modal and interactive texts.
Teachers no longer teach: they facilitate and become guides by the side. Children are described as knowledge navigators and digital natives, and learning is about being future-orientated and socially critical.
With the advent of open classrooms, mixed ability teaching and personalised learning, the problem for parents is it is getting more difficult to work out what is actually happening at school and whether their children are passing or failing. Children are no longer ranked in the class or marked out of 10; instead, they are placed on a developmental continuum and failing is described as deferred success.’(OPINION p21 Herald Sun 15/7/2013)
Where do I start?
When I read articles like this I wish I’d had the opportunity to talk about teaching and learning first to Dr Kevin Donnelly. Such negativity is disappointing because if Dr Kevin Donnelly visited my school he would have an understanding of why our practices are changing.
Firstly, I am a teacher and my students are students.
Is my teaching personalised? YES
Are my students placed on a continuum for mathematics? YES
Am I a constructivist? YES
Do we have negotiated goal setting? YES
Are our students carefully assessed against standards? YES
Today I attended an inspiring professional development day.
Working towards a whole school approach to the Planning, Teaching & Assessment of Mathematics.
Students are assessed individually to determine their prior understanding therefore instruction is built on what they know. Why? To enable students to move forward on the prescribed continuum – concepts and skills. This is constructivism.
Do I want my students to articulate what they know, what they are learning and what they will need to learn next? Yes, I do! Students who understand and can articulate their learning are able to set personal goals and achieve.
Lessons are structured carefully with students participating in a maths Warm Up, the Launch/Focus with a carefully planned purpose setting the scene, providing modelling, questioning and introducing / revising mathematical language.
The next phase is Personalised Learning where students complete quality tasks to develop and extend their mathematical understandings, problem solve and articulate their learning. All students are involved in explicit teaching sessions and are assessed against learning outcomes.
The final part of the lesson is Reflect and Explain where students articulate, elaborate and/ or consolidate learning, strategies and language.
Parents are informed of their child’s progress throughout the year and are able to discuss identified strengths and misconceptions based on thorough assessment.