July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Daniel Pink writes about motivation, leadership and learning.
I’ve noted a few of his quotes and my thoughts on implications for teaching, learning and schools.
‘Identify the actions, behaviours and obligations that sap our energy, distract our attention and therefore ought to be avoided.’
Daniel suggests that one of the most important lists to keep is a ‘to don’t list’. Having spent quite a few years working in schools now I can testify to the constant stream of distractions and diversions that come up each day. I could work more effectively if I didn’t check emails each time they arrived in my inbox. I also need to spend some project time away from my staffroom each week in order to maximise productivity.
‘Abstract thinking leaders to greater creativity’
The starting point for innovative thinking is the abstract. Pink suggests that we need to stand back and take in a bigger picture rather than just focusing on our specific industry/area/movement. For teachers and teacher leaders I believe this means developing a Professional Learning Network that is broader than just education circles. While focusing on learning, we need to keep our finger on the pulse with regard to: leadership, technology, politics, innovation and learning sciences. I personally benefited taking a study tour with a colleague who is the Creative Arts Learning Area Manager at NBCS. It meant that as we visited universities, schools, libraries, cafes and museums I was able to glean a whole new perspective that was very different to my view point.
‘ What’s the purpose of this organisation?’
Daniel tells a great story where a group of workers were divided into two groups. One group was assigned their given tasks for the day and got started while another group was told inspirational stories of the long term impact that their work had before they started on their tasks. The increased outcomes that were achieved by the second group was three times that of the first group. Having a purpose, seeing the bigger picture and knowing that your work matters has an enormous impact on productivity. Can you clearly articulate the purpose of your team/department/organisation?
July 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
It was great to meet Dan Meyer in Sydney and get a fresh dose of math inspiration. Having learnt from him a few years back it was great to hear about more of his strategies for the teaching and learning of maths. The 3 points that hit home for me were: be creative to hook students, provide good opportunities for students to ask questions and ‘we’ve got a great responsibility’.
Hook students – Use sweet graphics, stop-shot video, interesting photos or whatever to get students started. By beginning a lesson with some boring ‘mathematical’ introduction you’ve definitely lost half of the students. Why not invest some time in making an introduction engaging and let students ponder for once… I like using splicd to create situations like this. Dan got us started with a pennies video that was great.
Student questions – Set up your intro to the lesson such that the students can’t help but ask questions. When Dan was taking us through this step he noted all of the questions that we asked as a group; we voted on these results. We normally think that a math scenario simply has a question and answer. This step helped us to see that there are loads more questions to ask.
‘We’ve got a great responsibility‘ – Dan has said previously that these students in our class will be the ones looking after our economy, schools, hospitals in the near future. Given the amazing power of maths and it’s great potential we are doing students a great disservice by not making things interesting, challenging and engaging. These students will need maths to solve so many of life’s problems.
Thanks Dan for taking such a long trip to visit us. We were glad to see that you had a good time at Hugos, Zumbo and 4 Pines.