February 22, 2013

Visible learning

This research of John Hattie will be one of the leading topics during the Dalton study visit to the Netherlands of a delegation from Ascham - Sydney in April 2013.
We will connect it to the research of Robert Marzano. This was one of the aspects we discussed during the international Dalton meeting last year.

This unique and ground-breaking book is the result of 15 years research and synthesises over 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school-aged students.

It builds a story about the power of teachers, feedback, and a model of learning and understanding. The research involves many millions of students and represents the largest ever evidence based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning.

Areas covered include the influence of the student, home, school, curricula, teacher, and teaching strategies. A model of teaching and learning is developed based on the notion of visible teaching and visible learning.

A major message is that what works best for students is similar to what works best for teachers - an attention to setting challenging learning intentions, being clear about what success means, and an attention to learning strategies for developing conceptual understanding about what teachers and students know and understand.

Although the current evidence based fad has turned into a debate about test scores, this book is about using evidence to build and defend a model of teaching and learning.
A major contribution is a fascinating benchmark/dashboard for comparing many innovations in teaching and schools.

February 20, 2013

New Dalton Kindergarten in China

Some weeks ago this new Dalton school was opened.

Find information and the beautiful brochure
on their website

Boost engagement and reading comprehension with this exciting Structure! Give Rotating Role Reading a try today!
Rotating Role Reading assigns every student on the team a specific role so everyone has a part to play. It's a great way to ensure every student is participating, engaged and alert as they work as a team to process the assigned reading material.
Rotating Role Reading
Each team receives their own Rotating Reading Team Pyramid. (Or the teacher or students make up four role cards: Reader, Summarizer, Connector, Predictor.) The teacher explains and models each role to the class. Each team of four needs something to read.

1. Reader Reads: The teammate with the Reader role reads a paragraph.
2. Summarizer Recaps: The Summarizer describes the meaning of the paragraph in her or his own words.
3. Connector Makes Links: The Connector connects the reading to what was already read.
4. Predictor Makes Prediction: The Predictor makes a prediction about what will come next.
5. Switch Roles: Teammates rotate their pyramids (or pass their role cards) counterclockwise and repeat the process for the next paragraph or page.
To learn more about this structure, and other exciting classroom tips, check out Kagan’s Online Magazine!

February 19, 2013

Dalton in Sydney since 1922

Ascham - Glenrock House
188 New South Head Road
Edgecliff NSW 2027 Australia

Ascham is a non-selective, day and boarding girls’ school that provides a strong academic program within a friendly, inclusive culture. Through its liberal arts curriculum, the Dalton Plan, and extensive co-curricular offerings, an Ascham girl is supported to develop into a confident, independent, compassionate young woman with a sense of purpose in the world.

At the heart of Ascham’s learning and teaching excellence is our focus on the individual girl, achieved through The Dalton Plan. The Dalton Plan stimulates self-reliance, assists each girl to assume responsibility for her own learning and engages both learner and teacher in intellectual partnership.

The Dalton plan at Ascham involves a combination of lessons and studies where each student makes active decisions about how she works and learns. This way of learning, and the confidence and independence it gives, stays with our girls throughout their tertiary study and into their careers. It helps lift and sustain the academic progress of every one of our girls, whatever their abilities and aspirations. It is uniquely Ascham.

Dalton at Ascham comprises three main components: the lesson, the study and the assignment. Girls attend lessons in class groups where teachers deliver the curriculum. In studies, girls learn to work in different ways; in groups, independently and in partnership with their teacher. The assignment sets out the work for each topic so that girls are able to plan their work for the week, in conjunction with their teachers.

Short film on this ASCHAM page

February 17, 2013

Interview with Ken Robinson

In an interview in 'the Guardian Professor Ken Robinson was interviewed.

Some of his statements:
"All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think," he says. "Most students never get to explore the full range of their abilities and interests ... Education is the system that's supposed to develop our natural abilities and enable us to make our way in the world. Instead, it is stifling the individual talents and abilities of too many students and killing their motivation to learn."

Robinson, who now earns his living as a speaker on creativity, does not blame the teachers. "It's the system - it's too linear," he says. Schools are obsessed with rigid timetables, for starters. "If you live in a world where every lesson is 40 minutes, you immediately interrupt the flow of creativity," he says. "We need to eliminate the existing hierarchy of subjects. Elevating some disciplines over others only reinforces outmoded assumptions of industrialism and offends the principle of diversity. The arts, sciences, humanities, physical education, languages and maths all have equal and central contributions to make to a student's education."

In fact, the entire notion of "subjects" needs to be questioned, he says. "The idea of separate subjects that have nothing in common offends the principle of dynamism. School systems should base their curriculum not on the idea of separate subjects, but on the much more fertile idea of disciplines ... which makes possible a fluid and dynamic curriculum that is interdisciplinary."

Robinson believes the curriculum should be much more personalised. "Learning happens in the minds and souls, not in the databases of multiple-choice tests." And why are we so fixated by age groups, he asks. Let a 10-year-old learn with their younger and older peers.

February 14, 2013

February 10, 2013

New ESHA Magazine

Open the latest Magazine here

February 5, 2013

Mindscaping: A Learning and Thinking Skill


by Nancy Margulies

When students doodle on their papers or draw while listening, it seems they aren't paying attention. However, for many learners, creating images can become a powerful tool for recording ideas and making meaning of what they hear in class. Rather than thwarting this impulse, we can build upon it. Systems for using color, images, drawings, cartoons and symbols as well as words and phrases for recording ideas is now used by many educators as well as business and community leaders. I will use the term mindscape here to refer to these visual maps. The same system works well for communicating ideas to others. The process encourages students to be aware of the meaning of what they are recording as well as the relationships among ideas.

As teachers, we can build upon our students' natural inclination to draw and doodle by incorporating drawing and symbolic representation into any subject matter. Students can learn to create visual maps while listening and participating in discussions in class. This form of note-taking engages the learner in recording ideas and grouping them instead of hastily writing sentences or letting their attention wander. As a result they are able to focus on learning in an active, rather than passive manner.

Regardless of your own comfort with drawing, you can easily learn and teach the basics of Mindscaping, thus enabling your students to apply more of their intelligence while recording ideas.

Here is how it works:

1. Set up for creating a visual map:

Provide students with larger sheets of paper than usual. Working on desks, on a chalkboard or on paper taped to the wall are all options. If possible each student should have several colored water-based markers, if not markers, crayons will suffice.

2. Encourage students to take time to consider a symbolic way of representing the topic they will record. This can be a simple image such as those on the maps shown here.

3. As key ideas are mentioned, students write them on lines that branch from the central image. Entire sentences are not necessary. The size of the words, the associated images and shapes that surround the words can be used for emphasis.

4. As new ideas are presented or discussed, students add new branches. Once topic has been represented, additional details can be added to that branch. In this manner the information is organized as it is being recorded.

5. This process can be practiced in advance of classroom note-taking by suggesting that students create a review Mindscape of a topic that has been covered in class. Mindscapes that reflect the student's special interests are also a good place to begin.

6. Eventually you and your students will discover that Mindscapes can be used for everything from planning a curriculum, presenting it to the class, note-taking, reflecting, cooperative learning, reviewing for tests, preparing for writing reports, presenting reports for peer review and self appraisal.