11 February 2013

ICOT Part 2: Reporting Back

I wish now I had been disciplined enough to put down some reflections at the end of each day at ICOT2013... See the line up of keynotes and presenters here

Mai Chen reminded me in her outstanding keynote (listen to it here) that the students we have in front of us in the classroom need to also be empowered to be citizens with a voice, empathy and willingness to make a difference beyond “Me”. The day after her keynote an article was published in the Herald: “It is becoming clear that we need to be measuring the performance of government very differently”
Picture taken during the subsequent Kerry Spackman Keynote
 that Mai Chen previewed in her address
 Mai Chen asked “What do we think is in the public interest anyway?”, and that if there is a framework how do we hold Governments accountable to act in the public interest?

If these questions drive society involvement we ought to prepare today’s young to feel and to know they are equipped to participate fully. Mai went on to announces that “the fresh thinking for 2013 is that we need to broaden the criteria against which we measure the progress of Government in achieving the public interest, to include those non-material things, like happiness and equity, which are critical to our future sustainability and wellbeing”. 
If I try to make sense of this as a teacher, I interpret it as:
- a further cue to do away with the bean counting credits and standards as a means of evaluating how well students are learning and to incorporate soft data such as enjoyment, sense of personal achievement, reflection, curiosity, optimism in evaluations
- giving teachers and educators the impetus they may need to contribute to help students become better critical learners as they too will have an important role in the society we live in.

Brendan Spillane captured in five short convincing minutes, in his Ignite* talk “Pull up a chair” , how “thinking becomes wisdom”. Thinking is like “a campfire to gather round” and his talk really set the tone for the conference.
*Ignite talks are a 5min presentation format supported by 20 slides. EduIgnite evenings are organised regularly I am looking out for the EduIgnite Evenings
as I would like to attend one this year (as a spectator to start with!)

Thinking of the format where Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes, it would be a fab thing to consider doing in class, first modelling to students on something I really care deeply about and then invite them to come up with their own Ignite talk. An opportunity to communicate a convincing, effective personal response to something they deeply care about.

Guy Claxton and Ewan McIntosh (I’ll come back to Ewan keynote and breakout separately) make it compelling to stop looking at the knowledge look at the process behind learning. What is actually looks like in practical terms for teachers and learners is the heart of our conversation Ruth. What follows may help. I have to immerse more to offer anything practical, and even then, does it mean it will be practical in your own experience? What strikes me is that both make a clear case for having all school, discussed and systematic approach. It will be interesting to see to what extent an individual teacher’s approach, in a secondary, in one learning area breaks through the established patterns. Hence the documenting of the steps taken here on "Back to the Drawing Board"!

Guy Claxton argues that "Mind Expanding has to happen now" (Mind Expanding Education MEE) in a packed solid breakout room.
The Building Learning Power approach creates learning cultures in schools. There is plenty to investigate here.
The first step is to step back and reflect, have a willingness to try things and think on your feet.  He urges to “take a deep breath and look back to look at the way we deliver “ and to get rid of jargon and instead use plain language and not parrot official documents. We need clarity. I see this as teaching as inquiry and/or action research.

Bin these Words! G.Claxton ICOT2013
He mentions how school leavers in the UK are accepted in prestigious universities on the strength of their grades and wind up two month on at the Mental Health service as they are petrified, scared and vulnerable as they are asked questions they do not have a ready answer for. I know how that feels, I am only started 20 years on to know better how to go about investigating and inquiring. Guy Claxton also talked about the Imposter Syndrome “a psychological phenomenom in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments” which can appear if you are , for instance caught unable to answer an on the spot rich question. All of this highlighting “Students must be encouraged to sharpen their wits, ask questions, and think for themselves” (What is the point of school? ) to ensure they are confident and connected. He also says that we can have both high stake assessment and a culture of learning, that we need to TRUST THE PROCESS (Ewan McIntosh uses this too)
In the Vital, Challenging and Possible interview referred in the tweet above, Guy Claxton spells how that there can be Key Competencies AND Assessment , that students can get test scores AND develop the capacity to flourish. This interview followed his lecture Can Schools prepare you for anything? Recorded here.

Will this sustain your inner fan girl appetite for all things Claxton Ruth?

On the topic of Key Competencies and Pedagogy, NZCR  have worked on creating a Self Auditing Framework to support teachers’ inquiries into how well the Key Competencies are being embedded into learning. What strikes me at first glance is that I understand all the questions: NZCR heeding Guy Claxton’s no jargon approach! There are numerous Examples of Practice which could serve as a model to reproduce with a Language class, why not? And it could be an attempt at bringing in the international approaches within the setting of the NZC. What do you think?


  1. This is all very exciting, Pascale. I can feel my tail wagging at the prospect of the discussion and the thinking it will generate. I won't elaborate here but will incorporate my comments in a new post.

  2. None of this above is very practical for "la rentrée" I am afraid. We need a list of classes (year group) and a list of key ideas to tackle the diversity with gusto! I have a couple more ICOT posts to add to the smorgasbord, I know you dont do recipes. Or can this too evolve?

  3. Here I am back again after checking out all the links. It didn't take long as a number of the longer items I'd already seen. I might not watch much television but I can sure get away on a good long presentation about education from an inspiring speaker. I was very interested to discover Mai Chen and read what she has to say about accountability of Govt on a wider set of parameters than those traditionally used to measure standards of living or well-being. This makes me think of that painful comparison that has been taking place between NZ and Australia with NZ coming off a poor second best. I've always felt this to be flawed as although one might earn more in Australia, there are so many things about living here that are immesurable and irreplacable. I found this Global Competitiveness Report, posted by a FB friend based in Brussels, fascinating reading. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2F9Vd5aIqW&h=DAQEFftHJAQH7bNCupWtRMZiD0eN6AmlkjAs94LdYGeG7GA&enc=AZM5JxDDJOFF2lZ335ezTKXOEne1n391Jl9cdcosOY0GrXr44JTvaeBl3Dja9Ob0S8sBhvZ2AQtvNSMDeOlLbXQm&s=1 Gee that's a long code. I hope you can access the PDF. NZ comes out very favourably on a wide range of parameters of the sort that Mai Chen refers to.


Let's go Back to the Drawing Board!