On Saturday I went to my first Mindlab session which I really enjoyed. It was great to meet like-minded people and also to think about and discuss what knowledge is. I love that our first reflection is about our own experiences. The topic is to reflect on how your understanding of the purpose of education is visible in your classroom. To fully discuss this topic I have broken it down into 2 areas:
- What is my understanding of the purpose of education?
The purpose of education is to help learners discover knowledge and meaning, to not just know something but to actually understand it and be able to apply it in other areas of their lives. There are 3 ways that I believe are important in enabling this lofty goal to happen.
- Education must be fun and engaging.
- It should be collaborative, creative, challenging, involve critical thinking and problem solving,
- Positive and respectful relationships with, and between, learners is essential.
2. How is this understanding visible in my classroom?
- One way education can be fun and engaging is to play Kahoots with my classes at the end of a lesson. I am yet to meet a class that does not enjoy this. For year 10 revision this term, students worked in pairs to create their own Kahoots which the class then played.
- Group work or social learning is a staple in my classes. I often ask the class to work in groups to complete a project based learning inquiry or a Solo/Gardner’s learning matrix. Each student is assigned a task so that no-one can freeload. PBL encourages collaboration, critical thinking and creativity in the way that the project is presented. Sometimes I ban the use of staples like Keynote and Pages to encourage more creativity.
- I often put learners in charge of their learning by flipping the classroom. This does not always mean them watching a video before coming to class but instead is more about all the tasks being available on our LMS and students working through at their own pace with me as the ‘guide on the side’. This has helped me to develop good relationships with my students because I am talking to them, not at them. I keep the ‘chalk and talk’ to a minimum unless really necessary which it sometimes is.
- My learning space is a colourful and welcoming environment. I am fortunate enough to have a whiteboard table, colourful tables and splats. I also have couches and beanbags and colourful posters. My students love this and often comment about how nice the class is to come to. I also play music while they are working which creates a relaxed environment. I have Spotify so that I can create playlists or students can choose songs that they like – within reason! Consequently my class is not often silent but filled with chatter and laughter. I used to think that they were off task but when I checked, they weren’t! Well, some were but not many!