I just spent a week learning with 11 year 7 students… and it was brilliant!

Another schools adventure and teacher’s story pushing the boundaries of contemporary learning as Project Based Learning is embraced.

Bianca Hewes

Last week I facilitated a week-long project with a small group of year 7 students, and it was an experience that really reaffirmed my commitment to a project-based learning environment for all students. After having watching the documentary Most Likely to Succeed in the lead-up to the Future Schools conference a couple of weeks ago, I was beginning to get despondent about my current attempts to introduce PBL into my new school. I worked really hard last year to try to give my students authentic learning experiences using PBL as my methodology, but despite my best efforts I found myself dealing with frustrated students who did not enjoy these experiences, complained about the lack of teacher direction, the amount of work, the accountability, and the fact that they felt they weren’t spending enough time focused on high-stakes assessments. There were, of course, some wins in there – some great moments where…

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Outcomes Not Processes

Universal theme here. Changing the way you think often changes the outcomes too. So why is it so hard for schools to change?

One of the common themes across schools worldwide is the lack of time to focus on improvement.  It’s not that system leaders don’t agree with the research but that for many systems resources are spent in resourcing the system rather than resourcing teachers at the coalface of teaching and learning in schools.

The result. Great research that is presented but due to the lack of time schools provide to all teachers to improve their teaching and learning then things take longer than they should to get better.

One of the significant points underpinning top performing school systems is that Face to Face teaching time is reduced to allow for the obvious factor of increasing teacher professional learning time.  By increasing the time teachers have to learn, mostly from each other during the school day rather than after school or in their own time which is still the common model for many schools.

Having new modern collaborative school environments with old industrial models where students spend all day at school with teachers teaching them most of the day every day doesn’t make any sense anymore.

Time to rethink things and find new models to improve the learning outcomes for students and teachers!

What changes lie ahead for the education sector in England and Wales? If the core business of education is teaching and learning, we now have a green light to get on with it. No more lesson gradings. And now, no more judgment in OfSTED inspections.

Source: Outcomes Not Processes