10 ways to create a learning culture…

I first posted this at the start of 2011…

A new school year is about to begin in Australia. It’ll be the first time in nearly 30 years that I don’t have a class to teach and it’s not an easy adjustment! For as long as I can remember, I have started the year by planning the first day for my new classes. Reflecting on all those new beginnings, I realise how much teaching and learning have changed… and how much have changed.

What needs to happen on ‘Day 1′ ?

I used to think…

  1. Explain your expectations.
  2. Establish rules.
  3. Know everyone’s names.
  4. Arrange seats to minimalise talking.
  5. Organise books.
  6. Talk about homework.
  7. Tell them what they’ll be learning.
  8. Make sure they listen.
  9. Get students working right away.
  10. Show a firm hand.

Now I think…

  1. Ask about their expectations.
  2. Create an essential agreement.
  3. Know everyone’s story.
  4. Arrange learning spaces to encourage collaboration.
  5. Demonstrate that you value thinking.
  6. Talk about learning.
  7. Ensure they know that they own their learning.
  8. Make sure you listen.
  9. Show you’re a part of the learning community.
  10. Laugh…

10 ways to create a learning culture…

Two years later, I still like that list. I work more with teachers than with children, these days,  and I notice that the points apply just as much to starting a new year of professional learning with teachers. So here’s the list again, with suitably relevant (different!) links…

  1. Ask about their expectations.
  2. Create an essential agreement.
  3. Know everyone’s story.
  4. Arrange learning spaces to encourage collaboration.
  5. Demonstrate that you value thinking.
  6. Talk about learning.
  7. Ensure they know that they own their learning.
  8. Make sure you listen.
  9. Show you’re a part of the learning community.
  10. Laugh…

… and a more relevant title!

20 thoughts on “10 ways to create a learning culture…

  1. Sam Boswell

    Recently read about a “learning ecology” where everyone breathed the same oxygen of renewal, inspiration and focus on improvement. You’ve given me ideas about what I now need in the Petri dish.
    Thank you for just-in-time inspiration.

    Reply
  2. Jamie Neibling @jamieneibling

    I really appreciated this post. In the U.S. we are in the middle of the school year and are beginning to think through how we want to end the school year and frame our focus for the return in the fall. Your insight has given me some things to reflect on personally and professionally and is creating a mental explosion of thoughts, ideas, and ‘what ifs’ that is energizing!

    As a new teaching and learning coach, I need to model for my colleagues my belief that learning comes from within when the learner is engaged and involved in the experience. I need their professional development experiences to mirror the types of experiences that our students need in (and out) of the classroom. With this post, I feel like I now have some specific topics for discussion and ways to encourage collaboration to achieve this goal. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Lorraine

    THis has inspired me to share this with my staff tomorrow as we start the new year. Thank you for this great post.

    Reply
  4. Jamie Lynn Barbour

    Hi Ms. Edna Sackson! My name is Jamie Barbour and I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class. This is my first education class so I am very eager to learn anything and everything I can from other educators to prepare me for my career in education. I plan to teach kindergarten or first grade because I love little children and their creativity and eagerness to learn when they first go to school. I really enjoyed reading your blog and how you compared the lists of the things “I Used to Think” and “Now I think” after your 30 years of experience. I especially like the idea of seating children in groups that promote and encourage collaboration among students. I believe we can sometimes understand and learn better from our peers than our teacher sometimes because it is less intimidating and we are not scared to make the wrong choice and be original. I also think it is really important to “know everyone’s story”. Sometimes we do not understand why or how some children progress and understand faster than others, but we do know that where they come from and what affects their environment can have on their ability to learn. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I look forward to reading more of your posts and using them in my class room one day.
    Thanks, Jamie Lynn Barbour
    http://barbourjamieedm310.blogspot.com/
    jamielynnbarbour@gmail.com

    Reply
  5. elissa field

    I think of myself as someone who differentiates, yet your list challenged me to evaluate some practices that still stem from my early classroom management course in college — great ideas about establishing expectations to build confidence in a learner… yet reading your list and clicking through to the post on students owning their learning, I could relate to that need to let go and not be the one to instruct all the time. I did a great collaborative activity the other day – and just realized we then moved on without me asking the kids to share what we learned. Which means I gave them the old method of having a chance to practice but did not demonstrate that I valued their thinking by listening to what they found. I jsut might begin today’s class by asking them to share that! Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
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