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Teachers work constantly with students of varying degrees of ability.  For true equity to be achieved all student would begin with the same level of ability, teachers would deliver the same material in the same way and everyone would grow up to have the job of their dreams.  This is far from the reality of teaching.  Current research suggests that future workplaces with require employees who self manage, collaborate, set and achieve their own goals and the employees expect to have fun while they do it.  An education system that makes judgements about student ability on IQ tests is operating from a deficit perspective and is making the assumption that all student learning is completed in isolation from other students.  IQ tests also don’t take into account the pre learning home environment.  Student who arrive at school without much pre – school stimulation and bound to be behind students who come from enriched home environments and will sadly remain behind for the rest of their learning lives.  IQ tests don’t acknowledge whether the testing is completed with the good will of the subject. Working in high schools I constantly see students ‘bomb’ out on tests that they are more than capable of completing because of emotional trauma, disinterest, lack of relevance and plain old distemper.  Students who have lower ‘IQ’ are able to complete the course requirements with assistance and most learning assistants are savvy about not completing the work for the student.

Old school approaches to teaching and learning required a strong emphasis on the memorisation of ‘facts’ which were agreed and finite because of access to information.  People seemed ‘smart’ if they could remember what they were taught about geography, biology, language including spelling, Presidents of different countries and whatever else was the agreed and accepted limited curriculum.  The attitudes to learning were that it was the way to get ahead, a way to improve your life and teachers were treated with respect and awe because of their high level of ‘knowledge’ of all curriculums.  Times have changed dramatically.  Knowledge is still power.  With the information explosion students are not able to absorb the whole knowledge that is available.  Teachers question the validity of knowing all the Presidents of the world in alphabetical order or knowing the exact map reference for all the rivers in a country.  With GPS navagation soon reading maps will be a skill of the past.  The internet has replaced expensive volumes of encyclopedias that some parents used to mortgage their houses to afford to help their kids stay ahead of the rest of the pack.  Education has become more wholistic with far less education in the home as homework becomes increasingly a thing of the past.  Students use communication technologies to have social schedules that are full.

IQ testing becomes less and less relevant in this technological age of skills rather than knowledge.  Even well designed tests have biases.  Whilst there may be legitimate science behind the design of the tests, what is the point of giving someone a number?? Only those that suspect they have a high IQ are actually interested in finding out.  Mental prowess is useful in a number of different forums but lets face it, there is employment out there that requires a little bit of common sense and a moderate amount of on the job training.  What use is a high IQ?? More often than not a huge amount of memorised information is mistaken for a high IQ anyway.

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I have had an interesting philosophical journey about assessment over the course of my decade of practice.  Whilst that doesn’t seem very long in the scheme of things, I have worked in 3 settings and seen a broad spectrum of students.  I remain conflicted about what is the best way to provide feedback to students.  It has been governed by the best practice requirements of the school I have attended and my own professional judgement.  Initially it was good enough to correct errors in the work, write a few comments about how to improve particular parts of the task and record and grade in my markbook.  The marks were then tallied at the end of the semester to come up with an overall grade.  This was an incredibly easy way to arrive at a final mark but I’m aware that there was little improvement for the middle of the road and underperforming students.  The high flyers were willing to remember feedback because they were constantly looking for ways to improve their next task.

When I arrived in the Lanyon Cluster of Schools there was a professional understanding that to provide students with a grade or a score along with feedback means they will simply look at the score and ignore the feedback which is a problem when the feedback indicates how they might improve their work.  Using criteria and quality rubrics was one way the school met the challenge of giving students an idea of the criteria described explicitly and feedback using the criteria which allowed them to see where they needed to improve the task.

The criteria and quality rubric is different from the typical understanding of rubrics where each level of achievement is articulated.  Rubrics that describe 5 levels of achievement make it easy to give a task a grade but it is a deficit approach to marking student work.  The underperformers see what the absolute minimum expectation for the task described and they submit the bare minimum every time.  To articulate the highest level of achievement and to clearly describe what the task will look like when done well initially posed challenges for staff.  Gone were the days when teachers could describe work as having ‘flair’ or ‘that certain quality that just is an ‘A’ grade’.  We were forced to break the task down into clearly described criteria to be open and accountable with our students about what we were expecting.  Gone was the learn to do a task by osmosis and guess work.  Gone were the days of high marks simply because it was coloured in superbly (not that I ever did this!!!)  Those fussy girls who delivered shallow work suddenly understood why thinking was important.

This storyboard assignment was a complex task with lots of different levels of thought required.  The students couldn’t just reproduce the key scene and identify what kinds of shot types were used.  They had to adjust the scene to show different values, explain their choice of shot types and techniques and present it in a way that way clear and easy to understand.  Multimodality was addressed by allowing a choice of presentation media.  This Criteria and Quality rubric was used in the Sydney White element I wrote, taught and evaluated for the New Learning and New Literacies Masters.

Writing curriculum outside my subject area, whhhhhhhhhooooooooooaaaaaaaaaa!!! I have found that you need a rudimentary understanding of the subject matter to be able to suggest conceptual learning and to analyse critically. I have mentored teachers for Chemistry, Sports Leadership, Art history and appreciation, Building design and in 6 different curriculum areas for the year 9 Exhibitions rotations. Mostly by the time I get them the teachers are on board with the idea of using the Learning by Design framework. It still amazes me that there are those who resist the process of deliberate, planned, documented curriculum and that some teachers feel like they have all the answers and couldn’t possibly benefit from going through a collaborative process.
Our cluster of schools has recently undertaken action research, as in every teacher in each school identifying pre data, applying an intervention (a learning element) and then collecting post data to see if the intervention was successful. Of course this happened with varying degrees of success and enthusiasm but on the whole teachers were excited by the changes that they saw in their students’ understanding of the material taught. Our school network leader and the curriculum head in the department were amazed at the high level of understanding of teachers of their work and the deliberate way they had designed their units.
The challenges for me in mentoring teachers has been in communicating the need for a progression in the learning activities, to have some kind of logical flow in order to allow students to have deep understanding of the topic. Previous units of work have been like a scatter gun or a brainstorm or activity vomit, all the possible activities you could do on a topic recorded in no particular order with a test at the end to see if the students remembered what they were taught. I looked over an element writted by a staff member last year who had a foot in each camp, she liked the way she did business in the classroom but liked the opportunity to participate in the Learning by Design structure. The resulting unit was a scattergun unit with activities recorded in the correct knowledge processes but with no logical flow between them and no pedagogy to support higher order thinking or summarisation, few opportunities to collect data along the journey. It is still possible to write a bad unit of work using the Learning by Design framework. I have personally written the best elements in collaboration with staff who have diverse teaching experience and whilst being mentored by a leader who has strong conceptual knowledge of how to use the framework effectively. There is no substitute for a collaborative approach to curriculum design and when it is facilitated by someone who knows the framework inside out show stopping curriculum is the result.

Both students developed a strong consumer conscience.  They both understood the traps and tricks played by businesses and advertisers.  Both students engaged with the material at a high level partly because of the research but both enjoyed expressing their opinion and feeling like they had something to say.  There is strong evidence that they refined and added to their grasp of the metalanguage inherent in this unit.  They identified that the topic of financial literacy was important and engaging, music to my ears as an educator.  S3 has a much stronger grasp of the micro function of the economy but S1 also understands some of the international ramifications of the economy.  Both students wrote their reflections well after the end of the unit of work which is evidence of learner transformation and that the new concepts and information were written to their long term memory helping to make them savvy consumers for the rest of their lives.

Financial_Literacy_Report – Microsoft Word Sequential Format

TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING

The post teaching questions featured in the appendices were offered to all 3 focus students.  They were asked to write a PEC paragraph that summarised their responses to their questions, not simply do question and answer.  A starting sentence was offered (which S3 has used).  An analysis is provided after each student response.

S1

PRETEST SUMMARY

S1 hadn’t heard the term taxation before but understood that citizens of a country pay taxes and that they are used to fund medical supplies, schooling and housing.  He also understood that the economy has information about our money in other countries.  S1 had never heard the term ‘income’ before but did save money for a rainy day.  He has a bank account but couldn’t identify why that type of account was chosen.  He understood that a budget was for buying the things that you want and need.  When choosing a mobile phone option he selected one of the middle priced ones that looked good and had good technological features.  S1 had no understanding of rules and regulations that applied to mobile phones.

COURSE WORK

S1’s class tasks were often incomplete but showed an understanding of the requirements.  For example if 3 responses were required then 1 was completed which was usually correct.  His PMI about the use of taxation showed a plus – more hospitals and housing- and a minus – taxation can be spent on public art (a reference to current political discussion).  When he conceptualised with theory he identified that if roads were poorly maintained then safety would be compromised and if there was no fire department then everyone would have to fight fires.  His personal budget contained items of phone credit, clothing, entertainment, food and shrapnel with a yearly income rather than the monthly one identified.  The class discussed the idea that they would need to provide all basics of living.  S1 is still operating from the perspective of being supported by his parents, the conceptual link to the reality of a household budget is missing.

PEC FINAL REFLECTION

The Government spends our tax on public transport, education, hospitality, development, resources. They get parks, new roads, houses, free medical treatment, water, electricity. The hume highway is a road that the government built and our taxes effect our economy and it effects how much our money is worth in other countries as well as the price of gold and oil. How much is spent per items that you need and how much you are willing to spend for the week and how long you will use the phone. Yes fuel costs 80 cents more than it used to 20 years ago.   A mobile phone can be cheaper than a bike. Newer models of technology cost more than the one before.  If the company I’m buying the mobile phone from is legitimate, the cost of the phone and check costs of other stores. Sometimes the cost can be 10 times more than you should pay. Don’t get extra deals for extra money. Eg buying a better headset. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it. Do research before buying and don’t always listen to the sales people. I would choose pre-paid so that I cannot spend more than my budgeted amount. With pre-paid you know how much you are going to be spending.   For example with pre paid if you only put $20 on the phone then that’s all you can spend but if you have a monthly bill you could spend over $100. With deals that say $49 cap they can add up to lots more.  I will be able to buy a better mobile phone and save money. I think the learning was easy and steady and was not all at once and with time limits. We ended up learning the whole subject with an easy environment that was fun and creative.

*S1’s PEC lacks the necessary flow and structure.  He omitted using the suggested opening sentence and his paragraph simply strings together the answers to the questions that were posed.  Compared to his pre test responses Jake has retained a strong conceptual understanding of the issues discussed in the unit but his expression is unclear.  He is still challenged by the written mode.  The post test questions were posed several weeks after the completion of the unit and the detailed responses show this information is written into a deeper part of his memory;  evidence of transformative learning.

S2

PRETEST SUMMARY

S2 identified that taxation is a fee that everyone has to pay and that the money is used for things that the government chooses.  She said that it was important that everyone pays taxes but didn’t know what the economy was.  She also hadn’t heard about income before but did actively save money because otherwise when a person needs it, they don’t have it.  S2 had a bank account with a debit card but didn’t choose the account.  She also had no budget but identified that budgeting meant a person would always have money.  S2 chose a good mobile phone and plan but didn’t understand any of the rules or regulations that apply to mobile phones.

COURSE WORK

S2 understood all task requirements and included a necessary amount of detail in her work but the responses were at a basic level of thinking.  Her PMI on Taxes included pluses of tax refunds, road and public area repairs and funding for hospitals.  The minuses were about losing money and people having trouble paying.  Something she found interesting was that taxes for alcohol and cigarettes were high.  When S2 was conceptualizing with theory she identified what would happen if roads, public libraries, emergency services, schools, public toilets, public art works, baby bonuses, parks and camp sites were not provided by the Government.  S2’s personal definition of taxation was “Tax is collected by the government and that money is spent on roadworks etc.  The government uses the tax money from the people to help pay or rebuild things in Australia.”  In her reflection about the difference between adolescent and adult expenditure she noted that the difference is because of bills.  Some of the pitfalls recorded about the use of mobile phones were; paying for reply messages in competitions, fine print, weekly costs of membership for ringtone downloads.  Some things that were interesting about mobile phones and competitions were; the public never hears of anyone winning, ringtone signups were often scams, applications gave consumers choices and for reality TV votes it is difficult to tell if your vote is counting.

PEC REFLECTION ABOUT ADVERTISING (in lieu of final reflection – S2 went on a family trip and didn’t complete the unit of work)

Advertisers use many different techniques to manipulate their audience.  The way that they use colour is to choose the colours that attract young teenagers by using bright colours such as hot pink and purple.  Another technique is using slogans that convince the audience that 3 is the best brand.  An example of a slogan in “The way it should be” (p1).  Two more techniques they use are using giveaways and questions.  They use giveaways to make the audience buy the product.  They also use questions to make you think about what you want.  There are a lot of different techniques advertisers use.

*S2’s PEC uses the correct format but the concluding sentence is unispired.  Overall the paragraph shows a strong conceptual understanding of advertising techniques but the vocabulary is slightly repetitive and extremely basic.  Confirmation that S2 understanding requirements but lacks a high level of conceptual understanding. The answer is correct but expressed without flair.

S3

PRETEST SUMMARY

S3 understood that the Government taxes working citizens for goods and services to make a profit for the economy and the Government.  He identified that tax was paid so that the economy remained strong and healthy but didn’t understand much else about economics.  S3 didn’t think they had any income apart from bank interest but saved money for future uses like buying a house.  He had a bank account but didn’t know what kind and didn’t choose it himself.  S3 understood that budgeting was about setting limits so that ‘you don’t go broke’.  He didn’t have a mobile phone and had no understanding of features, choices or regulations.

COURSE WORK

S3 had a very high level of understanding and detail in course work examples.  His definition of taxation is “Tax is collected from citizens for the government.  Tax is collected through GST and department services like electricity and water.  Tax is needed to control and keep the economy healthy.  The money is then used to build, fund and make services for the public including businesses and parks.”  In the PMI pluses were tax strengthens the economy and is used for public needs.  Minuses included citizens pay all the time, increased taxes and Governments can get greedy.  Some things that were interesting were people get taxed in supermarkets, tax contributes to the dole and they are also used to fund schools and hospitals.  When S3 conceptualised with theory he identified what his world would be like without roads, healthcare, police & SES, public art, schools, parks, mining industry, defence, baby bonus and public buildings.  His analysis of advertising techniques discussed the effects of colour, slogans, popular culture references, giveaways, literary techniques like alliteration and identified that the marketers manipulate their audience by using any or all of these strategies.  S3’s personal budget contained items of phone credit, food, clothing, entertainment, rent, personal hygiene, accessories, stationery for school, sporting expenses, gifts and identified savings per week.

PEC

In the work about financial literacy, we looked at the Government, taxation, mobile phones and advertising and budgeting. The Government spends tax money on infrastructure, healthcare, education and public needs and services. Consumers get services (GST), needs and the growth of cities and public places. This is how tax payers money get spend back into the public. The effect that taxation has on the economy is that the Government has more money to spend on the public, as so previously mentioned. They could build infrastructure like hospitals, schools, offices and roads, which increases more jobs available for people and so with jobs people get more money to spend back into the economy. This boosts interest rates and keeps our economy healthy. When preparing a personal budget, many things need to be taken into account. Like food, electricity, water, fuel and other essentials. These must be included in a budget, so it is a good idea to cut back on less important needs. It was really surprising to find the cost of essential needs add up at the end of a year, which strengthens the idea to draw up a plan for budgeting in the future. When thinking about buying a new mobile phone, it is ideal to think about what to avoid, such as contests and quizzes, because there are usually fine prints involved which can make you pay more in the future. I would choose a prepaid option for selecting a phone because you have limits, whereas receiving a monthly bill could leave you having to mistakenly pay a higher bill at the end of each month. Plus with prepaid mobiles you can get bonus features. It was surprising in learning about learning how the economy works, because I only had a brief idea about it in prior to the unit. This learning of the taxation work will be useful in the future like when I get a job, house, etc. And it gives me a better idea on taxation for when I have to start paying bills when I’m older.  I think the coarse and activities were interesting, I found the paper money activity at the start of the unit to be fun, – (that coming from a rich kid!) and the coarse let me to give my own views on the Government and taxation – which is important to me – overall it was an informative and useful

FINANCIAL LITERACY LEARNING ELEMENT

The Learning by Design framework and pedagogical approaches rely heavily on student agency (taking charge of their learning) and prior knowledge with a view to critically and analytically approach the topic of financial literacy.  Accessing prior knowledge helps address diversity.  The unit of work covers broad ground; basic economics, advertising, consumer choice and budgeting.  A variety of graphical organizers are used to gather a snap shot of student learning and to guide thinking.  Cooperative learning strategies are used to support underperformers.  Timed activities are used to ensure an engaging pace and students are initially hooked in by generating their own ‘income’ from completing the set tasks.  The teacher thereby constructs a mini economy by paying and taxing students.  The emphasis is on showing rather than telling and students are encouraged to question and discuss along the way.

Financial Literacy learning_element

CONTEXT

I am currently in my 9th year of teaching, my 3rd year using the Learning by Design framework and my 4th year working in the Lanyon Cluster of Schools.  My year 8 English/SOSE classroom has a diverse range of abilities as it is not streamed.  The Financial Literacy course was taught during the middle of term 4 and hence the classroom dynamic and expectations were well and truly established.  My students are active and engaged listeners and are accustomed to explanations which detail requirements step by step and make links for them in terms of relevance and their future learning.  The 3 focus students were excited to be chosen for closer study and the activities they completed demonstrate a personal best standard of work.  They didn’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions where necessary.  Following is pre-test data and qualitative assessment of a previous essay task.

BASELINE DATA

Initial data was achieved by pre-testing students using the questions in the appendix.  The student’s actual responses are also recorded there but the summaries are included before the course work summary and two final PEC reflections.  Students were selected for the research because of motivation and because they achieved at 3 distinct levels.  A brief reflection on their approach to another common assessment is contained in the following section.

Essay Assessment & General Approach to Learning

S1 is much slower to begin class tasks, on average he takes 5 minutes longer to get started than all other students in the class.  He is frequently distracted, not by others, but by mechanical things like using scissors, whiteout, glue and taking his pen apart.  He is also occasionally irritated by his peers.  However, he is a confident reader.  It seems as though actually putting pen to paper is the challenge.   S1’s essay was submitted for final assessment in a draft form.  He only made an attempt to structure one paragraph using the Point Evidence Comment (PEC) structure.  There was no introduction and only one line for the conclusion.  Despite using Microsoft Word to prepare his essay, there were spelling and grammar mistakes.  His evidence was poorly formatted without page numbers for the quotations.  The one paragraph he did finish was a completely original argument about one of the characters which showed a complex understanding of character motivation.  I have identified S1 as my challenged student.

S2 does school well.  She is socially confident, well organized and committed to her learning.  She regularly asked questions to clarify the task requirements but is overly reliant on extra information to successfully complete tasks.  She is good at recording the class discussion verbatim but rarely contributes original thoughts.  She chose the ‘safe’ question for her essay topic and although her structure was sound, her discussion lacked personal analysis of character growth.  She understands grammatical requirements like third person and uses formal language in written tasks except for the occasional colloquialism like ‘gotten’.  She is identified as my middle level student.

S3 seeks challenge and regularly runs against the status quo in class discussion.  He is socially connected to a select group of friends and finds the general run of social discussion in the classroom to be irritating.  He regularly makes connections between the learning in the classroom and outside events and always asks clarifying questions that demonstrate that he has already moved to the next level of evaluation in a task.  S3 chose to argue against the ‘difficult’ topic for his essay using a balanced approached which not only put original arguments but also countered others.  He used some excellent technical language in his essay and advanced vocabulary.  He deliberately chose to use some more advanced sentence structures.  He is identified as my high level student.

boy_desk_thinkingTeaching students to think for themselves has been a major challenge for educators throughout history.  The reason why the challenge exists is because it takes extra effort to think.   Students often complain, “but Miss, can’t you just tell us the answer, why do we have to work it out when you already know what it is?”  In one sense this is a legitimate complaint especially if the learning is pointless, disconnected and irrelevant.  The students feel that they are playing a guessing game to learn the ‘truth’ rather than constructing their own knowledge.  Curriculum must first be relevant and ‘important’ and students must be able to see the point of engaging with learning.  It is our job as professionals to be able to explain to students why the learning is essential.  If we can’t answer the question, ‘why?’ then perhaps the learning isn’t justifiable.  Unfortunately, ‘because I said so.’ doesn’t cut it in today’s learning environments.  Students are given more choice from an increasingly early age and since they have more disposable income than their parents they are also able to consume from an early age.  Time poor parents give choices as a way to avoid having an argument when they are low on energy and this means that the current generation of students is used to deciding for themselves.  It is interesting therefore that they don’t naturally want to think for themselves.  It is through teachers posing challenges, problematising learning and giving students agency that young people will engage with learning.  But teaching professionals also need to be prepared to justify the learning not only to school boards and the education department but to the students they will teach.

bibleNIV John 18:38 “What is truth?” [Pontius] Pilate asked.

Committed Knowledge I can understand how people object to being told that their version of the truth is less correct than someone else’s. 

After all when it comes down to it in Religious terms ‘the truth’ constitutes the correct way to live and think in order to attain eternal reward and usually various unpleasant descriptions of what will happen to you if you don’t (eternal punishment).  Major heart weighingreligions all recount stories to encourage followers to live in right ways and make claims about what will happen after they die.  Ancient Egyptian ‘mythology’ and hieroglyphs depict the weighing of the heart, Islam; the weighing of deeds, Buddhism encourages believers on the way to enlightenment lest they return as a reincarnation of some lowly creature, Christianity claims that the way to eternal life is to acknowledge that Jesus Christ was the son of God who opened the way to a relationship with God by his death and resurrection and that forgiveness is freely offered (yes I am a Christian).  I can understand how different denominations of one faith can also cause confusion.  How can one religion be right when there are so many labels within it?  For example what is the difference between fundamentalist koran_pageMuslims and others who follow Islam?  In the West some would respond, “the fundamentalists blow up people and the others don’t”.  But do all fundamentalist Muslims commit murder?  Doesn’t the phrase fundamentalist imply that others who follow Islam do so with ‘watered down’ principles?  There is also this interesting question of faith.  The definition of faith is to believe without having all of the proof now; being prepared to wait until ‘judgement’ to find out the rest. 

Even scientific truths can’t possibly take into account all of the variables.  So scientists wind up making statements like, “under these conditions, using this particular mass of an object, this behaviour was observed.”  But there scienceisn’t enough time to repeat the experiment up to infinity so they make a blanket statement along the lines of “it is predicted that due to x number of experiments, where there were identical conditions and masses that y will, based on available data, occur every time” and suddenly ‘scientific fact’ is born.  How do they know that the same outcome will occur every, every, every time if they have only measured up to ‘every’?  We see statisticians manipulate data all the time.  The goal is always to ‘find’ data to support a theory.  But by beginning with that theory isn’t the test already biased?

peaceAnd so we arrive at Knowledge Relativism where people decide what they want to believe.  What their personal truth may happen to be.  It doesn’t seem to matter how wacky it is, people are expected to show respect for other people’s personal truths.  Except they don’t so the major job for educators is to allow students to express their personal truth without being ridiculed.  Tolerance is the key to the sharing of truths.  But so often Religion is the target of widely held intolerance.  If people bothered to explore the teaching of the sacred texts of most major religions then they would discover on the whole that the teaching is inoffensive.  Many of the suggestions made are already widely held to be ‘appropriate’ ways of conduct.  The western law is based on the 10 Commandments taught in the Torah and the The Holy Bible.  It just makes sense that killing and stealing aren’t a good idea.

This idea of relativism also contributes to the phenomenon of everyone bigfoot-sex-lifebeing an ‘expert’.  Frequently in the land of Oz The Australian newspaper has advice/criticism to offer literacy educators.  Our professional Association for the Teaching of English (AATE) has a political role in fielding and responding to criticism by journalists who believe that because they successfully completed some form of formal education that they are therefore experts on The Literacy Warsthe teaching of literacy.  Teachers everywhere are the targets of jowl shaking and finger wagging ‘experts’ who hark back to the way things were…the decontextualised teaching of latinate grammar through skill and drill and the study of the literary cannon.  The Literacy Wars: Why teaching children to read and write is a battle ground in Australia written by Associate Professor Alana Snyder chronicles years of attack and she released this latest work amidst journalistic fury.  Relativism has produced this kind of prehistoric furore from those who think they are in the ‘know’ but aren’t.

Knowledge Repertoires or knowledge processes encourage learners to look at the world through different lenses.  Deep knowledge and deep supermarketunderstanding is only possible if students are moved away from the ‘shopping aisle’ curriculum and given time and techniques to go deeper into the learning.   My professional learning in the Leaning by Design framework has helped me to understand ways and means to achieve deep knowledge in students.  Piggybacking strategies like cooperative learning (Kagan) and using the four resources model (Freebody and Luke) help students to make social connections and ask questions where they are operating in the zone of higher order thinking.  My only bugbear is that policy makers are so busy harking about the past that they aren’t looking to the future.  Current National Testing isn’t collecting data about the global citizenship of our students – they aren’t pushing the knowledge economy through policy – sure they are providing computers but their national data isn’t assessing the skills of this generation of future leaders – the digital natives.

This was the fourth time through for me teaching visual literacy using the Learning by Design framework.  There is a strong network of mentors at Lanyon High School and the embedded collaborative approach means that teachers are constantly discussing and reflecting about the success or otherwise of a unit of work.  The order of processes in this element was exactly what was needed to produce some excellent assignments from students.  The timing of the final assessment was the only thing that needed to be adjusted.  We fell into the trap of setting it over a two week holiday to give the students time to make short films.  The reality seems to be that they can produce a short film in a short period of time and so didn’t need the holiday break.  The effect on assessment was that some lower functioning kids lost focus and some catchup tasks were needed to make up assessment.  See the full unit of work at CG Learner and don’t forget to check out the student work sample and rubric at the endof the document.