I have been asked to help out by teaching another class 6 periods a week. As always in the PYP, we started by establishing our ‘essential agreement’. I have blogged before about the process I used with my Year 5 class at the start of the year and, since that was successful, I decided to use the process again with this Year 6 group. I asked the students to write down, first individually, then compare with their groups, ‘What helps me learn’ and ‘What hinders my learning’. I collated their thoughts and brought them back for their approval, before using them as a basis for the essential agreement. We all sign this agreement and constantly refer back to it if we find ourselves going off track and hindering our own or others’ learning.
I was struck, yet again, by how much students understand their own learning. This is a summary of the things they are aware of :
- They know that they learn best when there is co-operation and collaboration, but not too much noise.
- They understand that learning requires mutual respect between students and teachers alike.
- They know the difference between work and learning, so they don’t value worksheets, but prefer engaging and enjoyable learning experiences.
- They understand that for learning to be effective, they need to talk quietly one at a time and not call out.
- They understand that people learn in different ways, each at their own pace.
- They know they learn best when they feel safe and supported.
We should get students to run professional development for us teachers, really we should…