Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

eTime Tour Day 1

Reflections Day 1: Viscount School

The culture of Viscount school is positive and welcoming. As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted by students and staff-alike – by name. The second impression I had was this school was all about learning. The students knew exactly what they were learning about – where they had been and what was coming next.
They were staunchly proud of their school and their achievements.

Inquiry at Viscount

The only criteria for any inquiry unit is that the learning must be authentic. Students must have a question that has no answer to it in order to be a true inquiry. A question was asked as to whether they were concerned about covering all curriculum areas and the answer was real learning is not put into spaces and that naturally most areas were covered. All students at the end of the unit participate in an ACTION. Students then self-assess looking at things like resources, questions and skills – biggest question is – has your thinking changed? The learner is the only one who knows owns this knowledge – self-assessment is integral. All learning is transparent.

Implementing Successful and Sustainable Change

Keith talked about these things as being integral for school-wide change:
• Collective motivation – actually making real changes not just pretend ones
• High levels of trust – with staff and students
• Risk-taking – teachers must be prepared to take risks. In order for that to happen they need to know that making mistakes is okay – by risking failure you risk success
• Courage of Conviction – must have shared convictions

In order for children to succeed they must know what success is. Opportunities for all students to succeed need to be provided.

Thank you, Keith and Barbara for allowing us the opportunity to visit your amazing school. I was blown away with the attitude of your students – they were focused and extremely well-mannered. Your inquiry programme is an excellent example of student-driven learning. I would highly recommend your school to any educator interested in best practice teaching and learning.