The learning debate is nothing new, it goes way back: Dismbodied Universals vs Contextualised Particulars

In 1896, John and Mary Dewey opened their laboratory school, Dewey wished to ensure that learning was grounded in real-world contexts and activities rather than abstract ideas and rote learning… the educational process should mimic normal social behaviour, as opposed to the regimented kind of work he witnessed in traditional schools. Gislason, N (2009) Building Paradigms: […]

Destination Christchurch 2019: What I learnt about learning?

It’s the learners who matter, not the curriculum, not the teacher, not the timetable, the learners. This past week Christchurch-based colleague, Cheryl Doig and I facilitated a week of professional learning for Sydney-based school leaders. Sharing my reflections here: We visited school working within the NZ system and simultaneously stretching boundaries of ‘what’s possible’. These […]

How might we provide the optimal environment for learners to flourish in STEM?

Short read: The headlines In January 2020, I am leading a professional study tour with a STEM focus, visiting schools, universities and science centres in Scandinavia, Europe and the UK. Across the world, innovation hubs, maker spaces and STEM centres are developed to inspire young (and old) scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.  Where do you find the […]

Is design thinking a nice idea for the creatives-types or a strategy for transformation? 3 ways leaders create the context for transformation by design

https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-right-way-to-lead-design-thinking Leading change today requires a set of skills that is responsive to the collaborative and empathic culture that many organisations now value. In times past, leadership was transactional, aimed at efficiencies and relationships, negotiated within a hierarchical structure. Sustaining a culture that is built on empathy and collaboration, requires an approach that values people […]

Collaboration – where do you begin? Six steps for your design team to get collaborative

A couple of days ago I concluded the three day Design for the Long Haul workshop with the team of teachers from an elementary school in Toronto. The ideas around learning design-thinking, collaboration and empathy mapping were relatively new to most of them. But they were up for the challenge. As a methodology, design-thinking is […]

What could be made possible if schools were driven by empathy?

What could be made possible if schools were driven by empathy? Leadership: A consultative culture prevailsTeachers: Focus on learning design not content deliveryStudents: Feel like they belong and their voice is valued, become co-designers Imagine the scene, I’ve found the perfect sofa. Colour and style matches with my dream for the space. I’ve sat on […]

The Future of Learning: If you only work on TWO SKILLS…

Yesterday I had two conversations that really made me think. First of all, Adrian, a consultant working in the tech sector who’s ahead of the game with technology for learning and work. I was keen to know what’s next in tech, we spoke about the future trends in digital innovation. When I asked about what […]

Four Important Ideas: Learning Environment as the ‘Silent’ Contributor Student Wellbeing

“The physical space influences behaviour and ultimate wellbeing of every member of the community” Dr Helen Street (2018) Student wellbeing is not well-served as an extra program, an add-on to the crowded curriculum, as Dr Street argues in her book, Contextual Wellbeing: Creating positive schools from the inside out, it needs to be part of […]

“Classrooms are just too complicated for research to ever tell teachers what to do”

This is the provocative statement was made by Dylan Wiliams (DW) as he addressed an awards ceremony for teachers in Glasgow recently. (Available tes.com) He suggests that teaching is at best a ‘partial profession’, it’s an unusual job, compared to other professions. As a comparison, medications prescribed by doctors are ‘prescriptive’ as the name suggests. […]

Vale Jens Guldbaek: A personal reflection of an education-revolutionary

Over the past eight years I have been privileged to visit Copenhagen regularly, spending time with Jens Guldbaek, his wife Birte Broens and their daughter Mie Guldbaek Broens. They have become dear friends, and I write this in tribute to Jens. It was with great sadness that we learnt of the recent death of Danish […]