The power of the HOW in learning & other stuff

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I spent the day in the company of a fantastic group of educators who are committed to developing teaching and learning through the Personal Learning Thinking Skills. There were many memorable conversations at all stages of the day, even over lunch. With one department, one conversation led us to the conclusion that teachers needed to have the time to reflect on their own personal learning and thinking skills before they could really start to develop them with students. I’m hoping that’s what we’ll be able to work on over the next few months. I can see real potential in producing a ‘Teacher PLTS Project’. 

In another department, we had a discussion which led us working on a “HOW” strategy. THe aim of this is to tweak learning outcomes/ objectives so as to increase the level of thinking required by students.

Where the original learning outcome/ objective might state:

“Explain the factors that caused x to impact on y”

One simple ‘HOW’ tweak and it becomes a much more challenging thinking task:

“Explain how the factors caused x to impact on y”

In the original version the level of thinking is predominantly concerned with sorting knowledge and then applying that information to demonstrate understanding. In the tweaked version, the thinking required is concerned with analysis in order to articulate a rationale and in doing so, demonstrate in-depth understanding. This also gives the assessment of the task far more clarity as you know as a teacher or a peer assessor, exactly what needs to be explained, not simply described.

These are just two tiny glimpses of a fabulous day from start to finish. A great start to the new year. Thank you to everybody I met today…you know who you are 😉

One thought on “The power of the HOW in learning & other stuff

  1. I’m definitely interested in the idea of finding out where I’m up to with my own PLTS as a teacher. I guess the question is how do we go about doing that? Any ideas?I think that the ‘how?’ question is very powerful. I’m finding that in my maths lessons I’m becoming decreasingly interested in what the answer is and much more interested in how it was arrived at.A similar version to your example is:Describe the next shape in a pattern.vsDescribe how the pattern is growing.In the first case: Right or Wrong?In the second case: The wonderful world of grey areas and choosing the best answer. Something that I feel is very much neglected in maths teaching.Thanks Zoe.

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