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Crossblogged from Hynessight

Modern pedagogy - a reflection on the VLN discussion.

There has been an interesting debate on the VLN (Virtual Learning Network) in the last few months, about what Modern Learning Pedagogy (MLP) really means.  The conversation was started by Neill Reilly who questioned why is is called modern pedagogy and not just effective pedagogy.  

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies 7 effective pedagogies (pages 34 to 36) but then goes on to say that teachers should be investigating how digital technologies can transform teaching and learning.  The most succinct answer to Neill's question, I think, came from Bernice Swain fairly early in the piece - that modern pedagogy was more than just 21st Century best practice.  She suggested "self-regulated learning, student centred programmes and individualised programmes, collaborative teaching, ubiquitous use of technology and 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere' learning" were the essential elements of a modern pedagogy.  

The debate has raged on, but going back to Bernice's words has echoed for me that she captured the essence of modern learning pedagogies.  Derek Wenmoth stepped into the discussion fairly early on to remind us that the NZC gives us the permissions to pursue modern learning pedagogies.  Yes, we have the permission but now more than ever, some teachers and leaders are actually looking at using the permissions to move forward. The trouble is, time short educators want quick answers and I am not sure that there are any quick answers.

Linda Barran added valid points - that our best practice needs to develop learners who are equipped with the 21st century skills of creativity and critical thinking, learners making use of collaboration and connectivity.  Very reminiscent of the 6 Cs  infographic that I blogged about earlier but are these perhaps more outcomes of the pedagogy rather than the "type of pedagogy" that develops these skills.

The themes of future oriented teaching and learning are extremely well discussed by Gilbert and Bolstad et al and it seems to me that the ideas about MLP's that are discussed in the debate on the VLN could easily be placed under the 6 headings of the themes.

Supporting future.....
  1. Personalised learning (any time, anywhere, incorporating self regulation or learner agency of choice and control)
  2. new views of equity and diversity (capitalising and developing individual strengths for the benefit of all to make a stronger community)
  3. new relationships with community (anywhere, anytime, relevance, use of digital technologies to support)
  4. using knowledge to build learning power (metacognition)
  5. lifelong learning for educators and leaders (working towards what works best for individual learners, reflecting on the learning, adjusting, trying new techniques and technologies
  6. new roles for teachers and learners (collaboration)
 
Paul Wilkinson asked what headings in a book on collaborative teaching could be.  I wish he would write this book because it seems to me to probably be the least understood concept for many practising teachers. Sarah (sghailes) reinforced this for me by saying that collaborative teaching needs to be facilitated and coached.  It is so much more than team teaching.  It involves shared vision, evidence, goals, defined roles and relational trust.  You must be prepared to be disrupted.
 
Derek Wenmoth re-entered the debate in the last few days of September, He rightly questioned some of the assumptions that Neill made in the beginning, and then asserted that we really need to bring the whole pedagogies discussion "out of the closet" and think about the "new pedagogies" in terms of emergent opportunities and affordances of technologies  to "enable the deeper engagement with knowledge, completion of tasks and connections with others as a part of the learning process."  He is working with Fullan on this at the moment. I, for one, look forward to hearing more.

 

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Comment by Hazel Owen on October 13, 2015 at 22:09

Great summary of a lively, robust discussion, Leigh - thank you. 

I was struck by Bernice Swain's suggestion that modern pedagogy included "self-regulated learning, student centred programmes and individualised programmes, collaborative teaching, ubiquitous use of technology and 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere' learning" were the essential elements of a modern pedagogy". This covers the learner, the teacher, the location(s) of learning, and some of the tools. For me, it doesn't overtly include parents, the community, the policy-makers, business folks, and assessment / QA organisations such as NZQA. And I wonder if, in part, this is one of the reasons that there is ongoing misinterpretation and patchy uptake.

Admittedly, change is never comfortable, and people will embrace it with differing degrees of enthusiasm. However, I wonder if, in the case of new pedagogies because there is significant investment (financial as well as practice and understanding of what education as an institution 'does') in the teacher / school-centred model of learning and teaching there is more resistance than usual!? The water is further muddied by an expectation that after a year the adoption of new pedagogy students' achievement in standardised tests will show improvements, and this is the main way of illustrating return on investment. Without it, many people remain unconvinced. 

So, until we overtly include in discussions of new pedagogy, in a meaningful way, parents, the community, the policy-makers, business folks, and assessment / QA organisations such as NZQA, I suspect we may still be arguing the details long into the future. Pockets of innovation and amazing practice are likely to be ongoing, but for large-scale change...?

What do you reckon? :)

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