My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Classroom display to support a learning agenda

I have posted this brief clip to attempt to illustrate how I am setting about supporting my learning agenda in my classroom.

The first thing shown is a few of the thinking words that circle my room. I use these when debriefing activities and to assist students in meta cognition. It gives the class a shared language for learning. It is also hugely motivating for students when they describe themselves juxtaposing!

Next is my biggest ever display, I think this shows the importance I have in Biggs SOLO taxonomy. I have it displayed so that the steps to improve their work are visible and easily referred to. My intention of training the students to use this is a major theme in my learning agenda. You will note the space next to it, this will be where exemplar work will be displayed..

Next are the tools that have been used in my lessons, that are labelled with their function. Again I want these to be visible to encourage students making decisions about how they learn. These include student examples of how to use them.

The most frequent used part of the display at this time of year is the "What good learners do" and "What good learners do when they get stuck". These are tantamount to class rules. But since the students have offered them, and then agreed to their use ,each class owns them. This makes them immensely powerful for giving feedback about behaviour, effort and attitude, all those management issues that can sometimes clog up good learning. Having the title what good learners do, makes their use a positive and assertive thing to do. I believe this is why my students respond well to praise when I catch them doing one of them and even better when they catch themselves ( often through my feedback) not doing one or two. students are a lot harsher on themselves than I am! I find it changes the negative behaviour quickly.

Likewise the phrase what good learners do when they are stuck is a positive motivational tool. I am often surprised how quickly the "I'm stuck therefore i won't try" attitude changes into "Great, I'm about to learn something new". Students take this with them, as I have seen other teachers who use this strategy with students I have taught previously , with phrases like "Enjoy getting stuck under the "what good learners do"! Ah transfer! most satisfying.

Next is the list of PEEL good learner behaviours, which is where I want my students to be. One day .....one day.

The stripy thing, was an attempt to get the students to choose a no hands up policy and discuss the merits of different teaching strategies. This has not gone to my thinking. I think I have already decided that I will ask who who I choose during lessons and train the students with things like, giving each other wait time etc. I wanted them to have as much ownership of our classroom, I have not used this consistently, with too many things taking precedent. I will return but I'm not now convinced of its merit.

And finally the board titled "Our Learning Journey" is an attempt to provide a visual overview of what is going to happen and when specific learning outcomes will be learned. The students have responded well and research backs up this strategy, along with a starter activity and clear shared learning outcomes having a big influence on student attainment. Thanks again Geoff Petty! (Although I do confess colleagues are beginning to take the Michael as I wheel this board between lessons. Teachers are great.)


  1. Love your work Mr Mead! Does the prince represent the coming of the Solo Taxonomy with Bill Evans the epitome of a synthesising and creative mind? We should have the random name selector ready for you soon. I wonder if we should look to build wait time into the random name seclector?

  2. A fine spot sir! You win a prize.

    If you build it THEY will use it!