The classroom is a place of wonder

Jun 17, 2022

I have come to the view that I can best help students in achieving a sense of the big picture outcomes simultaneously with everyday achievements by focusing on four common areas by which students participate in English courses at the school, that is, 

  1. Growing vocabulary through keywords of any unit, 
  2. Staying focused on the learning progression around which the unit is created, 
  3. Anticipating the flow and momentum of the unit planner and then, lastly,
  4. Assisting in the time-limited workings of Common Assessment Tasks.

These are the rationale for designing the four Kajabi ‘courses’ I make available to students through the school’s LMS (Teams) from my own subscription of Kajabi. At all times, note that my message is a metacognitive one to students. I want them to extend themselves through reviewing and revising. The example below is from the Year 9 Text Response Unit for Steven Herrick’s The Simple Gift.

The consolidation of the way in which I frame online user experiences must matter in really deep ways, particularly because of the mass of knowledge, often referred to these days as the tidal wave of knowledge, which comes in an internet age.

Again, working with Clare Trevelyan's profound desire to share her work with other parents has taught me much. Clare doesn’t want me to create a parenting course. Rather, she wants to design learning that says what if parents were a community of passionate people, who were able to crack open conversations in and between families on life. She offers beautiful objects (resources) around a kitchen table. She expresses her big idea for parents and children as world-building that she calls Everything World. She sees her business as populating the world with attractions and rides that all represent the way in which parents and children can deal with both thorny and wonderful issues.

She doesn't think that parents want to be told what they're not doing. She believes they'd rather be focused on how they can best work with their children to just be with them. And so the Mirror Maze Of Oneself, The Bumper Cars Of Everyone, The Wonder Wheel Of Contradiction, The Lake Of Meaning and The Ghost Train Of Change have the power of metaphor behind them, directing the cognitive operations children and parents use to participate in them.

Clare’s brief is as far from school learning or a structured course could be without moving into that other online genre of ‘the game’. Consequently, I believe that it was thanks to her and how I had to imagine a course structure for bringing parents and children together around what she calls ‘the kitchen table of wonder’ that I had to clear up for myself how learning should nourish us once again.

The classroom is a place of wonder

It is these core learnings that are on display in the four-part structure for each English unit which I share with my students. However, as the structure exists online, students will benefit from an 24/7 sense of time. There’s a productive tension between the way in which I present the materials face-to-face and what time it takes for individuals to learn the skills in the course. The question so what happens next combines with a so what test.

Having the online presence of course materials thus allows me to keep an eye on the accumulative effect of affecting a student's motivation, together with seeing how new skills are taken across different contexts. In real-time, though, I am able to deal with feelings of inadequacy that arise in students, as they watch me working to arrange learning experiences online so they can 'review and revise' classroom materials.

Metacognition undoubtedly gives students agency. Interestingly, the OECD has currently headed up an international project on learner agency, because it seems that in a digital age if a young person does not have ownership of their own road forward, they are usually in terrible trouble in terms of finding work. Well, if that's true of young people, how could it not be also true that they need to have agency over the way they learn and take on those new frontiers.

Wait...there's more

The selling of sizzles and steaks has always been the context for selling steak knives!  The usual convention is to appear so generous that you come to believe you've received so much more value than you paid for. However, I understand by using Kajabi that the real magic is completely under the hood, made possible through its automation and pipelines. That is another story which will be explored in the blogs ahead.

To do so takes time to highlight how differentiating and personalising learning doesn't often translate to a simple infographic. Rather, it is the everyday preparedness of the learner to revise and review their work, ask questions and then ask more questions, live with uncertainty, fuelled by curiosity. I, for one, know that the students are beginning to teach me what that looks like.

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