Leading deep learning - agents of change
“Among the many agendas in education, surely understanding must rank far up on the short list of high priorities.” Professor David Perkins
This programme comprises 2 modules undertaken over two and a half academic years. The programme commences with a local authority Masterclass followed by twelve Tapestry support sessions in the local authority. This programme is supported by a Tapestry Toolkit – a portfolio of materials for classroom practice. It is designed to equip Leaders of Learning with the mechanics and requirements of higher order thinking skills, supporting them in the implementation of deep learning in their classrooms and schools.
The main focus of the first year is on the development and leading of deep learning in the classroom. Professional learning in the first year has a focus on the development and application of higher order, transferable skills with learners. The focus shifts in the second year to leading deep and interdisciplinary learning in the school and wider learning community to enable a whole school approach.
Leading learning in the school
Leading learning in the school is a two year programme which will be available from September 2014. It starts from the premise that training for leadership should begin early in a teacher’s career, and should continue throughout it. For those who gain a headteacher appointment, leadership development continues to be crucial.
The course will involve a whole school approach to leadership development. Schools will be invited to nominate small teams comprising teachers at all levels of promotion including headteacher. Participants will collaborate both with the other members of their school team and with teachers occupying comparable posts in other schools.
The new course is being developed by Keir Bloomer, Chair of the Tapestry Partnership, Sir Tim Brighouse, former Chief Education Officer of Birmingham and other key advisors. They bring to the task a wealth of experience of leadership, extensive knowledge of Scottish education and a perspective that extends beyond Scotland.
Making thinking visible
“Thinking, by its very nature, is invisible – it happens inside one’s mind. The idea of making thinking visible helps make explicit what a thoughtful classroom culture might look like through the use of routines, paying attention to language and creating opportunities for thinking.” Mark Church
In addition to placing student thinking at the centre of what they do, teachers must also have a window into the thinking: what do students understand and how are they understanding it. This is what is meant by “making thinking visible.”
This year and a half long programme utilises small sets of questions or a short sequence of steps as well as the documentation of student thinking – “thinking routines”, for introducing, exploring, synthesising and organising new ideas and for digging deeper into those ideas to promote deep learning.
To create opportunities for young peoples’ thinking, teachers must be able to identify when thinking occurs in classrooms, be able to recognise when young people are putting forward a new point of view, proposing a new theory, providing an explanation, making a connection, or seeing a pattern. When teachers become aware of and are able to identify different dispositions of thinking in their classroom, then they are able to highlight these examples and make thinking visible for their students.
The silk road to scotland
This year and a half long programme has been especially, although not exclusively, developed for practitioners in primary schools at upper stages using expressive arts as a gateway to deep interdisciplinary learning.
The programme has four key objectives for young people:
Interdisciplinarity – bringing disciplines together in truly meaningful ways; exploring important common themes; acquiring knowledge and skills in one discipline that may inspire and enhance learning in another; generative topics; the new thresholds of culture and science.
Citizenship – learning about the lives of others; learning empathy and respect for the way others live and think; sharing their knowledge and skills; understanding the historical and social backgrounds of incoming communities and “new Scottish” cultures; intercultural learning.
Creativity – learning how to create new structures, experiences and ideas; learning how to be creative within the context and materials of other cultures; using creativity to understand how processes work and how things are made; using creativity to understand how others invent new structures, experiences and ideas.
Deep learning – pursuing these activities at the deepest possible level, where a combination of interdisciplinary, intercultural and creative approaches leads to profound, insightful learning and the acquisition of strong, useful skills.
There are also number of objectives specific to, but not exclusive to, special education, including development of cognitive skills, fine and gross motor skills, self-confidence and emotional intelligence, expression and communication.