Planning an inquiry unit can be challenging, so it’s always a collaborative effort in PYP schools, including class teachers, technology facilitators, librarians, art and music teachers if possible. Doing some pre-thinking for a brand new unit on historical change yesterday, I was pleased to chat online with Maggie Hos-McGrane. She works in a PYP school too, in Switzerland, and her blog posts inspire PYP educators world-wide. She helped me see how to shift the focus of our old unit to transform it into something much more powerful. It provided a great foundation on which to build with my colleague and thinking partner, Layla. Our collaborations are fun and fiery as we think in very different ways. A further conversation online with my friend MJ in New York, an artist with a passion for learning and a great historical imagination, helped crystalise my thinking.
That’s what great learning looks like! It was a perfect picture of one of our learning principles in action. I’ve posted before about how we articulated our beliefs about learning and are working on unpacking them to help teachers shift the focus in our school from teaching to learning.
Principle #2: Learning is active and social and is enhanced by collaboration and interaction.
- Learners have opportunities to work in pairs and groups
- Tables are arranged in groups to facilitate conversation.
- Classes can be noisy.
- Ideas are shared, developed and remixed.
- Co-operation, communication and mutual respect are modeled and practiced
- Learning is not confined by the classroom, the teacher, the textbook or the test.
- Learners are given time to talk and construct meaning in between teacher directed instruction.
- The teacher is part of the learning community.
- Global connections are encouraged via Skype or Voicethread.
- Teachers and students develop a personal learning network, online and off.
- Students express their learning and engage with other learners via social media such as blogs.
Posts in this series: