The Learning Path

2 Mar

The Path of All Learning – How we move from Observation to Action.

Such a nice way of visualizing how learning happens! The amount of information (or the data) around us is bigger than ever, and the internet provides us with more and more data all the time. One important role for an effective teacher is to help students make good choices while searching data (and information). It may not be obvious for students what a reliable source looks like, so it is essential to teach about source criticism. I would also communicate early and often the fact that the knowledge two students construct from the same piece of information is different.

Your knowledge is different from mine, and that is exactly how it should be, because learning is highly individual (as opposite from teaching that can be done even with mass media). I know this does not exactly fit into the current testing culture, but let’s be realistic: students are learning for life, not for school. (At least that was the basic idea of public education when it was founded: to help students become ready for their lives.)

How could we lead more students to the path of learning?

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9 Responses to “The Learning Path”

  1. Zeynep Yedierler March 6, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Recently I’ve shared the following in another blog: by a dear colleague Tony Gurr: allthingslearning. There, we focused on 21st century learning/teaching. What I highlighted was ‘ A Capable Learner’.

    How could we lead more students to the path of learning? By helping them become capable learners.

    CURIOUSITY, IMAGINATION, ADVENTURE: Are my students curious, are they using their imagination, do they enjoy this and percieve it as an adventure? I think this is particularly important for motivation. What is the use of reading an e book but not a regular book if it doesn’t create the above impacts on learners?

    COLLABORATION AND INDEPENDENCE: Can my students work with others efficiently? Can they learn from each other? Can my students work alone? What is the end product?
    Mostly, digital generation prefers to work alone. At times, this may be good but it may also deprive them of an important skill: Collaboration. These two must go hand in hand.

    FOCUS AND INTEGRATION: Can my students focus or do they get distracted easily? Can they concentrate on the information long enough? Can they integrate this information with something else and learn from this? Can they use the information properly? We all know that one of the most striking characteristics of digital generation is multi-tasking. The question is: do they learn from multi-tasking or is it just surface level information? Our duty is to use this trait as effectively as possible so that learning takes place.

    METHODOLOGY AND SELF-EVALUATION: Can my students define a problem? Do they follow a strategy? Do they come up with solutions? Can they reflect/ self-evaluate?

    These also overlap with the 5 FLUENCIES: Solution, Creativity, Collaboration, Media and Information fluencies. (please see 21st Century Fluency Project website )

    • Nina March 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Zeynep,

      Thank you for sharing these important strategies! I find these to agree very well with my own 3C-view about learning. From experience I know that emphasizing cooperation (C1) in classrooms makes learning more meaningful, i.e. it allows students use their inborn curiosity to learn more. Also, building independent learners is important, so we want to highlight their cognitive learning (C2) to show how much they already have learned, and thus help keeping their focus in the learning task Reflection is such an important skill, and when you let students evaluate their own progress and build on previously learned skills you are also teaching in very constructive (C3) way.

      Just imagine my enthusiasm when I saw how well these ideas agree with your post, and the contents of the Path of All Learning!

    • 3D Eye March 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      Zeynep
      A very inspiring comment and I look forward to following up your references.
      GF

  2. Zeynep Yedierler March 7, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    Nina,

    I loved your 3C view about learning. I will refer to them frequently from now on. I highly recommend you Guy Claxton’s work, I was inspired by his categorisation : ” Positive Learning Dispositions”.

    Best wishes

  3. 3D Eye March 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    That’s a very good question, Nina – possibly the most important question that educationlists, politicians & the general public should be asking in the 21st Century.

    As to your comment about the purpose of public education being to help students become ready for their lives – my understanding is that when public education began in Britain its primary purpose was to produce young people with the basic skills and knowledge they would need to become part of the industrial revolution that was taking place in Britain and throughout the world. In other words, to prepare young people to become workers in commerce & industry – with no concern for their personal growth, development & wellbeing.

    Tragically this is still the case in the minds of far too many people – even some Primary headteachers that 3Di is aware of. Hence the emphasis on tests & examinations and skills that can be measured & graded and used by potential employers – who may not care whether someone is a three dimensional human being with powers of creativity & imagination, socially & emotionally intelligent, etc.

    Nowadays the emphasis on tests & exams is also kept in place by the universities & academia.

    Thank you for reminding us of the real and proper purpose of education, and how real learning takes place.

    • Nina March 31, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      I am just trying to be positive in my thinking 🙂 and thus wanted to note the basic idea of public education to be helping people grow. But you are very correct: even in one of the very first sources about public education (Church Council of the Lateran 1215) says how there will be free schools for clerics – and this, of course, follows the idea of training workforce for the needs of society.

      Also Sir Ken Robinson has talked about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U and beautifully explained how and why education is killing creativity.

      Practicing what I preach makes me try to be the change I want to see. And parts of the paradigm change are already visible in the education systems: recognizing special education needs, providing additional support for students etc. Individual teachers can choose/have chosen to support learning instead of just doing the daily teaching (and usually those are the teachers whose classes also score high on standardized testing).

      And we all can raise public awareness about what good quality education actually is, just simply keeping it in conversations. Sooner or later we will reach the tipping point!

  4. 3D Eye March 31, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    That’s amazing – I was going to mention the Ken Robinson animation in my earlier post, but then forgot to do it! We’re a huge fan of his, and as you say, that RSA video explains what we’re saying here perfectly. We have it embedded on our main 3Di website! – http://3diassociates.com/news.htm
    We’re with you all the way on the need to raise public awareness, and like you we hope, and sometimes believe, that countries like Britain and the USA will eventually reach that tipping point – which, as far as I know, Finland reached some time ago, and other countries, thank goodness, are now reaching as well.

    • Nina April 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Sir Ken Robinson is one of my heroes. He will be a keynote speaker in AERO conference in Portland, OR, next August. I am presenting in the same conference, too, and I am so excited about meeting him there in person. http://www.educationrevolution.org/

  5. 3D Eye April 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on 3Di Associates – 3D Eye and commented:
    NotesFromNina is a source that 3Di visits regularly. This posting is a concise summary of some key ideas that every educator and every school should consider. Nina was trained in Finland and taught for some years in Finnish schools, before moving to America. Regular readers of our 3Di blog will be well aware of our admiration for the Finnish approach to learning and teaching.

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