Like I mentioned in my last post, Evergreen Catholic Schools had the opportunity to work closely with Simon Breakspear last month. One of the things that really struck home was a graphic he shared about the future of learning. Being a big fan of graphics to support understanding, this particular Venn Diagram resonated with me. I know we’ve heard this before in many different forms but the picture brings it all together for me.
In order for Flourishing Learning to occur, there needs to be three main components present:
1. Human Connection – this one we’ve all known since we were children. I can still see a teacher from my first day of school many moons ago. My grade one teacher was stoic and serious, but across the hall was Miss Penny, a young vibrant, happy teacher who radiated warmth to the kids in her class. I wished I were in her class from the first moment I saw her. Why? She connected with her class in such a obvious way that they knew they were safe with her. Even at 5 years old, I could see that and I longed for it. They say kids today have changed and they have, but really, we all still long for the human connection that Miss Penny had. Without it, learning is not as rich and engaging. But not only is a connection with the teacher important, a connection with others in the room is equally key. Being wrapped up with others who are engaged is engaging, feeling you are valued in the group and your thinking is worthy of other’s time and energy. That’s really plants the seed for maximized learning.
2. Powerful Pedagogy – Well a great person is nice to be around and can really build our interest, teachers are required to bring strong structure to a learning environment where students are engaged with deep learning and the learning is personal to them. Structures that allow students to reflect on deep concepts and express themselves, questioning their preconceptions, is key for really rich learning to occur. I remember working as an adult on some very deep concepts in my Master’s program and the time flew by largely due to the structure of the professor’s lesson. The class was powerfully organized to support great learning.
3. Digital Acceleration – “Knowledge is at their fingertips.” I know that saying is becoming somewhat cliché but it still fits. If students can access not only knowledge at anytime, but tools to support their learning, learning flourishes. When a learner can find the key data missing in their thinking right at a crucial moment, great things can occur and grow. Good teachers see access to digital technology not as a extra but rather as an opportunity for students to augment their own knowledge and build new knowledge.
The whole idea of using these three building blocks in the classroom to support learning simply makes good sense and really allows us to break down where we are in each area. This graphic resonated with me. Hopefully it did with you too.
Keep on learning,