Solo Teaching verses Team Learning.

Today, our syllabus’ don’t dictate one class-one teacher, in fact our learning frameworks promote a holistic approach to learning. So why would we change the most fundamental school behaviour?

Keven Jarrett showed me this photo, which got me thinking about the figure at the back of this photo. We often talk about collaborative classrooms for students as a key strategy in renewing curricula. I find it hard to understand how we can talk about collaborative classrooms, when teachers are routinely isolated and herded into small rooms.

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Team Learning involves ‘mashing’ up key learning areas, but using technology to bind them together.

Schools can blend computing with history, or history with humanities. Schools can set out and blend in clear statements about ‘student capabilities’ – the soft skills of ethical practice; work effort; communication and self-organisation – that are outlines in the various ‘quality teaching frameworks‘ that encapsulate disciplinary learning dimensions.

  • Intellectual quality
  • Quality learning environment
  • Significance.

Each of the Key Learning Areas in K12 have these dimensions and the DET runs regular professional learning around implimenting them – which is an excellent way to introduce Team Learning into schools.

  • 2 Outcomes from the English Syllabus
  • 2 Outcomes from History Syllabus
  • 2 Outcomes from learning frameworks for each subject (example: HSIE)

Teachers can then take these elements and put them at the center of learning – and indeed is a cross curricula dimension to learning, advocated by the DET.

  • Instructional (when students say they learn an explicit skill) – meta-cognitive understanding
  • Enquiry – wrapping the activity up in an authentic problem to solve with individual and group dimensions
  • Socially constructed knowledge – students and teacher pose questions that address under-pinning concepts
  • Teachers collaborate to assess and mediate the learning process with students though guided enquiry.

To encourage school executives, point out the alignment with cross curricula quality teaching frameworks. Those things have a direct reporting outcome on the school, as there are no instances in policy that actually promote ‘solo teaching’ in ‘single’ dimensions – in any key learning area. You are in fact meeting wider school outcomes.

Technology allows synchronous and asynchronous learning in one room, or over several. We can use Social Networks such as Ning, Voice Threads, Second Life, Meet See, GTalk, Google Applications … we can aggregate content and share it with RSS and Social Bookmarking. Can the outcomes and assessment over two subjects be aligned? – Can activities be blended? – Can classes work together asynchronously?Absolutely.

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