We are 'co-learners'

The power of learning alongside students.

Photo of Dawn Boland
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Breaking down tasks and putting the understanding back together is a joint venture in our classroom. When I stand alongside the students and look through their lens at the task, I see different ideas and perspectives. As an equal, alongside, I can ask questions, challenge thinking and also receive feedback about my work. Its powerful.

I learn so much about how my students are learning. We use the design process to work through the task and reflect at each stage. As the leader, I can direct when they need convergent and divergent thinking and bring them back to the task if they stray too far from the topic.

Alongside my students, I can prototype, work on solving problems and can discuss their progress and record their learning along the way.

When asking colleagues about how they teach 'critical thinking' I hear 'Bloom's' but there are so many strategies we can implement to bring about the recording of evidence of critical thinking in our classrooms especially when we are co-learners in the process.

Alongside and co-learning is empowering as a teacher. Using the Thinking Routines and Dispositions (Harvard Project Zero) we can record thinking as artefacts for reflection. Our intentions can so often be different from our outcomes but this can be enlightening in our road to learning. In a time where learning relationships are the most important aspect of student engagement, in the 'cognitive battle zone' is where I want to be, challenging, solving and learning together with trust and curiosity. Bring on the next task!

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Photo of John Faig

I love this idea too.  Not all teachers are comfortable being a student.  An outside expert could be a good resource as they provide knowledge and skills to the teacher and the teacher hacks it into a form that is more appropriate for their age/level.

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