As a school, we have been developing a model of learning as a foundation starting point for the school. Initially, we built this around the John Edwards model of 'The Pit' where teachers, students and parents understand the process of learning and associated feelings and language to support the journey from the unknown to learning success. The purpose of our shift is in the empowerment and development of student agency in their learning. Understanding and being able to talk about the learning process is integral to be able to make this step.
The next step in the journey was to define a model of learning that works for our school, based on the principles of 'The Pit' but bringing in our ownership. Teachers played with the model and language that goes with the learning journey and began to define the model in context. Not only did we begin to hear and see children talking about learning from a more knowing place, but we also saw symbolic ropes appearing in classrooms to signify 'throwing a rope' to help students still in the pit and to empower those that have been successful in their journey.
Across the school, we saw roller coasters of learning and pathways of learning all shaped like a pit but the one that caught our attention was the visual of a learning wave. The wave flowed like the learning journey we were on, had the same analogy of moving down into the wave similar to the pit and we liked the idea of learning having a tipping point, where prior learning tipped you over into your next wave. It also allowed us to recognize that waves like learning come in different sizes at different times and certain waves are large and more difficult to conquer.
At this point, we were also introduced to the concept of the Sigmoid Curve, again which had the same flow of the learning journey that we were looking for. We also saw this as a specific learning journey tool as the engineers of education as it gave the concept of an optimum point of learning when the learner needs to step of one learning wave and join the next before they begin to plateau. It also taught us that in the journey we need to be aware of where the learner is so as not to introduce new learning to early on in the process when the journey has not been maximised.
This then led us to our final part in the journey where we are now in developing our model, where we are looking to combine both the Sigmoid Curve to reinforce to teachers the importance of their role in the learning wave. Alongside the wave model which we will use across our learning in the school. Once we have a shared and embedded understanding of the model across the school we aim to add the language of learning to the model matched to stage and age.
I wanted to update this post following the progress that we have made in the development of a model that works for us in our context. We have taken our initial waves model and further enhanced using our understanding of the learning process. Our focus for this has been the process of wondering which leads to a dive into new learning and entering the discovery phase where we explore and build on our understanding of a concept in order to move on to the application of that knowledge in order to build depth and mastery.
While this is happening the teacher and educator need to have an awareness of where they are in that learning wave to ensure that the learning flow doesn't drop off or the wave overcomes you. This is where the sigmoid curve supports us to think when is the right time to begin wondering about our next wave and thus creating an Optimal Learning Zone. When we have achieved what we wanted to know but are now being led into deeper learning opportunities and further questions to wonder about.
Essential to this process are our I-Care learning dispositions that underpin this model and are the building blocks of the learning process to help students move further through the learning curve and understand how they learn in order that they can drive and own this themselves.
As illustrated by these children in Y4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbj_le2Ddh0