We often talk about the challenge of developing our 21st century learning capacity amongst our teachers. But I, like so many, have to start at the beginning. Personally I love that challenge, because it makes me reflect deeply on my own core beliefs about learning and teaching as we find it today.
So here’s our latest challenge – introducing all of Year 7 to the Resources Centre (library).
Shudder – well at least that is what the older boys do when they remember their time in Year 7 undertaking their 7 week project. I have the blue printed book on my desk. I opened it once. I rejected it immediately. We now have the Science Research wiki instead!
So we are developing a new approach – the is of course delivered online, that builds in to the program key points of information fluency. Let me tell you, this is just the beginning! This is very new for my teachers, and is being welcomed with open arms so far. So that’s the trick isn’t it. Start small, turn around the tide.
This is what I wrote about it at school:
Staff in the Resources Centre are always keen to find ways to promote reading and literacy as well as thinking in all areas across the curriculum.
We believe that thinking should be treated as a fundamental literacy skill, whether the ‘language’ in question is Maths, Science, Art or English! There is no question that reading, writing, speaking, and listening are interconnected skills that develop synergistically and are key to teaching thinking. The more fluent students become as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners, the clearer, more coherent, and more flexible their thinking will become.
So we look constantly look for new opportunities – and a few have come our way this term.
We have launched a new Year 7 Science Research program in collaboration with teachers, to introduce students to what the Resources Centre can offer, coupled with research techniques, learning strategies, note-taking ideas, web evaluation, using a bibliography, and more. This new programme has been launched as a web-based wiki that provides the pathway for learning, without being didactic about the approach. Each class is different so though key areas are covered for all, the learning experience is modified to suit the needs of each student. You can find the Research Wiki at http://scienceresearch.wetpaint.com/