Most students are agents of their own learning who can confidently express what, why and how they are learning.Indicators:
What are we noticing?
All schools are increasing the value that is seen in gathering student voice to help educators respond to the students. The more students are able to articulate how they learn, the more they will also be able to see their progress and achievements for themselves. The importance of the environment and adaptive teaching practices are showing to have an impact on children having access to learning in a variety of ways and universal supports being provided to lessen barriers to learning.
Research into the brain is helping us to understand how we need to build critical thinking and reasoning into all areas of learning. Brain research is also telling us that at some ages students are not able to think at a deeper level, however we need to be very aware of what is possible within the usual cognitive range for specific year levels we are focusing on. Nathan Wallis outlines the importance of the frontal cortex developing in the early years through oral language and exploring. So the development of empathy, self-regulation, self-control, learning dispositions, higher intellect and all the other skills that will eventually render them ‘ready for school’ (and ready for a successful, healthy life) have their roots in the baby feeling safe, in partnership, loved and adored in the first thousand days. His research also advocates for strong relationships for children to have a number of significant adults who can foster a safe and caring environment. This helps to develop the frontal cortex fully that in turn develops a sense of wellbeing.
Both primary and secondary schools are promoting positive, innovative spaces for learning and are developing approaches to increase learner agency and personalisation of the curriculum. Coping strategies that can improve learning, develop resilience and encourage risk taking in a supportive culture have become more important to all of us.
What are we doing?
What do we want?
As children transition from class to class, cohort to cohort, school to school and beyond, we want all our children to have quality interactions with teachers and other students. Regardless of the class you are in or the teacher you may have, we want all children to flourish in a safe physical and emotional environment as this will provide the conditions to empower children to take ownership for and of their learning.
We want to ensure that explicit thinking skills are a component of all curriculum areas across primary and secondary that promote not only deeper conceptual understanding but also develop a growth mindset. Building knowledge of how to teach the skills to develop a growth mindset could be a professional development opportunity across the Kāhui Ako. The work of Carol Dweck could be used to decide on school wide approaches that will strengthen this thinking.
The explicit teaching of metacognitive skills and self-regulation provides strategies to support students to be active learners by developing goals, asking for help, self-assessing, remaining focused and achieving success.
We want to find out what our children are thinking and to do this we will prepare questions that will be asked face to face. Examples of prompting questions from The Practice analysis tool developed by Viviane Robinson and Helen Timperley could be used consistently across all schools. This tool provides a strong link to the teacher inquiry cycle.
Some Key Resources