Not much

As previously blogged, I’m doing Inquiry-based learning with my Year 11 Information Processes and Technology (IPT) class. Our topic now is Analysis and our focus question is “What price a dream?”.

The class has been working on this for a few lessons now and yesterday I asked if they felt they were learning. One responded with “Not much“. I didn’t take offence because it is literally better than “nothing” (what they used to say until I got them to reflect regularly, i.e. stop long enough to think of what they have learned). Besides, the relevant syllabus content really isn’t difficult; if I were to teach it lecture-style, I would cover in 1 lesson, what has taken us 4, so far.


I got thinking…..

and this is what came of it…..

I started the lesson with this on the board:

Inquiry-based learning

  1. contextual (inquiry)
  2. self-directed
  3. personalised

I told them that when I started, I found them unmotivated and disengaged (also mentioned in my Inquiry-based Learning post). I mentioned that doing Inquiry would perhaps get them engaging more with the content. So the first one was on Cloud Storage and this one now on a life dream for Analysis. Many students nod at this stage realising that indeed they engaged with the syllabus content within the said contexts as well as that their inquiry journeys were largely self-directed and personalised.

I then drew this, explaining as I went:

For all those examples, I named names. I identified students who were showing learning the syllabus, extending their learning, and even abstracting. Seeing individual faces light up as their little gems were acknowledged is priceless!!! (#youmatter) As it turned out, students loved these “shout-outs” (as they call it).

It’s probably best to just “quote” myself here:

If you think you haven’t learned much, it’s because you haven’t pushed yourself enough. My job as a teacher is not to just tell you about things but to give you contexts for learning, opportunities to learn, challenge you and give you feedback. Self-directed learning requires discipline and motivation.

I’m here. Are you asking enough questions? When you ask questions, I answer back – often with a question. But, I meet you where you’re at. Some of you work harder than others, and that’s ok. And those of you who’ve sought my feedback have learned more.

So, are you asking enough questions? Because really, if you’re curious enough, there is no limit to what you can learn.

To be honest, I lost a few along the way but many stayed with me through my mini speech cum reflection cum challenge. One even applauded. Not surprisingly, it was the one who said ‘not much’ yesterday; and today, he got more than he ever expected to learn in an IPT class. In fact, he even asked if I had different approaches for different classes (sounds familiar, yes?) I answered him and added, “Inquiry seems to be working best for me and that means this class“. One of these days, I will post about the “how” I’m doing this with my year 11s.


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17 thoughts on “Not much

  1. Ed says:

    I like this on so many levels!
    1. You are not scared of student feedback.
    2. In such a short time, you seem to know your students well.
    3. You discuss the why and the how with the students, not just the what.
    4. You value process more than product.
    5. You don’t mind the time it takes for students to discover and uncover for themselves, even though you could lecture it faster.
    6. You understand learning (not all teachers do!)

    • malyn says:

      You give such wonderful comments!!!

      And all you said is true. you know me well. and that pleases me very much! 🙂

  2. Denise Krebs says:

    I love your challenge to your students to engage in the learning and take advantage of your presence to help them learn. I want so much for my year 7 & 8 students to take more ownership of their learning. It is exciting to read blogs of other teachers with a similar passion.

    Your explanation of the #youmatter shout outs you gave your students really are priceless! What better way to engage the students than to fill their buckets with belief in themselves and their ability to learn. Brava!

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. Melissa Carson says:

    This is astounding compared to what those students would be used to. Loving your work & thanks for commenting on my awesome hairclip yesterday – you really do notice people. Keep the faith at the OC it will tear at your very soul but you can do amazing work.

    • malyn says:

      Thank you Melissa for your lovely comment. Mentioning the hairclip helps me put a face to the name – I just realised, we haven’t really “met”…must fix that next week!!!!

      I am enjoying OC very much – waaay more than I thought I would. I will miss it when I leave – especially my boys – and couple of girls!

  4. Denise Lombardo says:

    Just thought you should know I really like your style…or practice…or approach! Seriously, your students are so lucky to have someone who sees THEM. Sure you know this, but educate in latin is to lead or draw out, and your work is true to what real education should be. Lovely stuff.

  5. Denise Krebs says:

    My favorite part of this post is hearing about the “shout outs” you gave to your big kids. I can just see them appreciating all the good things you had noticed about their learning. What a great way to encourage them. We all need and want our buckets filled, don’t we?

    You inspire me, Malyn!

    • malyn says:

      Thank you Denise for trying to comment. I love them – i know you said they’re duplicates but not really so will keep them both.

      You’re right about the shout-outs. I think that’s what really opened the door for me. Even those who did not get mentioned realised that I am noticing them as individuals and giving praise where it’s due.

      It is a feel good sort of post, ain’t it? Just remembering that lesson fills me with joy.


  6. Michelle Gleeson says:

    Just lovely Malyn!! It is so nice to see their little (big) faces light up, and to recognise them each for their own improvement, but your use of their technology for the shout outs is very inspired – might have to ask you how to set that up – I had a twitter account once upon a time but there is so much potential there!
    As for ‘not much’ – and the reflection that got them there from ‘nothing’ – just wait until they tell you ‘heaps!’
    xx michelle

    • malyn says:

      Had to double-take on the Gleeson bit. I forget!

      Thank you. I’ve had another request on my scaffolding – which includes the tech that I use – so will do that. However, I’m always happy to discuss f2f with you. You know that, right?

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