Saturday, October 17, 2015

MLE Conversations

Edblognz Challenge Week 2 Challenge 2

Find a blog post you have written in the past. Consider whether your thinking on the topic is the same or different and blog about why your thinking has changed or expand on your original ideas.

Ive written a couple of pretty passionate posts this year about MLE's or ILE's or whatever you are calling them.

You can read them here (focused on exploring the pedagogies and whether this is just a returning fad) and here (focused on why we need to change and do things differently than in the past).

I wouldn't change anything I've written in those posts.

It still concerns me that I hear and read stuff like its not working- kids are getting lost because they are moving all the time to different teachers because thats what you are "meant to do in a MLE."  There is no MLE/ILE handbook that says this is the way to do it. 

It's all about being responsive to learning needs.

Its about critically reflecting, reviewing and analysing what has actually served kids and effective learning well in the past- all kids not just the highly successful top learners.

And then its about responding to those needs in an innovative way using some thinking that maybe wasn't around in the past. And that means you cant just keep taking reading groups and math groups and writing groups in exactly the same way as in the past if you want different results.

It is definitely NOT about putting 3 or 4 classes of kids together in a big open barn with some different looking furniture and then continuing to teach in the same way- just moving the kids round from teacher to teacher.

It's about preparing learners for a time that is vastly different, and changing every day. 

It is about harnessing the power of technology to make that learning even more effective and relevant.

It's about harnessing the power of multiple adults with differing skills to make learning more authentic and Its about those adults collaborating because they will achieve more tgogether than they can by themselves. Its about professionally challenging each other to do the best thing for each learner.

It's about adults understanding that a classroom is not their personal kingdom- and a place for them to the the queen or king of- it's a place for them to both facilitate and deliver authentic and relevant learning. It's the learners place for learning.

It's about empowering learners to take control of their learning- if we want confident life long learners then we need them to understand and be an active participant in their own thinking and learning.

It's about harnessing that joy of curiosity that our early childhood centres see and empower in kids, and maintaining and growing that as they enter schools.

I know that if you are stuck in a more traditional school it is very difficult to go and visit a school truly operating in a responsive way and  not focus on the lovely spaces, and the bright modular furniture and the big groups of students with multiple teachers and think those things are the most important. But they are not.

Its those teachers ability to reflect on and critically analyse the learning needs of those learners and respond to all of those in a way that continually puts the students at the centre, not the learning programmes that we've been led to believe are the way to teach.

For us in our responsive learning environment (referring to the pedagogy and practice the keys are:
self regulation- learners making active decisions about their learning on a weekly, daily and hourly basis
integration- developing concetps- helping ākonga to form a big picture of connections rather than teaching subjects
inquiryteaching just about always through an inquiry approach
learning choices- our learners having increasingly open choices with regards to their learning
teacher collaboration- constant talking, sharing and advising on what each learner needs to move to the next stage for them
(None of this is dependent on having a modern learning environment in the property sense)

For us in our modern learning environment (referring to the property) we choose to do this through
open spaces- with multiple learners and multiple teachers collaborating and learning together which includes multiple year groups being together 
collaborative teaching- teachers sharing learning spaces and groups of learners
choices about where to learn with restrictions depending on who we've reponsded to each students learning needs in their personal learning plans.

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