Wooranna School in Australia has spent the last 10 years thinking very hard about the pedagogy that underpins their curriculum. They have also remodeled the learning spaces in the school to help facilitate the kind of learning that they see as essential for success in the 21st century. In this film about their experiments there is much talk of independent, resilient learners able to think creatively and collaborate successfully on deep learning projects that link a range of learning disciplines together in extended, self-directed learning journeys.
Ordinarily I wouldn't include the word "learning" four times in the same sentence but I'm making an exception in order to describe this film. I thought it might be useful to see an example of a real school where this kind of learning is happening. We often talk about these things happening at some magical point in the future at Tallis and we are in danger of perpetuating the notion that there are too many barriers in the way to get on with it now. Are there? If so, let's get on with removing them so that the young people at school now can benefit from a really contemporary, exciting, motivating and relevant curriculum.
The title of the film says it all. "Tomorrow's School Today."
Two things struck me about this film. The first is how much responsibility the students are given to co-create the curriculum. The second thing is how adaptable the spaces are for different groupings of staff and students. I worked with a group of thirty students last week and invited them to go and find a space that suited what they wanted to do and how they wanted to work. All the groups behaved responsibly and said that they really enjoyed being able to spread their resources out and have a sense of space. I think the film shows that the standard classroom isn't always the best space and that allowing students fashion their own space will certainly lead to some very engaged and responsible learning.
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