Why do we STILL have reports?

Why is it that, in this day and age of instant communication, most schools and parents still expect the kind of report card suited to another era?

Why do reports traditionally go out twice a year, when there are endless ways teachers and learners can, and do, communicate their learning throughout the year?

Why do teachers spend great chunks of time reporting in a summative way on a final report, when formative assessment, goals and ‘feed forward’ during the year are so much more valuable?

Why don’t teachers, parents and learners share the learning via online portfolios, easily accessible throughout the year, demonstrating process, progress and final product, with facility for reflection by students, feedback by parents and ‘feedforward’ by teachers?

Why don’t learners communicate their learning more with parents and the wider world through the many possible channels available online?

Why do governments and administrators continue to dictate not just the existence of report cards, but often the format and parameters they should fit?

What if the hours teachers spend writing and proofreading reports were instead allocated to professional learning and collaborative planning that enhanced future learning?

and…

WHY has so little changed in the four years since I last wrote those questions?

Learner agency and classroom management…

How does learner agency influence the need for ‘classroom management’?

Posting the question on Twitter brought responses such as these:

After listening to Derek Wenmoth’s video, our teachers collectively came up with a list of words that characterise agency. These included concepts like initiative, empowerment, intentionality, self-regulation, trust, awareness, active involvement, interdependence and, interestingly, wellbeing…

Inspired by Nadia Ellis’ post, we explored the meaning of ‘management’ and compared our agency list with synonyms for ‘manage’ – control, handle, master, manipulate, dominate, rule, oversee, supervise…  No wonder that little blue guy is pushing back!

So how might we create a culture of learner agency in our classrooms, a culture in which learners are empowered to take ownership of their learning and the need for classroom ‘management’ is diminished?

We’re exploring agency through the lens of Project Zero’s Eight Cultural Forces: language, time, opportunities, expectations, interactions, routines, modelling and physical environment. How might a thoughtful approach to each of these support the development of a culture of agency? What might we need to change? We’re compiling a collaborative list, so what are your thoughts?

Images from http://www.presentermedia.com/

Modelling change…

It was interesting to be part of a gathering of 1800 IB educators at the recent IB Global Conference.  The program included entertaining and thought-provoking speakers and sessions, yet I found myself wondering…

Since the theme of the conference was ‘Shaping the Future of Education’, why did it feel so similar to previous conferences? Why did the conference itself not model a different approach to learning?

What if the conference structure broke some of the traditional moulds of schooling?

What if the conference organisers modelled the kind of risk-taking and innovation we aspire to foster in our schools?

What if authentic educational challenges were posed (or identified by participants) and groups collaborated on designing potential solutions?

What if there was more exposure to the ground breaking experimentation and reform in innovative school contexts around the world?

What if more sessions had participants constructing meaning collaboratively, rather than listening passively?

What if more sessions involved opportunities for cross program, cross-disciplinary interaction and collaboration?

What if there were more un-conference sessions where participants raised pertinent issues for discussion?

What if the collective wisdom and experience  were drawn upon in sessions, so that everyone could be both teacher and learner?

What if participants were invited to put forward their ideas, challenges, successes, passions and wonderings in advance, and the conference was built around the needs of the learners?

What if ‘IB update’ sessions were presented in a ‘flipped classroom’ model, where information was disseminated in advance and the session time was used for engagement with the content?

What if, instead of announcing the proposed enhancements to the PYP program, participants were invited to engage with the proposals, give feedback and suggest improvements?

What if there were opportunities to apply the learning creatively in some active hands-on sessions?

What if time was allotted for reflection and ‘feed-forward’ on both the content and process of learning?

And finally… why has so little changed since I wrote this post?