Learning Power

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Learning Power

  1. 1. Learning how to learn: the dynamic assessment of learning power Ruth Deakin Crick The Curriculum Journal 18 :135-153 (June 2007) Bioscience PedR Journal Club, November 2007 Reflections led by Chris Willmott (cjrw2@le.ac.uk)
  2. 2. Assessment and learning <ul><li>Assessment as key (school) curriculum tool for facilitating learning and teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Existing assessment instruments assess intelligence or educational achievement but not a person’s capacity to learn </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is arguably our characteristics as learners and what we bring to any particular learning situation that will be the most important quality for us to be able to measure in the unpredictable and ever- changing world of the twenty-first century” * </li></ul>* Taken from Deakin Crick et al (2004) Assessment in Education 11 :247-272
  3. 3. Station 3 Publicly-required and Personally-values Skills e.g. managing situations, active citizenship, managing ambiguity Learning as a journey Station 1 The Learning Self identity, relationships, stories, aspirations Station 2 Personal Qualities values, attitudes, dispositions for learning Station 4 Publicly-assessed and Valued Knowledge
  4. 4. Station 3 Publicly-required and Personally-values Skills e.g. managing situations, active citizenship, managing ambiguity Learning as a journey Station 1 The Learning Self identity, relationships, stories, aspirations Station 2 Personal Qualities values, attitudes, dispositions for learning Station 4 Publicly-assessed and Valued Knowledge “ Learning power”
  5. 5. Learning power: core dimensions <ul><li>Changing and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Critical curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning-making </li></ul><ul><li>Dependence and fragility </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships/interdependence </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic awareness </li></ul>
  6. 6. Changing and learning Learning ability is fixed, stuck and static Challenging situations expose limitations and ‘failure’ Learning as a lifelong process, can be learnt Challenging situations as opportunity to develop and grow Negative Positive
  7. 7. Critical curiosity Passive learners More likely to accept ‘received wisdom’ uncritically ‘ Surface’ strategies Unlikely to actively engage in speculation A desire to find out – ‘getting at the truth’ Willing to question ‘received wisdom’ ‘ Deep’ strategies Willing to reveal their questions and uncertainties in public Negative Positive
  8. 8. Meaning-making Respond to new learning on individual merits in piecemeal fashion Interested in criteria for successful performance Happy to live with fragmented knowledge Look for connections between new learning and prior knowledge Interested in the ‘big picture’, making sense of their experience Enjoy pursuing coherence Negative Positive
  9. 9. Dependence and fragility Easily disheartened Prefer less challenging situations Easily disheartened when make mistakes or get stuck Self-esteem (in learning) likely to depend on other people and external factors Resilient Like a challenge – willing to ‘give it a go’ Willing to make occasional mistakes but learn from them Accept learning is sometimes hard but ‘hang in’ - stickabililty Negative Positive
  10. 10. Creativity Rule bound Like to know exactly what’s expected of them May function well in familiar activities Less imaginative Understand learning needs playfulness as well as being purposeful Happy to follow a train of thought without knowing where it will end up Enjoy playing with ideas Receptive to hunches and inklings Negative Positive
  11. 11. Relationships/interdependence May either be over-dependent on others or fail to engage properly with others Achieve a healthy balance between independent and social learning Like to learn with and from others, when appropriate Recognise the value of watching and emulating Negative Positive
  12. 12. Strategic awareness Robotic May confuse self-awareness with self-consciousness Reflective Good at self-evaluation Good at judging the time and resources a task will require Happy to try alternative approaches Can cope with frustration and disappointment Negative Positive
  13. 13. Assessment for learning power <ul><li>Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) profile </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment tool = 72-item questionnaire, learners report on themselves at a particular point in time </li></ul><ul><li>5-pt Likert scale from Almost Never to Nearly Always </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dynamic assessment with interactionist orientation” </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on… “facilitating improved learner performance” (Lidz, 1991) </li></ul><ul><li>Follows Vygotskian philosophy: “we must not measure the child, we must interpret the child” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Example questions from ELLI* <ul><li>I expect to go on learning for a long time </li></ul><ul><li>Getting to the bottom of things is more important to me than getting a good mark </li></ul><ul><li>I like to learn about things that really matter to me </li></ul><ul><li>If I wait quietly, good ideas sometimes just come to me </li></ul><ul><li>When I have trouble learning something, I tend to get upset </li></ul><ul><li>I often change the way I do things as a result of what I have learned </li></ul><ul><li>I like working on problems with other people </li></ul>* Taken from Deakin Crick et al (2004) Assessment in Education 11 :247-272
  15. 15. Profile of individual
  16. 16. Profile of class High Moderate Low Self-reported level in each dimension
  17. 17. Research in this paper <ul><li>This is only one of several related accounts of the ELLI project </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative – classroom practices </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ perceptions of T&L practices that strengthened learning powers </li></ul><ul><li>Average two meetings per term with researcher </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ written reflections and examples of pupil work (inc photos), plus focus groups & questionnaires </li></ul>
  18. 18. Findings (1) <ul><li>Teachers varied their response to ELLI profiles </li></ul><ul><li>All found ELLI profile of individual students was in keeping with their own perception and knowledge of students </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher commitment to learner-centred values was a critical factor </li></ul><ul><li>“ The teachers themselves were the most important vehicles for development in their students of the seven dimensions of learning power” </li></ul><ul><li>Centrality of learner-teacher relationship, but also other relationships in class, at home, in community </li></ul>
  19. 19. Findings (2) <ul><li>Use of metaphors to describe the learning dimensions (particularly for young children) </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of modelling and imitation – by teacher, but also by stronger students, e.g. ‘listening in on’ higher-order thinking and problem-solving, but also ways of managing feelings/openness </li></ul><ul><li>Linking the learning powers to learning purposes , inc the public exams </li></ul><ul><li>Need to actively prioritise time for reflection – for individuals, with learning buddies and whole group </li></ul>
  20. 20. Findings (3) <ul><li>Using ELLI to develop students’ self-awareness about their learning, to develop student-owned strategies and targets for change (i.e. Assessment for learning) </li></ul><ul><li>Degree of choice wrt how and what students learned - ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Sequencing and framing of material – to stimulate curiosity, creativity, meaning-making. Including explicit links to experiences outside school. Encourage students to see and make connections. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers developing toolkit of strategies </li></ul>
  21. 21. Discussion & conclusions <ul><li>ELLI as tool for diagnosis and development of strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Development of self-awareness, ownership and responsibility for learning – intentional learners </li></ul><ul><li>“ Quality, authenticity and face validity of the profiles… reflect back to learners and teachers what the learners already say about themselves, and stimulate purposeful learning.” </li></ul><ul><li>Call for curricula to place greater emphasis on learning to learn </li></ul>
  22. 22. Application to our context <ul><li>Biological Sciences (at Leicester) can have excessive focus on fact-regurgitation </li></ul><ul><li>Might a “learning power” assessment be a more effective tool for PDP than our current practice? </li></ul><ul><li>We know our students struggle to engage “unless it counts”, i.e. unless there are marks </li></ul><ul><li>We need to demonstrate the crucial need for active development of one’s own learning skills </li></ul>
  23. 23. Acknowledgement & Disclaimer <ul><li>These slides are from a presentation to the School of Biological Sciences Pedagogic Research group at the University of Leicester, 26 th November 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>With the exception of the penultimate slide, on possible applications of the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory model in the local context, all of the work discussed here is derived from two papers by Ruth Deakin Crick and colleagues at the University of Bristol. The credit is entirely theirs. </li></ul>Deakin Crick R. et al (2004) Developing an Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory: the ELLI project Assessment in Education 11 :247-272 Deakin Crick R. (2007) Learning how to learn: the dynamic assessment of learning power The Curriculum Journal 18 :135-153

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