I’ve been in the museum this week, and in the back of my mind is my paper. The links I can see in the paintings, make sense to my understanding of chapter one, but it is so difficult to clearly articulate my thoughts. Below is an attempt at my opening paragraph.
The places where we reside and work influence our professional and personal lives. Where we live can shape how we live. A sense of place describes the interactions and feelings shared between a place, people and a community to bring forth an understanding of reality for an individual who is in that place. Places teach us how to be in the world and how the world works, moreover, places make us by shaping our identity and culture (Gruenewald 2003). Tuan (1977) was instrumental in shaping how we think about sense of place. Over the years other thinkers (Relph, Massey, Greenwood, and many others) have continued to develop this idea and our understanding of this complex concept is continuing to develop. We know that place impacts our identity in multiple ways, but little research is being conducted into how expatriate international school teachers understand.
I guess I’m wondering how to really put it all together, I wonder how to make it clear to others what I want to study, and how I plan to go about it, I’m worried no one really cares or it won’t matter (but I’ll put those thoughts aside for now).
So I guess, how is this connected to the learning going on in the museum? I’m trying to share stories of place, which I read is important. But in this specific museum is a painting of samui women working. Not many people know of the samsui women, not many people know how important they are for shaping our place (and our identity as a nation). So I’m just trying to help our teachers and students learn a little more about where we live.
Through our assessment course I’ve been thinking a lot about what global standards create. I’ve been wondering a lot lately about how this impacts our students. Do we really think there is an ideal global person? Do we want people to be the same? Can we really compare people who are so different?
When we have standards that focus on the whole world, or perceived global outcomes or expectations, do we limit teachers, students, learning opportunities?
My hope when focusing on a more local learning context is that we show value for diversity. By focusing on things that are different we can broaden our thought process and maybe create a more interesting world? I don’t know.
International Baccalaureate (IB) schools all over the world aim to build an individual’s international mindedness in order to create “good” global citizens who are responsible to and for the world around them. The goal is to use international mindedness in a local context to create globally responsible learners (IBO 2009). In order to explore the effectiveness of their program, some questions need to be addressed. Firstly, what is the role of assessment on a global, national and local level in IB schools? Secondly, who decides what these values are? Finally, is there any way assessment can aid us in the development of becoming a “good” person (either local or global)? By exploring these questions one can see if assessment plays a role in the IB’s development of responsible global citizens.
In Making the
Primary Years Program Happen (MPYPH) the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) asserts it works with local,
national and international organizations
to create engaging learning opportunities with rigorous assessment. Usually
Primary Years Program (PYP) schools use three different levels of assessment;
assessments, curriculum standards based on national frameworks (not necessarily
those of the host country) and local assessments based on what students are
learning based on classroom and local context (IBO 2009).
and national standardized
assessments are useful for international schools to help students prepare for
different schools in different locations and ensure acceptance into
international universities. International assessments can also aid in
monitoring teacher effectiveness. International students are often transient
and move from place to place. In order for students to find success in other
schools, international standards based assessments can help students understand
how their knowledge is measured on a global scale. Students need assurance that
their learning will translate from one place to another, otherwise they may not
be successful in other locations. For learners to be successful in their
transitions, international standards need to be assessed. Moreover, students
will often go to universities in countries other than those where they attend
high school. Universities have to accept people based on academic readiness and
success. For universities to meaningful compare students they have to have
access to similar data points. (Verger, Parcerisa & Fontdevila 2019,
Fischman et al, ). For
international schools it is also important to evaluate and monitor
teachers. Many international schools offer yearly contracts. If a teacher
has classes that consistently fail to meet desired outcomes, they may be asked
to do further professional development.
For international schools, and their stakeholders, international standardized assessments can be a beneficial tool.
For IB schools in particular, positive results can effectively advertise the
benefits of a PYP education (Kushner et al 2016). By excelling at international
standardized exams and
providing a values based education the IBO can show that their method of
teaching and learning is effective and enable students to succeed in a
requires PYP schools to assess the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and
action that arise through the units of inquiry (IBO 2009). Many schools choose
to create their own curriculum based on national standards from a variety of
countries. When creating this curriculum,
school administrators may refer to the knowledge and content being
assessed on the international
standardized assessments. By using
what schools’ perceive to be the most important knowledge they can create a
curriculum framework that suits the learner’s perceived needs.
attention to the local aspects of learning is integral in the PYP. One of the
essential elements of the PYP is taking action (IBO 2009). Action is intended
to make a difference in the local (or near local) community. Throughout
the IB program action is a required part of learning. This is the IB program’s
use of values to create responsible global citizens. This action, although part
of the curriculum and should be assessed is difficult to measure
quantitatively. While the focus of action is on local improvement and on
creating global citizens, most of the assessment is feedback oriented (IBO
2009). This is similar to place based education (Sobel ) where feedback
comes not only from the teachers, but also from the community. Success in this
regard impacts people and is not just a number.
The IB claims
that the PYP is creating global citizens, they empower teachers to look through
various national and international standards in order to create a responsible
global citizen who takes action (IBO 2009). To this end they use international
standardized tests and local or classroom assessments. One might wonder,
who is creating this curriculum and who decides the standards the international
assessments focus on. IB programs focus
on creating a global learner, but what is a global learner? The learner profile
is an important part of the PYP but not many people who are questioning
who created these values and why they are deemed important. Winchip, Milder and
Stevenson (2019) remark that the privatization of education suggests the globalization
of standards. Sahlberg (2016) refers to this idea as a Global Education Reform
Movement or GERM. With a focus on standardization of content, a focus on core
subjects and high stakes testing we lose the opportunity for individualization and
local focus. Privatization of schools and their standards may be a result of corporations
and businesses. Tampio (2019) urges us to look at United Nations focus on
merging business and education to get a better understanding of the importance
of business playing a role in education. If the United Nations focuses on
mixing these two ideas, surely the majority of international schools and
international standardized tests have the same mentality. Edwards (2010) suggest that the decline in
official assistance by the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations
have hindered some access to education. By removing developmental assistance
from schools that need funding businesses can step in to fill the monetary gap.
When businesses become a part of schooling, then it is reasonable to assume
they have a say in some of the directions of the school. The Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) even runs high stakes standardized
assessments (Kuehn 2014). Whether intentionally or otherwise it seems as though
in preparing students for entering into the workforce in the knowledge economy we
are allowing businesses and corporation to set some education policy and standards.
The IBO understands that there are a range of external
situations that school leaders are obligated to respond to, and at times those
situations or pressures can be conflicting (IBO 2009). If the IBO understands such
pressures, what does this organization do to address this situation and create
good students. In Making the PYP Happen (2009) the IBO instructs schools to
build curriculum that addresses the essential elements (knowledge, concepts,
skills, attitudes and action) in relation to the learner profile. The schools
are asked to use this value oriented framework to gather and analyze information
in order to provide feedback to parents and students that clearly states what
the student knows and provides a path for improvement. The IBO embraces values
based education in order to create a responsible global citizen that has the
ability to create a personal set of values who recognize that other people with
different values can also be right. On official reports home the learner
profile, attitudes, skills, concepts, knowledge and any action should be
reported to parents and other stakeholders. While students do take
international standardized assessments our reports home and the majority of our
interactions with parents revolves around the learner profile and orientation
towards learning. By acknowledging the importance of some aspects of
international standardized testing and focusing on the importance of a values
based education the PYP attempts to create globally responsible citizens who
can also integrate into the knowledge economy workforce.
With a focus on multiple forms of assessment from a
variety of international, national and local perspectives does the IBO help in
creating a “good” global citizen? If we take the IBO’s hope that all students
will be “internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity
and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more
peaceful world” (IBO 2009, p. 4).
International standardized assessments are often accused
of pursuing a neoliberal agenda that supports businesses and economies (Kuhen
2014, Rushek 2017, Sahlber 2016, Tampio 2019). Tampio (2019) sees neoliberal scripts
appearing in all aspects of learning. For instance, by focusing on education for
women and girls we assert the neoliberal ideas of autonomy, choice and agency
to improve an individual life. We look at how to help people be more active in
a knowledge based economy and promote these values through school. By using
international assessments built by organizations like OECD, we are encouraging students
to follow neoliberal values, and present these ideas as rational ways of
living. Agency, autonomy and choice are also core values of the PYP. We want to
empower our learners as individuals. In this regard the PYP is developing
internationally minded people (if the goal is we all have autonomy, choice and
empowerment). However, Rushek (2017) acknowledges that not all schools are the
same, neither are the students, systems or communities they serve. Regardless
of these differences international standardized tests still focus on the needs
of the ever-changing knowledge economy with a hope of keeping students
competitive. This reinforces the neoliberal agenda looking for accountability
and measurement of learning. For this reason it seems that although the IBO
understands the external pressures of international standardized tests it does
not create them or require them to be an IB school.
While the IBO assess action, attitudes, and the learner
profile in an attempt to create a “good” person more research is needed to
understand more about what this means. For instance, how can a teacher
accurately provide feedback on action or the amount of curiosity someone shows?
This is a qualitative activity and is difficult to validate. Another aspect
that needs to be researched is who created these values and why. Throughout
MPYPH it seems evident that these values are important, but there is no
evidence that these are truly global or desirable skills or attitudes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about teacher identity, assessment, and just ways of being lately. While reading (and trying to write) I had the chance to slip off to Jeju-do for a week. As an expat, and someone who happily identifies as an “other” in most countries, I’ve been challenged in my classes about assessment.
I’m not quite sure how I am going to link all of this together in my paper, but right now I’m wondering how teacher identity, place based education, international schools and international assessments are all linked together.
Tran and Nhai (2015) discuss this idea that international school identities are (re)constructed through encounters with students from different cultures. When we take the time to reflect on our teaching and our practice it is often shaped by people from a different cultural context, which shapes us as teachers.
So, I guess I’m wondering, if I believe in the value of place based education, that all education is environmental education, and that we need to love a place to save a (or many) place(s) then how does that tension interact with teaching at an international school teaching “international” values.
Can we be truly global or local anymore? If our encounters are (re)constructing our identities how do we know who or where we are?
Tran, L. T., Nhai, T.N. . (2015). Re-imagining teachers’ identity and professionalism under the condition of international education. Teachers and Teaching, 21(8), 958-973.
Slowly trying to get back into the literature review. So going to take some time to (re)look at some of the articles that have really been provoking me.
Gruenwald, usually, but specifically in this chapter is really concerned with how we as teachers can create a more just world. we need to make sure we are using terms properly, use schooling research instead of education research, our words our powerful and shape our perspective. We need to base our learning in places in order to truly understand the diversity of where we are so we can address the differences and relationships between people and places. We need to think deeply about our relationship to places and why and how they are formed that way.
“Without teachers who are sensitive to and knowledgeable about difference among individuals and groups, “other people’s children” can be marginalized, neglected, undervalued, poorly served and even greatly damaged by their experience in school. ” (Gruenwald 2010, p. 139). When we don’t understand the difference or meaning behind places and people we can further damage people and places.
So I guess the question is how do we hyper aware of this? What questions do we need to ask of ourselves, and what are the first steps we need to take?
Gruenewald, D. A. (2010). Place Based Education: Grounding Culturally Responsive Teaching in Geographical Diversity In D. A. Gruenwald, Smith, G.A. (Ed.), Place Based Education in The Global Age: Local Diversity. New York, New York: Routledge.
I can’t fathom learning being static.
Learning cannot be acquired, we can never completely know something. Learning
is a process, a way of being, it is in progress.
From a phenomenological perspective I’ve
always (rather I’ve always thought that I) corrected my thinking and changed
what I believed to be true based on new evidence or encountering new people. For instance, when confronted with a new idea
that fills me with tension, or that I want to explore, others have told me I
can be argumentative. My desire is not
to fill people with anxiety or to initiate conflict, but I want to deconstruct
new ideas, and sometimes I ask questions a little too passionately in order to
make sure I fully understand these new concepts. During my Master’s courses one of my fellow
learners suggest I paid more attention to my “dark side”. She argued that by understanding the ideas I didn’t
want to explore I would improve my ability to argue what I believed. We had a passionate conversation where I tried
to deconstruct her thought process in order to understand the benefits. After hearing her arguments, I decided that
her way of thinking could be very beneficial to my work. When we talked about it afterwards she thought
I was being far too aggressive in my arguments, so after that day I tried to
change both my thinking and my practice. Just because I have a way of being now, my
ontology is one that can change (and should change) in order for me to continue
learning and growing. As this example
illustrates, I believe I may be a constructivist with my thinking as this
quotation resonates deeply with me; “For the most part, constructivist accounts
are not much concerned with assembling or
building as they are with discarding and revising” (Davis & Sumara 2003, p. 126). When working with others, or on my own I
reflect on my beliefs and why I believe something. After thought and
conversations I am able to rebuild or remodel my thinking in order to become a
(hopefully) more effective learner and person.
Going through this course has been an
eye-opener for a number of reasons. While
I’ve always considered myself more of a dynamic learner and a teacher, it was
interesting for me to see what aspects of behaviourism, situated cognition and
expert knowledge resonated with me. Certain aspects of constructivism have also
irked me in some way, and as a result, I’ve been feeling this tension to be
better able to describe my own epistemology and ontology as well as inquire
into how this relates to my dissertation. When I think about the ideas from the papers
that have filled me with tension, it is not solely because I disagree with the
concepts. Some of the points on the
table (see attached), that have made me prod deeply into myself are because I
disagree with them. Others are there
because they resonate too deeply within me and I want to embrace and embody
different values. Some of the points
make me feel as though I’m looking into a mirror and I’m not completely happy
with what I see.
When first confronted with Skinner’s (1958)
article, I thought I would disagree with everything he said. Behaviourism is a bad word in the
International Baccalaureate world, and I thought there would be little I could
relate to. However, it seems like
Skinner was trying to gamify education. He wanted immediate results that students
could apply directly to their learning. From
a motivation perspective he thought, “In the light of this present knowledge a
school system must be called a failure if it cannot induce students to learn
except by threatening them for not learning.” (Skinner 1958, p. 977) I wonder
how often we make small threats in class. As a teacher who is outside most of the time,
I know that boundaries are important. At
times there have been threats to stop the engagements if people could not
respect the places we were occupying. In
hindsight, I am worried that these kinds of threats are really me making up for
my lack of engaging the students properly. If I have to resort threats instead of
motivating students to learn, have I failed our students? This idea strongly resonated with me, I
believe that if we can think about how students learn, and what they want from
the learning we are better able to “induce students to learn”.
When at school we are often far removed from what real people
are doing. “Archetypal school activity
is very different from what we have in mind when we talk of authentic activity,
because it is very different from what authentic practitioners do” (Brown,
Collins & Duguid 1989, p. 34). When
teaching, I am often guilty of removing students from natural and authentic
learning opportunities. If I identify as
a socio-constructivist I should be looking at how the culture and society play
a part in our learning, but I feel that I (and many of my colleagues) unintentionally
remove students from authentic opportunities. Situated cognition has reminded me that it is
important to critically think about the places and parts students will learn in
Glasser (1992) suggests that, “To
optimise teaching, we need to design practice in which learners are encouraged
to make connections between principles and
procedures” (p.270). Experts in the community, and expert
environmentalists, are systems thinkers. They are able to see patterns and make
suggestions for improvements or draw conclusions based on these patterns. Although I am hesitant to be an expert in
class, expert thinking feels like something I agree with. If we can teach students to think about the
patterns they see and wonder about how these patterns are connected, I believe
we will help them learn more effectively.
Vygotsky’s ideas surrounding
socio-constructivism have always resonated with me. I don’t believe (and I find it hard to
understand that others believe) things are isolated. As an environmental educator, I believe things
are connected. I look for systems and
wonder how they work. “A final impetus to understanding how
social and cultural factors influence cognition is the perspective that
thought, learning and knowledge are not just influenced by
social factors but are social phenomena” (Palincsar 1998, p.349). Learning and knowledge are not something that
can be separated from community. Where we
are shapes who we are and how we interact with the world around us. For the past six years I’ve had a blog,
before this course I never thought about how this resonated with my
socio-constructivist beliefs. Recently I
put my first draft of this paper on the blog and I got a response from someone
I did not know, it is interesting to see how other’s views shape this paper,
and how so much of what I do is influenced by the community around me (virtually
In particular, the “outside – in” model
(Lourenço 2012, p. 287) is one I resonate with deeply. I believe this idea is extended a little
further where knowledge and ideas come also from beyond our culture to the
place(s) around us. As both an environmental educator, and someone who believes
in God I see most knowledge being situated outside of myself. I try to pay close attention to the things
going around me and work with others to create an understanding of what may be
happening and what truths can be understood through our observations. Since the knowledge was and is never really
mine, I don’t believe I can transmit it to someone else. I believe I can share my thinking and that may
resonate with other people, or perhaps their thinking can influence or change
mine. When I think of where most things
are (physical, knowledge-based or meta-physical) I can’t see them as residing
in me, or being at home in me. If this is true then, most knowledge must come
from the outside and (briefly?) rest with me as I continue to wonder and
Like both Piaget and Vygotsky, I believe
knowing is a way of organising your thinking and understanding the world around
you. Piaget suggested we reconstruct the
concepts around us individually, while Vygotsky thought this was a social construction
(Lorenco 2012). I do not believe that we
can reduce knowledge to simple facts, or break learning down into specific
chunks that we can transfer to others. We
make sense of the world by understanding how things are working in a moment, we
react differently to a variety of teaching styles, content and people. “Social norms and physical knowledge are contingent
in their very nature for they change with the passage of time” (Lorenco 2012,
p. 189). If learning were just items of
knowledge to be delivered and we could find an optimal delivery method, then it
would make sense if we were all able to learn most things. However, our understandings of the world
change how we approach the world. This means although we are all capable of
learning, we don’t all learn the same way, or express our knowledge in the same
fashion. Although students can build their own “necessary knowledge” from
a Piagetian perspective, these ideas are still universal truths. (Lorenco 2012)
As teachers we need to make sure we are understanding what the students are
expressing and providing opportunities to change how the classroom is working
in order to meet the needs of all learners. Vygotsky notes that “[t]he investigator must…view
concept formation as a function of the adolescent’s total social and cultural
growth, which affects not only the contents but also the method of his thinking”
(Lorenco 2012, p.286).
One of the tensions that I am exploring in
this course is I can believe that knowledge comes from outside in, but real
construction comes from the meaning making I do internally. If I really believed in social constructivism,
I wonder if I would never have left Canada. What gave me the ability to walk away from my
society and culture if I really am a product of the things around me? What developed my questioning ability if the
people I grew up with seemed satisfied in my hometown? Exploring this difference in social
construction is one aspect I need to explore. More than this I wonder what else is involved
in social constructivism. I mean, where does motivation play a part, what about
the content, how is the more than human world involved? While I thought I believed fully in
constructivism, I can’t figure out where these things play a part. Exploring these tensions and wondering why
the things that resonate with me feel comfortable will be an important aspect
of the “work” I do in this class to prepare for my dissertation. If I know who I am as a learner, and then how
assessment plays a role I can clarify my epistemology which will help me
communicate the importance of a sense of place in education.
Brown, J.S., Collins,
A., Duguid, P. (1989). Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning. Educational Researcher. 18:1 32-42
Davis, B. & Sumara,
D. (2003) Why Aren’t They Getting This? Working through the regressive myths of
constructivist pedagogy. Teaching
Education, 14:2, 123-140, DOI: 10.1080/1047621032000092922
Glaser, R. (1992).
Expert knowledge and processes of thinking. In D. F. Halpern (Ed.), Enhancing
thinking skills in the sciences and mathematics (pp. 63-75).
Hillsdale, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
Lave, J. (1991).
Situating learning in communities of practice. In L. B. Resnick, J. M. Levine,
& S. D. Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition (pp.
63-82). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/10096-003
Lourenco, Orlando. (2012). Piaget and
Vygotsky: Many resemblances, and a crucial difference. New Ideas in Psychology, 30, 281-295
Palincsar, A.S. (1998). Social
Constructivist Perspectives on Teaching and Learning. Annual Review Psychology. 49, 345-375
“When an examination is corrected and returned after a delay of many
hours or days, the student’s behaviour is not appreciably modified. (p. 969)
“Composing a set of frames can be an exciting exercise in the analysis
of knowledge.” (p. 975)
“In assigning certain mechanisable functions to machines, the teachers
emerges in his role as an indispensable human being.” (p. 976)
“In the light of this present knowledge a school system must be called
a failure if it cannot induce students to learn except by threatening them
for not learning.” (p. 977)
“Coordinate with these abilities, experts in science and mathematics
often make use of qualitative reasoning to approach a problem that will
require quantitative solution” (p. 263)
“Experts perceive large meaningful patterns” (p. 264)
“To optimise teaching, we need to design practice in which learners
are encouraged to make connections between principles and procedures.” (p.
“Given the chance to observe and practice in situ the behavior
of members of a culture, people pick up relevant jargon, imitate behavior,
and gradually start to act in accordance with its norms.” (p. 34)
“Archetypal school activity is very different from what we have in
mind when we talk of authentic activity, because it is very different from
what authentic practitioners do.” (p. 34)
“Authentic activity, as we have argued, is important for learners,
because it is the only way they can gain access to the standpoint that
enables practitioners to act meaningfully and purposefully.” (p. 36)
“… it was difficult to communicate this point to the teachers in a
manner that would not be taken as a challenge to their personal or
professional integrities.” (p. 124)
“…constructivists are usually aligned more with the Darwinian model
of structural fluidity and ongoing adaptation than with the Cartesian
assumption of linear causality and steady progress.” (p. 125)
“For the most part, constructivist accounts are not much concerned
with assembling or building as they are with discarding and
“It is understood that while learning might be dependent on
teaching, it is never determined by teaching.” (p.130)
“A final impetus to understanding how social and cultural factors
influence cognition is the perspective that thought, learning and knowledge
are not just influenced by social factors but are social phenomena.” (p.349)
“Merely having the right answer was not consistently enough to
persuade the other child.” (p.351)
“These semiotic means are both the tools that facilitate the
co-construction of knowledge…” (p.353)
“Developing an identity as a member of a community and becoming
knowledgeably skillful are part of the same process, with the former
motivating, shaping and giving meaning of the latter, which it subsumes.”
“The theoretical view emphasizes the relational interdependency of
agent and world, activity, meaning, cognition, learning, and knowing.” (p.67)
“This conception of learning activity draws attention to the complex
ways in which persons and communities of practice constitute themselves and
each other.” (p.74)
Ideas that fill me with tension
“Making sure that the student knows he doesn’t know is a technique
concerned with motivation, not the learning process” (p. 975)
“He has found that students do not pay attention unless they are
worried about the consequences of their work.” (p.975)
“In the guise of teaching thinking we set difficult and confusing
situations and claim credit for the students who deal with them successfully.”
“The acquisition of competent performance takes place in an
interpersonal system in which participation and guidance from others
influences the understanding of new situations and the management of problem
solving that leads to learning. (p271 & 272)
“If, as we propose, learning is a process of enculturating that is
supported in part through social interaction and the circulation of
narrative, groups of participants are particularly important, for it is only
within groups that social interaction and conversation can take place.” (p.
“Piaget further suggested that the social exchanges between children
were more likely to lead to cognitive development than exchanges between
children and adults.” (Palinscar, p. 350)
“Development occurs as children learn general concepts and principles
that can be applied to new tasks and problems, whereas from a Piagetian
perspective, learning is constrained by development.” (Palinscar, p.353)
“This is a particular challenge in Western societies in which
individualistic traditions have prevailed.” p.355)
“It is hard to imagine a more significant challenge to social
constructivism than promoting meaningful learning for all children,
especially for those who are linguistically and culturally diverse.” (p.368)
“To commoditize labor, knowledge and participation in communities of
practice is to diminish possibilities for sustained development of identities
of mastery.” (p.65)
“If becoming a master is not possible in such circumstances, the value
of accruing to knowledgeable skill when it is subsumed in the identity of
mastery devolves elsewhere or disappears.” (p.76)
One of our readings this week focused on the right to education for all children. When people, especially teachers in international schools think of this as a target we definitely hit. However, this reading unpacked some of the deeper understandings of what it means to guarantee education as a human right.
Article 12 (1) of the UNCRC states that:
“States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”
Welty and Lundy (2013) unpack this further looking at different domains of space, voice, audience and influence.
When we are giving space to children to learn, Welty and Lundy (2013) argue that we need to ask students what matters to them, we also need to ask if they want to participate in activities. At times as teachers we need to ensure that we are not marginalising or alienating students. Although (I hope) no teachers intentionally alienate students, I wonder how often in international schools we do this by seeing things from only our perspective. I know that I have not often asked wether or not students want to participate in an activity or feel like they shouldn’t participate.
From an assessment point of view, I wonder how often we limit students’ ability to share their voice. Do we only accept one form of assessment, do we encourage students to show diverse ways of knowing (writing, oral presentations, art works) or do we make all students submit their learning in the same way?
For audience and influence, Welty and Lundy (2013) look at how we don’t often give students an appropriate audience. Often our audience is the teacher or their classmates, we don’t have them present to someone who has the power to make decisions.
This was a really engaging, and short article. The most powerful bit for me was that we are not just preventing students from a pedagogically sound way of learning, we are breaking a binding agreement by not including student voice. Such an interesting thing to think about.
E. Welty and L. Lundy (2013), “A children’s rights-based approach to involving children in decision making”, JCOM 12(03): C02.