Learning is For Everyone: President’s Report September 2014

President’s Message: Learning is for Everyone


By Sue Elliott, EdD

LFBC September 2014 

There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about. 

Ask: ‘What’s possible?’ not ‘What’s wrong?’ Keep asking… How strong is the learning culture where you work? How do you know if your professional learning makes a difference to student learning? How would you find out?

Several conversations held with colleagues during the early fall regarding learning cultures were met with a resounding echo that followed each interaction: it was uplifting and positive to engage in a powerful conversation about learning, and to have the opportunity to challenge one’s thinking!

In the first week of September I had several interactions with students from grades 5 through 12. I learned that students were online, working with each other and choosing what to learn! They were not waiting to sit in a classroom to be told what to learn.

  • A grade 5 student was on-line to see what her new curriculum would be, and look at home schooling, along with her grade 6 friend who was brushing up on her Math.
  • A grade 11 student was on-line with the Khan Academy to review her Math and on the Ministry website to look at what she will be learning this year.
  • A grade 12 student was glad she is doing some of her courses online, and was tweeting her friends to see if they might get some study review groups together for other subjects.

All of this resonates with current rhetoric that a core aspect of teaching today is to teach students HOW to learn! These students, albeit a small sampling, were raring to go and get on with their learning! I find myself wondering if they are seeking to ‘cover’ what is to be taught in the coming year, or if they will delve deeply into their course of study?

The number of students taking on-line courses leads me to ponder the concept of surface versus deep learning. “’Deeper learning’ is the process through which an individual becomes capable of taking what was learned in one situation and applying it to new situations [i.e.. transfer]. As I read the  National Academy of Sciences: Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century these questions came to mind.

How do we best ensure that learning is deep? How de we help students move from novice to expert in their learning?

This article provided a great deal of food for thought that can enhance our work as educators.

I also wonder what aspect of professional learning educators are engaged in to ensure that their learning is transferred to doing things in a new or ‘richer’ manner. I hope that you are engaged in a transformative  professional learning culture wherein all are engaged in learning.

… Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible. Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something. Know that creative solutions come from new connections.”   Margaret Wheatley

Learning Forward BC actively works with educators to support and enhance a strong professional learning culture. Stay updated by visiting our website http://learningforwardbc.ca






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